Allspice Is Essential In Many Cuisines

While its common name is allspice, it is also known as Jamaican pepper, kurundu, myrtle pepper, pimento, and newspice. It is the dried unripe berry of a tree native to the Greater Antilles, southern Mexico and Central America. It is now cultivated and widely used in many parts of the world. History records the name allspice as actually given to the berry as early as 1621 by the British. The reason was that the British thought it combined the flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves all in one. It is one of the most important ingredients of Caribbean cuisine. Jamaican jerk chicken is a good example. It is also an ingredient in sausage, curry powders, in mole sauces, and even pickling. Its popularity has spread to the Middle East where it is used to flavor a variety of stews and meat dishes. It is also an ingredient in different desserts in the United States. For those in the US who have enjoyed Cincinnati-style chili, it is the allspice that gives it its distinctive aroma and flavor.