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All Spice
All Spice
Allspice takes its name from its aroma, which smells like a combination of spices, especiallsy cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. In much of the world, allspice is called pimento because the Spanish mistook the fruit for black pepper, which the Spanish called pimienta. This is especially confusing since the Spanish had already called chillies pimientos. Lets also thank the Spanish for centuries of linguistic confusion created by naming all the natives they met ‘Indians’.
Allspice is the only spice that is grown exclusively in the Western Hemisphere. The evergreen tree that produces the allspice berries is indigenous to the rainforests of South and Central America where it grows wild. Unfortunately the wild trees were cut down to harvest the berries and few remain today. There are plantations in Mexico and parts of Central America but the finest allspice comes from Jamaica where the climate and soil are best suited to producing the aromatic berries.
Allspice was used by the Mayans as an embalming agent and by other South American Indians to flavour chocolate. The name ‘Jamaica’ comes from Xamayca, meaning ‘land of wood and water’ in the language of the Arawaks. These natives used allspice to help cure and preserve meats, sometimes animals, sometimes their enemies. The allspice cured meat was known in Arawak as boucan and so later Europeans who cured meat this way came to be known as boucaniers, which ultimately became ‘buccaneers’.
The spice was imported to Europe soon after the discovery of the new world. There were several attempts made to transplant it to spice producing regions of the east, but these trees produced little fruit. Despite its rich fragrance and a strong flavour resembling other more coveted spices, allspice never had the same caché in Europe as cinnamon or pepper. The English started making regular shipments to England in 1737, but by that time the lust for spices been eclipsed by other New-World products like sugar and coffee. It was quite popular in England though, where it came to be known as ‘English Spice”.
In the Napoleonic war of 1812, Russian soldiers put allspice in their boots to keep their feet warm and the resultant improvement in odours is carried into today’s cosmetic industries, where pimento oil is usually associated with men’s toiletries (especially products with the word ‘spice’ on the label).
 

Spice Description
Dried allspice berries resemble large brown peppercorns. Unripe berries are harvested and sun dried until the seeds in them rattle. They vary in size between 4 to 7 mm (1/8 - 1/4 in) in diameter and are dark brown with wrinkled skins. The outer case contains two dark, hard kidney-shaped seeds. Allspice is available whole or ground. Sometimes the whole berry will be called ‘pimento’.
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.
Hotness Scale: 4

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Email: info@rosmaimpex.com

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