Allspice is the dried, unripe berry of Pimenta dioica, an evergreen tree in the myrtle family.
After drying, the berries are small, dark brown balls just a little larger than peppercorns.
Allspice is one of the most popular baking spices.
Sweet and warm, ground allspice is particularly good in pumpkin pie, banana bread, and cookies. Allspice is also the main flavor in barbecue sauce and is used whole for canning, soups, and mulled wine or cider.
Allspice is a pungent ground spice that's used in various kinds of baking and cooking.
The flavor of allspice is particularly important in jerk chicken and other Caribbean dishes.
Allspice was first imported from Jamaica to England in the 16th century.
Its distinct flavor, which resembles a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, inspired the English name allspice, and some historians credit a physician who accompanied Christopher Columbus with coining the name.
The tree which produces the fruit is called an allspice as well, also known as a Jamaican pepper tree.
Ground allspice is even more pungent than its whole counterpart.
Allspice is cocoa brown in color, and has the smell and taste of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove combined.
A hint of the camphor pungency of juniper berry and/or the bite of black pepper might also be detected.
Equally at home in sweet or savory dishes, ground allspice can be found in both meat rubs and in sugary baked goods.
For most Americans pinching ground allspice will immediately transport them to autumn when there is an abundance of spiced pumpkin lattes, smoothies, cocktails, scones, and of course pies.
Elsewhere however, ground allspice is more popularly known as the key ingredient in the blend of spices that make Jamaican Jerk.
Ground allspice is also found in Mexican dishes, particularly molés, as well as in a variety of other sauces, marinades, vinaigrettes, and spiced syrups.
Allspice is also an ideal supplement to chocolate foodstuffs, where it adds complexity and richness.
Allspice is the dried berry of a beautiful evergreen tree, and one of the few classic spices indigenous to the new world.
Allspice is Used widely in Caribbean and Mexican cuisines, its characteristic combination of sugar and spice is a key element of jerk chicken, mole sauces and many other dishes.
Allspice has a characteristic smoky warmth, reminiscent of toasted almonds and baked fruit.
Allspice is a perfect addition to spiced holiday desserts like pumpkin or apple pie; it adds depth and complexity to beverages like cocktails, chai masala or hot chocolate; and it even works well with meat dishes like chili, bolognese or curries.
Sweet, rich allspice in micro-lots from the cloud forests of Alta Verapaz, Guatemala.
Allspice is hand-harvested every October and November and dried.
Allspice is grown on small plots in the cloud forests, where the altitude, high humidity and comparatively low temperatures create ideal conditions for beautiful allspice berries.
The dried berries of an evergreen shrub called Pimenta dioica are called allspice.
Allspice belongs to the myrtle family.
The allspice shrub is orginally from Jamaica and is also known as Jamaica pepper and piment.
Allspice is used in Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin American cuisines, among others.
The finest allspice still comes from Jamaica today and has a clove-like scent.
Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico also produce allspice, but their varieties have more of a rum aroma and are considered inferior to Jamaican allspice.
Allspice is commonly used in baking, cooking, flavouring meat and even in teas.
Allspice is particularly popular in Caribbean cuisine and is the main ingredient in jerk seasoning.
Commonly used in Britain, allspice is one of the most important spices in Middle Eastern cuisine.
Lots of people go their whole lives thinking that allspice is a ground mixture of baking spices.
In reality, allspice is the berry of the pimento bush, grown mostly in Jamaica.
It does, however get its name from the fact that Allspice tastes somewhat like a peppery blend of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg.
Allspice is a common baking spice in Canada, the US and many parts of Europe, and is widely used in West Indian food.
Allspice is an absolutely vital ingredient in jerk seasoning and is also used whole as a pickling and mulling spice.
Allspice loses its flavour very quickly when ground, so we highly recommend buying whole berries and grinding them yourself just before using.
Allspice, (Pimenta dioica), also called Jamaican pepper or pimento, tropical evergreen tree of the myrtle family (Myrtaceae) and its berries, the source of a highly aromatic spice.
Allspice is native to the West Indies and Central America.
Allspice was so named because the flavour of the dried berry resembles a combination of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Allspice is widely used in baking and is usually present in mincemeat and mixed pickling spice.
Early Spanish explorers, mistaking it for a type of pepper, called it pimenta, hence its botanical name and some of its common names.
The first record of its import to Europe is from 1601.
Allspice is a plant.
The unripe berries and leaves of the plant are used to make medicine.
