Allspice is an interesting spice because it doesn't have a typical flavour but tastes like a combination of a variety of spices. It has notes of cloves, nutmeg, pepper and cinnamon, but all at the same time!
What is Allspice?
The dried berries of an evergreen shrub called Pimenta dioica are called allspice. It belongs to the myrtle family. The allspice shrub is orginally from Jamaica and is also known as Jamaica pepper and piment. It is used in Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin American cuisines, among others.
The finest allspice still comes from Jamaica today and has a clove-like scent. Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico also produce allspice, but their varieties have more of a rum aroma and are considered inferior to Jamaican allspice.
Allspice is commonly used in baking, cooking, flavouring meat and even in teas. It is particularly popular in Caribbean cuisine and is the main ingredient in jerk seasoning. Commonly used in Britain, allspice is one of the most important spices in Middle Eastern cuisine.
Whole or Ground?
Allspice can be used both whole and ground. Ground allspice is more intense but quickly loses its flavour. Whole allspice berries are sometimes used in stews and soups, as well as for pickling and preserving. Ground allspice, on the other hand, is better suited to desserts.
Store allspice in an airtight container away from direct sunlight to keep it fresh and ready to use. Whole allspice can retain its flavour for years when stored properly whereas ground allspice quickly loses its vibrant fresh flavour.
Allspice is not only delicious and versatile in the kitchen, it is also very healthy. It contains vitamins, minerals and is rich in antioxidants. Many of the compounds found in allspice are being studied as potential agents for treating inflammation, nausea and even cancer. Here are some of the many health benefits of allspice:
Inflammation can have many negative long-term consequences, especially when it comes to chronic micro-inflammation in the body. It can also worsen injuries or infections. Many ingredients in allspice can counteract inflammation.
Eugenol, the compound that gives allspice its distinctive flavour, is sometimes used to treat nausea.
Prevention of infections
Allspice contains many compounds that can help prevent bacterial infections. In some studies, the ingredients in allspice have also shown antiseptic and antifungal properties.
Allspice is high in eugenol, which is also an ingredient in over-the-counter remedies for toothache. Studies have shown that eugenol can be used as a local anesthetic.
Slows cancer cell growth?
Allspice has a high content of aromatic compounds called phenols. Many phenols are being studied as anticancer agents and some of these compounds are said to slow down the growth of cancer cells. Various studies are currently underway to determine whether this is really the case. There are no results yet.
As you can see, allspice is not only useful in the kitchen but also has many health benefits when consumed regularly. Here you will find our range of allspice.