Christopher Columbus discovered
allspice in the Caribbean when he mistook the spicy berries for
Also known as pimiento or Jamaican pepper, allspice is the unripened
fruit of a small evergreen tree called Pimenta Dioica
. The berries are
picked from the tree and sun-dried into pea-size balls with a dark, brownish-red color.
Contrary to popular belief, allspice is not a blend of "all spices." It
does however, have a naturally inherent sweet and spicy flavor
reminiscent of cloves, cinnamon
and hot pepper. The pungent
one of the most important ingredients of Caribbean cuisine where it's
used in Jamaican jerk seasoning and soups, stews
and curries. Allspice
is also a common ingredient in cakes, cookies and pies as well as
ketchup, pickles and sausage.
Allspice can be purchased as whole berries or a ground powder. The
whole berries have a longer shelf-life than the powdered product and
they also produce more flavorful results when they're freshly ground
right before using. Some markets may also carry allspice leaves which
must be used while they're fresh. Like bay leaves
, they're used to
infuse flavor and are removed before serving.
Store in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place. Ground allspice
stays fresh for up to six months. Whole berries last up to a year.
Allspice is worthy addition to your
spice rack as it complements a wide variety of sweet to savory
recipes. Try adding whole berries to chicken and pork marinades
or simmering stews
and pot roasts. Mix ground
allspice with ground beef for more flavorful hamburgers and meatloaf,
or simply add a pinch to your barbecue and tomato sauces
Allspice can also give a distinctive touch to desserts like applesauce,
angel food cake and oatmeal cookies.
• One teaspoon of ground allspice is equivalent to approximately five whole berries.
• Use an equal amount of allspice as a substitute for cloves.
• Substitute one teaspoon of allspice with 1/2 tsp cinnamon
plus 1/2 tsp ground cloves
OR 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground cloves plus 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Try one of our favorite allspice recipes:
Harvest Moon Pumpkin PieUncle Oscars Swedish MeatballsCaribbean Chicken-Vegetable Soup
barbecue, beef, black beans, carrots, chicken, chutneys, eggnog, fish,
gingerbread, lamb, pumpkin, sausage, spice cake, sweet potatoes,
tomatoes, turkey, veal, venison