People use allspice for many conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
In foods, allspice is used as a spice.
Allspice contains a chemical called eugenol, which might explain some of its traditional uses for toothache, muscle pain, and as a germ-killer.
Other compounds in allspice seem to kill cancer cells.
Allspice, also known as Jamaica pepper, myrtle pepper, pimenta, or pimento,is the dried unripe berry of Pimenta dioica, a midcanopy tree native to the Greater Antilles, southern Mexico, and Central America, now cultivated in many warm parts of the world.
The name allspice was coined as early as 1621 by the English, who valued it as a spice that combined the flavours of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove.
Several unrelated fragrant shrubs are called "Carolina allspice" (Calycanthus floridus), "Japanese allspice" (Chimonanthus praecox), or "wild allspice" (Lindera benzoin).
PRODUCTION OF ALLSPICE:
Whole allspice berries:
Allspice is the dried fruit of the Pimenta dioica plant.
The fruits are picked when green and unripe, and are traditionally dried in the sun.
When dry, they are brown and resemble large, smooth peppercorns.
Fresh leaves are similar in texture to bay leaves and similarly used in cooking.
Leaves and wood are often used for smoking meats where allspice is a local crop.
Care must be taken during drying to ensure that volatile oil, such as eugenol, remains in the end products.
The allspice tree attains a height of about 9 metres (30 feet).
The fruits are picked before they are fully ripe and are then dried in the sun.
During drying, the berries turn from green to a dull reddish brown.
The nearly globular fruit, about 5 mm (0.2 inch) in diameter, contains two kidney-shaped dark brown seeds.
Whole or Ground?
Allspice can be used both whole and ground.
Ground allspice is more intense but quickly loses its flavour.
Whole allspice berries are sometimes used in stews and soups, as well as for pickling and preserving. Ground allspice, on the other hand, is better suited to desserts.
Proper Storage of Allspice:
Store allspice in an airtight container away from direct sunlight to keep Allspice fresh and ready to use.
Whole allspice can retain its flavour for years when stored properly whereas ground allspice quickly loses its vibrant fresh flavour.
One of the false peppers, Allspice can be used in the same way as black pepper.
Its flavour is reminiscent of cloves, nutmeg, black pepper and cinnamon - hence its French name of four spices - grind it in a pepper mill to release its mild heat and pungent aroma.
Widely used in sausage meat and pâtés, try adding Allspice to soups and stews for an extra lift, to lentil, game and sausage dishes for an original flavour (accompanied by a rich red wine heavy in tannin).
Try Allspice for adding an unusual twist to cakes, liqueurs, punch.
Too large for most pepper mills it’s easier to crush with a pestle and mortar or use a coffee grinder.
Ground Allspice can equally be used as a table spice.
Allspice is not a blend of other spices and is actually the pea-sized berry of an evergreen tree, native to the Caribbean and Central America.
Allspice berries release grilled flavours of roast almond and soft fruit.
- pan-fried foie gras.
- rabbit terrine.
- bitter chocolate sauce
- beef stew with carrots.
- chocolate mint desserts.
Be careful not to over heat Allspice while cooking as this may make Allspice bitter.
The Aztec pepper! Allspice berries are the dried fruit of the Pimenta dioica, a tree which can grow as tall as 30 metres high.
This tree is originally from Mexico and the islands of Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica.
Over the centuries, allspice berries were introduced and grown in Barbados, Honduras, Guatemala and Brazil.
The Aztec were the first to use allspice berries as seasoning (to flavour chocolate) and for embalming.
Allspice berries were introduced to Europe in the 16th century by the Spanish.
When the English conquered Jamaica in 1655, they also took control of the trade of allspice which is why it's also called "English spice".
In the 17th century, it was used by sailors to preserve meat and fish on long journeys.
Christopher Colombus called it "Jamaica pepper" when he found it on an expedition as he thought it was a pepper (Piper nigrum).
USES OF ALLSPICE:
You can use allspice in a variety of recipes that are sweet or savory such as cookies, pumpkin pie, spice cake, spicing for sausage and glazes for ham.
Allspice is a key flavor in Jamaican jerk seasoning, the fiery blend of herbs and spices that turns chicken or pork into an instant party.
Allspice is used in seasonings, sauces, sausages, ketchup, jams, pumpkin, gravies, roasts, hams, baked goods, and teas.
Caribbean cooking relies on Allspice as the main ingredient in jerk seasoning.
Allspice is used in Caribbean, Mexican, Indian, English, and North American cooking and in seasoning blends such as jerk seasoning and curry.
