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Allspice’s flavor evokes a blend of nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. You can use it in place of any of those spices, and then some.
Don’t let its name (or its flavor) fool you: Allspice is not a blend of other spices and is actually the pea-sized berry of an evergreen tree, native to the Caribbean and Central America.
You can use allspice in a variety of recipes that are sweet or savory such as cookies, pumpkin pie, spice cake, spicing for sausage and glazes for ham. It’s a key flavor in Jamaican jerk seasoning, the fiery blend of herbs and spices that turns chicken or pork into an instant party.
Use whole berries rather than ground allspice for slow-cooked stews, braises, mulling and pickles. Whole berries are less intense than its ground form. Whole allspice is also stewed with sauerkraut to provide a sweet, aromatic note to the tartness of fermented cabbage.
The pickling of anything and everything—cucumbers, beets, onions, cauliflower, green beans—is ideal for whole allspice. One of our favorite pickling brines is allspice berries simmered in cider vinegar with mustard seed, bay leaves, black peppercorns and salt. Throw in a dried chili if you’d like a little heat.
Whole allspice can set the tone for a cozy evening of hot rum toddies, spiced red wine or mulled apple cider. Simmer it gently in your beverage of choice. Add cinnamon sticks and fresh orange slices for a festive twist.
Tomatoes and beef double down on flavor when allspice and ground cinnamon join the mix. Together, these four ingredients form the base for Cincinnati chili. Serve it “two-way” with spaghetti or go wild and dish it up “five-way” with spaghetti, grated cheddar cheese, chopped onions and cooked beans.
Brining brings flavor and juiciness to larger cuts of meat, like pork roasts and whole chickens. Use allspice, plus bay leaves, thyme and crushed red pepper to spice any recipe for brining liquid. Pat the meat dry before roasting or grilling—we find that helps the surface brown more evenly.
Similar to whole berries, you can use ground allspice when you’re looking for a fragrant, somewhat peppery note for sweet and savory dishes. Ground spices are more intense than whole berries. We recommend using ground allspice for desserts, such as pumpkin cake or pie, spice cakes, and gingerbread for easier mixing.
We love ground allspice in molasses cookies, where it’s often mixed with cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s excellent in baked custard as well. We suggest dusting the jiggly surface of the custard with ground allspice as soon as you pull the dish from the oven. You’ll have a dish that looks, smells and tastes irresistible.
Its ability to balance fruit’s sweetness with zesty warmth makes ground allspice a perfect addition to fruit pies and homemade preserves. We love adding just a hint of it to homemade jam for the fragrance, as well as the taste.
Caribbean cuisine features allspice in many dishes, including meat and sweet potato stews. It’s also a must-have in Jamaican jerk seasoning, a zesty blend of allspice, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme, garlic, brown sugar, ginger and salt.
Throughout the United Kingdom, allspice lends spicy fragrance to the holidays. English Christmas pudding, winter gingerbread and fruitcakes combine the peppery warmth of allspice with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Allspice is also a popular spice in Greek cuisine as it is used with cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and cumin to season tomato sauce and marinades.
Add some more flavor to your meals with these herbs and spices. They go great with allspice.
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