ALLSPICE - extracted from Patricia G. Solley's pages
|Allspice is the dried berry of an evergreen tree native to tropical
America. This tree, of the Myrtle family, grows about 35 feet tall. Its gray
bark smells good; its dark green leaves smell good (from the glandular dots
on their underside); and their greeny white flowers are almost overpowering.
These produce a succulent berry that ripens from green to dark purple and
contains two pea-sized seeds. Seventy percent of the oil extracted from these
seeds is eugenol, the same oil found in cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. And
it is this oil that gives the distinctive flavoring to Chartreuse and other
liqueurs that, from centuries ago, have been made in European monasteries.
Allspice, too, has been used in folk medicine as a poultice to relieve the pain of arthritis. And, in fact, allspice does contain tannins that are mildly anaesthetic, though they can actually irritate the skin if they are in direct contact with it.
Jamaica continues to produce the world's greatest supply of allspice, where it is gathered by hand as a dark purple berry and dried until its 2 seeds rattle. In a pinch, you can approximate allspice by mixing one part nutmeg with 2 parts each cinnamon and cloves.
In the myrtle family. Harvested while green, the berries are sun-dried, turning brown when completely dried. Allspice berries are about the size of peppercorns. A myriad of flavors - cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg with a peppery tang. Freshly ground allspice is preferable to the powders available in markets. Good in cakes, cookies, marinades, chutneys, meat, seafood, poultry, rice and so much more. It is also an ingredient for pickling spice. Allspice is to be stored away from light, in an airtight container.
Allspice is the dried, unripe berry of Pimenta dioica, an evergreen tree in the myrtle family. After drying, the berries are small, dark brown balls just a little larger than peppercorns.
Allspice comes from Jamaica, Mexico, and Honduras.
Traditional Ethnic Uses
Allspice is used in Jamaican jerk seasoning and in Jamaican soups, stews, and curries. It also is used in pickling spice, spiced tea mixes, cakes, cookies, and pies. Food producers use it in ketchup, pickles, and sausages.
Taste and Aroma Description
Allspice is pungent and fragrant. It is not a blend of "all spices," but its taste and aroma remind many people of a mix of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
History/Region of Origin
Christopher Columbus discovered Allspice in the Caribbean. Although he was seeking pepper, he had never actually seen real pepper and he thought Allspice was it. He brought it back to Spain, where it got the name "pimienta," which is Spanish for pepper. Its Anglicized name, pimento, is occasionally used in the spice trade today. Before World War II, Allspice was more widely used than it is nowadays. During the war, many trees producing Allspice were cut, and production never fully recovered. Folklore suggests that Allspice provides relief for digestive problems.
Store in cool, dark, dry places.
A Few Ideas to Get You Started
The warm sweet flavor of Allspice lends itself to a wide variety of foods. Allspice is commonly used in both savory and sweet foods. Try mixing 1/4 teaspoon ground Allspice with 2 pounds of ground beef to give a unique flavor to meatloaf or hamburgers. Or, add 1 teaspoon of ground Allspice to angel food or white cake mix for a sensational spicy flavor. Aromatic whole Allspice is a great addition to potpourri. Add a few Whole Allspice to your pepper grinder, along with a mixture of black, white, and green peppercorns for a unique seasoning blend. For an intriguing spiciness, add whole, cracked berries to marinades for chicken nd pork, simmering beef stew, pot roasts, or hearty bean soups. Enhance simple desserts such as applesauce, fruit compotes, and oatmeal cookies with the warm, sweet flavor of Ground Allspice. Add a pinch of Ground Allspice to barbecue and tomato sauces as well as cooked winter squash and carrots. Allspice may be substituted for cloves. To grind Allspice at home, do not use a grinder with plastic parts, because the oil in the spice can cloud plastic.
Source: Caravan Spice and Trading Company
From Jamaica, known there as pimento - aka Kubaba in Poland. Very fragrant, often compared to a mixture of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Usually ground, but sometimes available as whole dried berries. Can be used with meats, savories and pastry.
Source: extracted from the pages of One Planet - http://www.oneplanetnatural.com
Tropical evergreen tree (Pimenta diocia, formerly P. officinalis) of the myrtle family (Myrtaceae), native to the West Indies and Central America and valued for its berries, the source of a highly aromatic spice. Allspice was so named because the flavour of the dried berry resembles a combination of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It is widely used in baking and is usually present in mincemeat and mixed pickling spice. Early Spanish explorers, mistaking it for a type of pepper, called it pimenta, hence its botanical name and such terms as pimento and Jamaica pepper. The first record of its import to Europe is from 1601.
The allspice tree attains a height of about 9 metres (30 feet). The fruits are picked before they are fully ripe and then dried in the sun. During drying the berries turn from green to a dull reddish brown. The nearly globular fruit, about 5 millimetres (0.2 inch) in diameter, contains two kidney-shaped, dark-brown seeds. Its flavour is aromatic and pungent. The essential oil content is about 4 1/2 percent for Jamaica allspice and about 2 1/2 percent for that of Central America; its principal component is eugenol.
The name allspice is applied to several other aromatic shrubs as well, especially to one of the sweet shrubs, the Carolina allspice (Calycanthus floridus), a handsome flowering shrub native to the southeastern United States and often cultivated in England. Other allspices include: the Japanese allspice (Chimonanthus praecox), native to eastern Asia and planted as an ornamental in England and the United States; the wild allspice, or spicebush (Lindera benzoin), a shrub of eastern North America, with aromatic berries, reputed to have been used as a substitute for true allspice. "allspice" Britannica Online
Allspice is grown in Jamaica, but alternate sources include Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and the Leeward Islands. Historically, Jamaican allspice has been considered superior because it has a higher oil content and better appearance and flavor than any other. Jamaican allspice has a clove-like aroma, while the Honduran and Guatemalan varieties have a characteristic bay rum flavor.
Allspice was discovered by Columbus in 1494, but was not recognized or used as a spice until the early 17th century. Available both whole and ground, allspice blends well with other spices and is present in many spice mixtures. It can be used in both savory and sweet dishes and is commonly added to meat, gravies, ketchup, pickling mixes, pies, cakes, cookies, relishes, and preserves. Allspice adds rich, warm flavor to many dishes that are cooked for a long period of time. Allspice is also used in Jamaican soup and meat stews to provide a traditional flavor. German sauerbraten depends on allspice for balance and subtlety, and recipes for many American fruit pies, cookies, and cakes call for allspice.
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