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The Magic of Allspice

Apr 25, 2023

Allspice has tones of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and pepper, and is used a lot in Caribbean, Middle Eastern, and Latin American cuisines, among others. It is a single spice that is made from unripe, dried berries taken from the mid canopy tree Pimenta dioica Tree, which is native to the Greater Antilles, Southern Mexico and Central America. It is also called Jamaica pepper,myrtle pepper,pimenta, orpimento.

Christopher Columbus brought the berry to Western Europe after discovering it in Jamaica during his second voyage to the New World. After incorrectly guessing it to be a pepper, Columbus brought it home to Spain where it was named “pimienta” (Spanish for pepper) by Diego Álvarez Chanca.

Important Spice

Allspice can be used in ground form or whole. However once ground, it can quickly lose its pungency. Ground spices are more intense than whole cloves or berries.

It is one of the mostimportant spicesin Jamaican cuisine. Among other traditional uses, it’s often used in Jamaican jerk seasoning, pickling, sausage preparation, and curries.

Like other spices, the quantity of allspice used in cooking isn’t usually enough to be nutritionally significant.
Allspice contains the chemical eugenol, which might explain why it can be used for toothache, and as a germ-killer. It is also great as an essential oil and medicinally due to its high concentration of antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory eugenol as a remedy for colds, menstrual cramps, and upset stomach.

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