Allspice

Allspice Whole and ground 

Allspice takes its name from its aroma, which smells like a combination of spices, especially cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg, hence the name ‘wonderpeper’ (wonderful pepper) in Afrikaans.

It is used in the preparation of many meals and is a popular spice in curries, soups and bredies. Ground allspice can also be used to flavour desserts, cakes and biscuits.

Allspice is produced from the unripened dried berries of an evergreen tree native to Caribbean regions.

Dried allspice berries resemble large brown peppercorns and can be ground into a powder, which is the form that is the most popular in the United States.

The unripe berries are harvested and sun dried until the seeds in them rattle. They vary in size between 4 to 7 mm in diameter and are dark brown with wrinkled skins. The outer case contains two dark, hard kidney-shaped seeds. Sometimes the whole berry will be called ‘pimento’.

Aroma and Flavour

Bouquet - pungent and aromatic, like a combination of nutmeg, clove, ginger and cinnamon.
Flavour - warm and sweetly pungent like the combination described above with peppery overtones.

Purchase and Avoid
Whole allspice berries should be even in colour, dark reddish brown, and rounded, with a rough surface and no musty smell. Ground allspice should be a rich dark brown with a warm aroma. It should be somewhat oily in consistency, never dry and dusty.
Storage
Store whole or ground allspice in a cool, dark place with low humidity. Whole allspice will keep up to 3 years before its flavour fades; ground, up to 1½ years.
Culinary Use
A Few Ideas to Get You Started.
  1. Add a few whole allspice to your pepper grinder, along with a mixture of black, white, and green peppercorns for a unique seasoning blend.

  2. Try mixing 2 ml ground allspice with 1 kg of ground beef to give a unique flavour to meatloaf or hamburgers.

  3. Add 5 ml of ground allspice to angel food or white cake mix for a sensational spicy flavour.

  4. Aromatic whole allspice is a great addition to potpourri.

  5. For an intriguing spiciness, add whole, cracked berries to marinades for chicken and pork, simmering beef stew, pot roasts, or hearty bean soups.

  6. Season marinated herring, pickled vegetables, pâtés, and smoked meats with allspice.

  7. Enhance simple desserts such as applesauce, fruit compotes, and oatmeal cookies with the warm, sweet flavour of ground allspice.

  8. Add a few whole berries (not powdered, which will darken the colour) to poaching liquid for fruit, removing before serving.

  9. Add a pinch of ground allspice to barbecue and tomato sauces as well as cooked winter squash and carrots.

Food Affinities
  • apples

  • chicken

  • chocolate

  • goat

  • peaches

  • pears

  • pickled fish

  • plums

  • pork

  • pumpkin

  • rum

  • sausage

  • tomatoes

Recipes

Category: Spices and Herbs

Sub Category: Spice