Combine allspice and organic ground cinnamon to season a delicious Turkish beef stew
Use allspice in this authentic and tasty fried yam recipe.
Allspice is one of the most important ingredients of Caribbean cuisine.
Under the name pimento, Allspice is used in Jamaican jerk seasoning, and traditionally its wood was used to smoke jerk in Jamaica.
In the West Indies, an allspice liqueur is produced under the name "pimento dram".
In Mexican cuisine, Allspice is used in many dishes.
Allspice is also indispensable in Middle Eastern cuisine, particularly in the Levant, where Allspice is used to flavour a variety of stews and meat dishes, as well as tomato sauce.
In Arab cuisine, for example, many main dishes use allspice as the only spice.
In northern European and North American cooking, Allspice is an ingredient in commercial sausage preparations and curry powders, and in pickling.
In the United States, Allspice is used mostly in desserts, but Allspice is also responsible for giving Cincinnati-style chili its distinctive aroma and flavor.
Allspice is commonly used in Great Britain, and appears in many dishes, including cakes and also in beauty products.
In Portugal, whole allspice is used heavily in traditional stews cooked in large terracotta pots in the Azores islands.
Allspice is also one of the most used spices in Polish cuisine (used in most dishes, soups and stews) and is commonly known under the name English herb (Polish: ziele angielskie).
Allspice is an important part of Finnish cuisine.
Whole allspice is used to flavor soups as well as stews such as Karelian hot pot.
Ground allspice is also be used in various dishes, such as minced meat sauces, lutefisk and different cakes.
HOW IS ALLSPICE USED?
Allspice, whether as berries or ground, is used in many cuisines around the world, from Europe to the Middle East, to Africa and across the water to the Caribbean and Central America.
You will find Allspice as part of spice mixes like the Ethiopian Berbere, the Middle Eastern Baharat and the American Pumpkin Spice, which is the equivalent of the British Mixed Spice.
You will also see whole allspice berries used in pickling recipes as well as alcoholic infusions like mulled wine and other spiced liqueurs.
Ground allspice has so many uses.
Allspice is added to salads like Tabbouleh, soups, stews and Middle Eastern rice dishes like this LinsFood signature dish, Maqluba.
Allspice, ground up, gives a wonderful warmth to fruit pies like apple pie, cookies like gingerbread and cakes.
Ground allspice is also wonderful in marinades, the very famous Caribbean jerk chicken comes to mind.
Incidentally, Jamaican jerk seasoning is wonderful with other meat like pork and fish too, and tofu!
TYPES OF ALLSPICE:
Use whole berries rather than ground allspice for slow-cooked stews, braises, mulling and pickles. Whole berries are less intense than its ground form.
Whole allspice is also stewed with sauerkraut to provide a sweet, aromatic note to the tartness of fermented cabbage.
The pickling of anything and everything—cucumbers, beets, onions, cauliflower, green beans—is ideal for whole allspice.
One of our favorite pickling brines is allspice berries simmered in cider vinegar with mustard seed, bay leaves, black peppercorns and salt.
Throw in a dried chili if you’d like a little heat.
Whole allspice can set the tone for a cozy evening of hot rum toddies, spiced red wine or mulled apple cider.
Simmer Allspice gently in your beverage of choice.
Add cinnamon sticks and fresh orange slices for a festive twist.
Tomatoes and beef double down on flavor when allspice and ground cinnamon join the mix. Together, these four ingredients form the base for Cincinnati chili.
Serve Allspice “two-way” with spaghetti or go wild and dish it up “five-way” with spaghetti, grated cheddar cheese, chopped onions and cooked beans.
Brining brings flavor and juiciness to larger cuts of meat, like pork roasts and whole chickens.
Use allspice, plus bay leaves, thyme and crushed red pepper to spice any recipe for brining liquid.
Pat the meat dry before roasting or grilling—we find that helps the surface brown more evenly.
Similar to whole berries, you can use ground allspice when you’re looking for a fragrant, somewhat peppery note for sweet and savory dishes.
Ground spices are more intense than whole berries.
Using ground allspice for desserts, such as pumpkin cake or pie, spice cakes, and gingerbread for easier mixing.
We love ground allspice in molasses cookies, where it’s often mixed with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Allspice is excellent in baked custard as well.
We suggest dusting the jiggly surface of the custard with ground allspice as soon as you pull the dish from the oven.
You’ll have a dish that looks, smells and tastes irresistible.
