Allspice is the dried brown berry of the tropical Pimenta dioica tree. It got its name in the 17th century when allspice berries were first imported to Europe since it’s said to taste like a combination of clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Allspice berries are harvested when green (unripe) and briefly fermented, then sun-dried, during which they turn a reddish-brown.
Contrary to what its name suggests, Allspice isn’t a blend of other spices—it’s a unique ingredient that lends its distinctive flavor to fall desserts and savory dishes.
Allspice is a warm-tasting spice whose primary aromatic compound is eugenol, also found in clove. It also contains cineole (fresh and sharp) and caryophyllene (woody). Although it's often compared to cinnamon, allspice doesn’t actually contain the same volatile compounds found in cinnamon.
Recipe Ideas Featuring Allspice
· Allspice is often featured in brines for pickled fish (such as herring) and vegetables, often alongside whole cloves, mustard seed, black peppercorns, bay leaves, or other aromatics.
· Mincemeat pie filling is typically made with dried fruit seasoned with allspice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
· Jamaican jerk seasoning, rubbed on chicken and all manner of other meats (and vegetables!), is typically made from a blend of allspice, nutmeg, black pepper, thyme, cayenne pepper, paprika, sugar, salt, garlic, and ginger.
· Use allspice in pumpkin desserts such as pumpkin pie, bread, cake, or muffins.
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