Pimenta dioica (L.) MERR.

Allspice, or pimento, is the dried fruit of an evergreen tree in the myrtle family that grows up to 10 metres tall. The tiny flowers arranged in umbels develop into round berries, which attain their strongest aroma shortly before ripening, when they are harvested. The berries are dried in special ovens until they acquire a reddish brown colour. Allspice is used whole or ground.

Countries of origin

Mexico, West Indies, Jamaica, Brazil, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Cuba
The allspice tree is indigenous to South America. The Aztecs used the fruits to season their chocolate. Like vanilla and paprika, allspice was brought back to Europe by companions of Christopher Columbus. It first became widely popular and prized in the 17th century, becoming a real competitor for pepper. Premium quality allspice today comes from Jamaica.

Flavour and aroma

This multi-talented spice tastes and smells somewhat like a blend of pepper, clove, nutmeg and cinnamon, which is why it is referred to as allspice. Fish and meat marinades, pickled vegetables, stews, sauerbraten and ragouts Whole allspice rounds out the flavour of marinades and meat dishes. The spice adds a perfect touch to gherkins, mixed pickles, roasts and dark sauces. Ground allspice is used in Christmas cakes and cookies, plum cake and plum compote. Allspice powder also goes well with ground meat dishes, thick soups, dark sauces and vol-au-vent fillings. An oil obtained from the berries is added to numerous cordials and herb liqueurs.

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