|(Photo unknown. If anyone has any info on the source please let me know so I can add a credit.)|
It is indigenous to Jamaica and has long been part of that island’s unique culinary heritage. Allspice is integral in Jamaican jerk seasoning and the ripe berries are also used to make the local alcoholic cordial Pimento Dram.
Allspice berries are harvested when green, and then dried in the sun until they turn their familiar dark reddish brown colour. The shiny dark green leaves of the tree contain the same spicy aromas the berries.
Some other interesting facts about allspice:
- Allspice is a close relative to the Bay Rum Tree (pimenta racemosa)
- The Mayans used it to embalm the dead
- Tomato ketchup and Xmas pudding also contain all-spice
- Early Spanish explorers first mistook allspice for pepper and named it ‘pimiento’ which was later anglicized to ‘pimento’.
- Besides vanilla and chilli pepper, allspice is the only other known spice not of Asian origin.
Bibliography: The Encyclopedia of Essential Oilsby Julia Lawless, Fruit Trees of the Caribbean by Sandra Hewitt, Herbal Plants of Jamaicaby Monica Warner, The East India Book of Spices by Antony Wild, Jamaicantravelandculture.com, Perfumer & Flavorist Volume 35 #4.