Allspice

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated April 24, 2017)

Allspice, also known by the scientific name Pimenta officinaus, is the fruit of a tropical American tree that belongs to the myrtle family. It is remarkably showy, with beautiful shiny green and aromatic leaves. The berry is picked green, and then sun-dried for about a week, leaving the berry looking like a large, plump peppercorn. Early seventeenth century explorers named the berry pimenta, which is the Spanish word for pepper. Back in those days pepper, and other spices, translated directly into money, with the spices usually being worth their weight in gold. Apparently though, the explorers didn't bring any allspice back with them, since it wasn't until more than a century later that this spice really started to become popular throughout Europe.

Allspice is a wonderful spice that has a unique history when compared to that of other spices. The contrast lies in the fact that the warm, sweet allspice has virtually no history of greed, thievery, or bloodshed. In addition, allspice has comparatively little in the way of a culinary history. This spice was brought to the American colonies from the West Indian Islands along with their cargos of rum and molasses. In the early days of the American colonies, allspice was a welcome relief to the housewives of the day. Due to the expense and rarity of spices from other parts of the world, allspice created a versatile new option that could be used instead.

Allspice has since been used as a "traditional" alternative spice for Indian puddings, spiced or pickled meats, and even as a seasoning for pumpkin pies. In addition, the New World allspice also blends well with various other New World foods. Some examples of these other foods include things like tomatoes, sweet potatoes and yams, squashes and pumpkins, spice cakes, pickles, and even in chocolate. Since it has been found, and its increase in popularity, allspice has become indispensable for things like mincemeat and even in preparing hams.

Keep in mind though that while allspice can blend wonderfully with other spices, you will want to leave out any and all cloves that a recipe may call for. This is because in allspice, the dominating taste is that of cloves. Due to this, when used in long term cooking it can help impart a wonderful taste. Some examples of this use would be to tie a few of the whole berries into some cheesecloth bag, and using it for pot roast flavoring, or soaking in marinades, soups, and other dishes.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

MORE FROM LEE

Gas Efficient SUVs

The idea of gas efficient SUVs is something of an oxymoron to many people. The truth is, however, that it is possible to find ...

Discover More

Spice Racks

Spice racks are a necessity for the truly enthusiastic home chef. Without a properly organized and stocked spice rack, the ...

Discover More

Cleaning Dry Clean Only Drapes

Just like with clothes, there are drapes and curtains that have those dreaded words "Dry Clean Only" spelled out on their ...

Discover More
More Cooking Tips

Choosing a Cooking Oil

Different cooking oils do so many different things and so you need to know when to use what cooking oil and what the ...

Discover More

Cleaning a Honey Mess

Do you love honey but hate the mess it leaves? Clean it up easier with a few simple tips.

Discover More

Best Ways to Store Fresh Herbs

Fresh herbs tend to be better for cooking than dried ones. There is, however, the problem of keeping herbs fresh for as long ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured cooking tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 3 + 3?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Videos

Subscribe to the Tips.Net channel:

Visit the Tips.Net channel on YouTube

Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured cooking tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)