Dictionary

Allspice

Allspice is a type of spice that is grown only in the Western hemisphere mostly in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. Owing to its name, many people tend to believe that allspice is a combination of different spices. However, the truth is that it is the dried unripe berry of the Pimento berry.

Even though allspice is not some magical blend of all the spices in the world, it still tastes extremely special as it contains the flavors of cloves, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon. The dried allspice berry is often mistaken for peppercorn since they look extremely similar. Even the Spanish, who discovered the spice in the 16th century made the same mistake but soon realized they were wrong. Allspice is a little bigger compared to peppercorn and also has a smoother surface.

The Pimento dioica tree, from which allspice grows, is an evergreen tree that grows wild in the forests of Central as well as South America. Almost all the parts of the tree are used by the Jamaicans in various dishes. Today, allspice is used mostly in sweet and savory dishes. In the Caribbean, most natives use it as a major ingredient for Jamaican jerk seasoning, while Mexicans use it as part of their mole recipe.