Its ability to balance fruit’s sweetness with zesty warmth makes ground allspice a perfect addition to fruit pies and homemade preserves.
We love adding just a hint of it to homemade jam for the fragrance, as well as the taste.
Caribbean cuisine features allspice in many dishes, including meat and sweet potato stews.
Allspice is also a must-have in Jamaican jerk seasoning, a zesty blend of allspice, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme, garlic, brown sugar, ginger and salt.
Throughout the United Kingdom, allspice lends spicy fragrance to the holidays.
English Christmas pudding, winter gingerbread and fruitcakes combine the peppery warmth of allspice with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
Allspice is also a popular spice in Greek cuisine as Allspice is used with cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and cumin to season tomato sauce and marinades.
Allspice is the dried, unripened fruit of a small evergreen tree, the Pimenta Dioica.
The fruit is a pea-sized berry which is sun-dried to a reddish-brown color.
Pimento is called Allspice because its flavor suggests a blend of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF ALLSPICE:
Allspice is not only delicious and versatile in the kitchen, Allspice is also very healthy.
Allspice contains vitamins, minerals and is rich in antioxidants.
Many of the compounds found in allspice are being studied as potential agents for treating inflammation, nausea and even cancer.
Allspice is rich in plant compounds that may have cancer-fighting, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.
Some of the most important compounds include eugenol, quercetin, gallic acid, and ericifolin.
Here are some of the many health benefits of allspice:
Menopause is the termination of the menstrual cycle in people ages 45–52.
It’s characterized by hormonal changes, namely a decline in estrogen and progesterone levels, that lead to symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, mood disorders, and unintentional weight gain.
While hormone therapy has traditionally been the primary treatment for menopause symptoms, complementary therapies are becoming more popular, especially herbal remedies.
Studies show that allspice extract binds to estrogen receptors.
As such, it may trick your body into believing that its estrogen levels are up, thus helping manage symptoms.
Most of allspice’s beneficial plant compounds have potential cancer-fighting properties.
For instance, test-tube and animal studies show that eugenol, quercetin, gallic acid, and ericifolin may prevent the spread of tumors, decrease tumor growth, and promote apoptosis — the programmed death of cancerous cells.
Allspice’s anticancer effects have been studied on breast, prostate, gastric, duodenal, and colon cancers, and interestingly, its effect varies depending on the type of cancer.
For example, studies on breast cancer cell lines suggest that allspice extract leads to autophagy. Autophagy is your body’s way of clearing unnecessary or damaged cells, including cancerous cells, by degrading them.
Prostate cancer cells also tended to be eliminated through apoptosis, while gastric cancer cell lines were affected by allspice extracts’ ability to inhibit the growth of Helicobacter pylori — a bacterium that’s considered carcinogenic.
Nevertheless, keep in mind that while research is promising, studies in humans are lacking. More research is needed.
Antimicrobial and antifungal effects:
The eugenol and ericifolin in allspice may also provide antimicrobial and antifungal effects.
Research on essential oils extracted from allspice berries shows antifungal properties against Candida albicans, a yeast that’s resistant to certain antifungal drugs.
Similarly, the essential oil shows antibacterial properties against E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes, S. aureus, and Salmonella.
Its effects are mainly attributed to its eugenol content, which may damage bacterial membranes.
Other potential benefits:
Allspice is a popular home treatment for multiple health conditions, including:
Aches and pains.
Allspice is used to combat headaches, muscle cramps, and tooth pain.
Research suggests that this may be due to its eugenol content, which is an analgesic or pain relief agent commonly used in dentistry.
In addition, allspice essential oil may alleviate muscle pain and strains by promoting circulation.
Allspice may help reduce inflammation by inhibiting inflammatory markers.
Research shows that allspice extract may activate Takeda G protein-coupled receptor 5, a protein responsible for the secretion of hunger-reducing hormones glucagon-like peptide 1 and peptide YY. These hormones help reduce your appetite by increasing feelings of fullness.
Gas and bloating.
The eugenol in allspice may help treat indigestion by stimulating digestive enzymes and inhibiting H. pylori, the bacteria responsible for indigestion.
It’s also associated with stomach ulcers.
Blood sugar management.
The eugenol in allspice may protect pancreatic islets — the cells responsible for insulin production — and improve their function, thus helping manage blood sugar levels and early stages of type 2 diabetes
Inflammation can have many negative long-term consequences, especially when it comes to chronic micro-inflammation in the body.
Allspice can also worsen injuries or infections.
