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What is Allspice?

Slofoodgroup Team April 01, 2023

Allspice is a culinary flavoring agent known for its use in Jamaican cuisine, pickling spice blends, baked sweets, and sausages. Though it is not pepper, it is sometimes referred to as Jamaican Pepper or Pimento, but these misnomers may have led to some confusion about the flavor profile and true nature of the spice. In this article, we will answer some common questions about allspice to provide clarity about what allspice is and what it is not.

An Introduction to Allspice

Is allspice a type of pepper? 

Allspice, despite its nicknames, is not a pepper. It is actually a small, fragrant berry that closely resembles a peppercorn. Because of its appearance, the Myrtle tree from which it iis sourced was given the name of Pimenta Dioica—pimenta directly translating to mean peppercorn. 

How many spices are in Allspice?

There is a common misconception that allspice is a seasoning blend containing all the spices, rather than a single ingredient derived from a single species. Can you imagine? Even if you packed the smallest amount of each individual spice available commercially into a single blend, you’d still have hundreds of seasonings jammed into what would have to be an enormous container. With so many contrasting flavor profiles, we can’t imagine the end product would be very tasty, either. 

Thankfully, that’s not the case. While there are plenty of spices that work well with the unique flavor profile of allspice, it is its own ingredient, with its own unique features. So why name it allspice? 

Why is allspice called allspice if it is a single ingredient?

Allspice gained its seemingly multi-spice inclusive nomenclature due to the complexity of its flavor profile. Upon the time of its naming, it was thought to contain flavor components reminiscent to a long list of spices. 

What does allspice taste like? 

Allspice is packed full of flavor enhancing volatile oils.The taste can be described as an delicate blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, and cloves. It is deeply warming, with aromatics that ensure an ignition of multi-sensory satisfaction.

What is allspice used for?

Allspice is adored for its potent multilayered flavor and intense aroma. With a degree of warmth that positions it perfectly for a long list of baked goods, jerk seasoning blends, chutneys, sauces, braises, and stews, you might find that you allspice is being incorporated into your diet much more often than expected. We also highly recommend adding it to homemade barbecue sauce, cocktails, and custard desserts. 

Allspice, like most other spices, is best when stored whole and fresh-ground right before use. You can find high-quality allspice sustainably harvested from Guatamala in our online store.