ALLSPICE / PIMENTO
Allspice is a dried berry about the size of a pea, that comes from the West Indian Allspice tree. It looks like a large, smooth peppercorn, but is an aromatic spice that is called Allspice because it has flavor and aroma associated with cinnamon, cloves, pepper and nutmeg. Of all the Caribbean countries, allspice is most widely used in Jamaica, where It’s also called Jamaican pepper and Pimento.
Allspice, like cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg, is used in both sweet and savory dishes including mulled drinks, Christmas pudding, pickles, marinades and most famously Jamaican jerk chicken.
Mistaken at first by the Spanish for black peppercorns due to their size and roundness, allspice can be used whole, crushed or ground. Allspice can be used for flavoring marinades, sauces, soups, stews, pickles, chocolate, fruit salads and making a spiced hot tea.
The leaves and the wood of the Allspice tree are also used in the Caribbean, and authentic Jamaican Jerk is cooked over a fire of Allspice wood.