Many ingredients in allspice can counteract inflammation.
Eugenol, the compound that gives allspice its distinctive flavour, is sometimes used to treat nausea.
Prevention of infections:
Allspice contains many compounds that can help prevent bacterial infections.
In some studies, the ingredients in allspice have also shown antiseptic and antifungal properties.
Allspice is high in eugenol, which is also an ingredient in over-the-counter remedies for toothache. Studies have shown that eugenol can be used as a local anesthetic.
Slows cancer cell growth?
Allspice has a high content of aromatic compounds called phenols.
Many phenols are being studied as anticancer agents and some of these compounds are said to slow down the growth of cancer cells.
Various studies are currently underway to determine whether this is really the case.
There are no results yet.
PHYSICAL AND CHEMICAL PROPERTIES OF ALLSPICE:
Allspice aroma is a combination of spices including cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg, with a peppery edge.
Ground allspice is a cocoa brown color with lighter brown highlights that can present as a very faint almost iridescent sheen.
Pair ground allspice with cinnamon in confections, or with juniper, pepper, rosemary and thyme in savory dishes.
Allspice is the signature spice in classic Jamaican jerk cuisine.
Allspice Can be substituted for mixture of spices with equal parts cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg.
If using allspice as a substitution for these spices, use slightly less than quantities called for in your recipe due to allspice's pungency.
Allspice is added to sweet or savory dishes.
Ground allspice is found in holiday baking; and also in Caribbean cuisine.
Allspice is the signature spice in classic Jamaican jerk cuisine.
PLANT PART: Berry
PROCESSING / FORM: Ground
BOTANICAL NAME: Pimenta dioica
GEOGRAPHICAL SOURCES OF ALLSPICE:
Allspice comes from Jamaica, Guatemala and Honduras.
TRADITIONAL ETHNIC USES OF ALLSPICE:
Allspice is used in Jamaican jerk seasoning and in Jamaican soups, stews, and curries.
Allspice also is used in pickling spice, spiced tea mixes, cakes, cookies, and pies.
Food producers use Allspice in ketchup, pickles, and sausages.
TASTE AND AROMA DESCRIPTION OF ALLSPICE:
Allspice is used in Jamaican jerk seasoning and in Jamaican soups, stews, and curries.
Allspice also is used in pickling spice, spiced tea mixes, cakes, cookies, and pies.
Food producers use it in ketchup, pickles, and sausages.
HISTORY/REGION OF ORIGIN OF ALLSPICE:
Christopher Columbus discovered Allspice in the Caribbean.
Although he was seeking pepper, he had never actually seen real pepper and he thought Allspice was it.
Its Anglicized name, pimento, is occasionally used in the spice trade today.
Before World War II, Allspice was more widely used than it is nowadays.
During the war, many trees producing Allspice were cut, and production never fully recovered. Folklore suggests that Allspice provides relief for digestive problems.
STORAGE TIPS OF ALLSPICE:
Store in cool, dark, dry places.
Follow the same storage rules for all spices and spice mixes.
Keep your allspice in a cool dark cupboard, away from direct sunlight.
Naturally, if you are in a warm climate, just store allspice somewhere dark, out of light.
CULTIVATION AND TRADE OF ALLSPICE:
The allspice tree, classified as an evergreen shrub, can reach 10–18 m (33–59 ft) in height.
Allspice can be a small, scrubby tree, quite similar to the bay laurel in size and form.
Allspice can also be a tall canopy tree, sometimes grown to provide shade for coffee trees planted underneath it.
Allspice can be grown outdoors in the tropics and subtropics with normal garden soil and watering.
Smaller plants can be killed by frost; larger plants are more tolerant.
Allspice adapts well to container culture and can be kept as a houseplant or in a greenhouse.
At the time allspice was encountered by Christopher Columbus during his second voyage to the New World, it was found only on the island of Jamaica, where the plant was readily spread by birds. Allspice was introduced into European and Mediterranean cuisines in the 16th century.
To protect the pimenta trade, Jamaican growers guarded against export of the plant.
Many attempts at growing the pimenta from seeds were reported, but all failed.
Eventually, passage through the avian digestive tract, whether due to the acidity or the elevated temperature, was found to be essential for germinating the seeds,and successful germination elsewhere was enabled.
Today, pimenta grows in Tonga and Hawaii, where it has become naturalized on Kauaʻi and Maui.
It continued to be grown primarily in Jamaica, though a few other Central American countries produced allspice in comparatively small quantities.