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Information for Allspice

Allspice comes from the dried berries of the Pimenta dioica tree, also commonly known as the Jamaican pepper tree. Allspice is native to the islands of the Carribean, particularly the Greater Antilles region that encompasses Cuba and Jamaica. By 1621, the English named the seasoning "Allspice" because they believed that it was a combination of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.

The berries are harvested when they are green and dried under the sun before they mature. The green-colored berries look like peppercorns but they are larger and rougher. They have a reddish-brown surface after they have been dried. The Allspice berries are depleted of their authentic flavors when they are ripe.

Other names of Allspice include Jamaica pepper, newspice, myrtle pepper, and pimento. Allspice is a staple ingredient used in creating curry powder, soups, pickles, desserts, barbecue sauces, and other spice blends.

Common dishes that this versatile seasoning is used include Jamaican stews, English bread pudding, spice cakes, baked sausages, and wassail. Popular libations that contain Allspice include the West Indies' version of "Pimento Dram" and Sardinia's sweet-tasting "Mirto".

Photo Credit: Steven Jackson Photography
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