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Pimenta dioica (L.) Merr.

Brief Summary

    Allspice: Brief Summary
    provided by wikipedia
    "All spice" redirects here. For all spices, see List of culinary herbs and spices.

    Piment flower Piment flower in Uaxactún, north of Tikal National Park, Guatemala

    Allspice, also called pimenta, Jamaica pimenta, or myrtle pepper, is the dried unripe fruit (berries, used as a spice) of Pimenta dioica, a midcanopy tree native to the Greater Antilles, southern Mexico, and Central America, now cultivated in many warm parts of the world. The name "allspice" was coined as early as 1621 by the English, who thought it combined the flavour of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

    Several unrelated fragrant shrubs are called "Carolina allspice" (Calycanthus floridus), "Japanese allspice" (Chimonanthus praecox), or "wild allspice" (Lindera benzoin). "Allspice" is also sometimes used to refer to the herb costmary (Tanacetum balsamita).[citation needed]

    Brief Summary
    provided by EOL authors

    Allspice (Pimenta dioica) is a small tropical tree whose dried unripe berries (in which eugenol is the main volatile oil) provide the spice called allspice (named so because it seems to combine the flavors of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg). Allspice is believed to be native to the West Indies, southern Mexico, and Central America. Although Jamaica was the world's largest allspice exporter into the 1990s, in recent years this position has been held by Mexico. Guatemala and Honduras are also major exporters of allspice. (Vaughan and Geissler 1997)

Comprehensive Description

    Allspice
    provided by wikipedia
    "All spice" redirects here. For all spices, see List of culinary herbs and spices.

    Piment flower
    Piment flower in Uaxactún, north of Tikal National Park, Guatemala

    Allspice, also called pimenta,[a] Jamaica pimenta, or myrtle pepper, is the dried unripe fruit (berries, used as a spice) of Pimenta dioica, a midcanopy tree native to the Greater Antilles, southern Mexico, and Central America, now cultivated in many warm parts of the world.[2] The name "allspice" was coined as early as 1621 by the English, who thought it combined the flavour of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.[3]

    Several unrelated fragrant shrubs are called "Carolina allspice" (Calycanthus floridus), "Japanese allspice" (Chimonanthus praecox), or "wild allspice" (Lindera benzoin). "Allspice" is also sometimes used to refer to the herb costmary (Tanacetum balsamita).[citation needed]

    Production

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    Whole allspice berries

    Allspice is the dried fruit of the Pimenta dioica plant. The fruits are picked when green and unripe and are traditionally dried in the sun. When dry they are brown and resemble large, smooth peppercorns. Fresh leaves are similar in texture to bay leaves and similarly used in cooking. Leaves and wood are often used for smoking meats where allspice is a local crop.

    Care must be taken during drying to ensure that volatile oil, such as eugenol, remains in the end products.[4]

    Allspice can also be found in essential oil form.

    Uses

    Allspice is one of the most important ingredients of Caribbean cuisine. It is used in Jamaican jerk seasoning (the wood is used to smoke jerk in Jamaica, although the spice is a good substitute), in moles, and in pickling; it is also an ingredient in commercial sausage preparations and curry powders. Allspice is also indispensable in Middle Eastern cuisine, particularly in the Levant, where it is used to flavour a variety of stews and meat dishes. In Arab cuisine, for example, many main dishes call for allspice as the sole spice added for flavouring. In the West Indies, an allspice liqueur is produced under the name "pimento dram" due to conflation of pimenta and pimento.[a]

    In the United States, it is used mostly in desserts, but it is also responsible for giving Cincinnati-style chili its distinctive aroma and flavor. Allspice is commonly used in Great Britain, and appears in many dishes, including cakes. In Poland, allspice is used in a variety of dishes, including savory foods like deli meats, soups, marinades and pickles, and to a lesser extent in desserts and fruit drinks. Even in many countries where allspice is not very popular in the household, as in Germany, it is used in large amounts by commercial sausage makers.

    Cultivation

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    Pimenta dioica leaves in Goa, India

    The allspice tree, classified as an evergreen shrub, can reach 10–18 m (33–59 ft) in height. Allspice can be a small, scrubby tree, quite similar to the bay laurel in size and form. It can also be a tall, canopy tree, sometimes grown to provide shade for coffee trees planted underneath it. It can be grown outdoors in the tropics and subtropics with normal garden soil and watering. Smaller plants can be killed by frost, although larger plants are more tolerant. It adapts well to container culture and can be kept as a houseplant or in a greenhouse.

    To protect the pimenta trade, the plant was guarded against export from Jamaica. Many attempts at growing the pimenta from seeds were reported, but all failed. At one time, the plant was thought to grow nowhere except in Jamaica, where the plant was readily spread by birds. Experiments were then performed using the constituents of bird droppings; however, these were also totally unsuccessful. Eventually, passage through the avian gut, whether due to the acidity or the elevated temperature, was found to be essential for germinating the seeds. Today, pimenta is spread by birds in Tonga and Hawaii, where it has become naturalized on Kauaʻi and Maui.[5]

    Western history

    Allspice (P. dioica) was encountered by Christopher Columbus on the island of Jamaica during his second voyage to the New World, and named by Diego Álvarez Chanca. It was introduced into European and Mediterranean cuisines in the 16th century. It continued to be grown primarily in Jamaica, though a few other Central American countries produced allspice in comparatively small quantities.[6]

    Notes

    1. ^ a b Not to be confused with pimento, a red, heart-shaped sweet pepper.

    References

    1. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved 19 August 2015..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:"""""'"'"}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
    2. ^ Riffle, Robert L. (1 August 1998). The Tropical Look: An Encyclopedia of Dramatic Landscape Plants. Timber Press. ISBN 0-88192-422-9.
    3. ^ Oxford English Dictionary (2 ed.). Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press. 1 March 1989. ISBN 0-19-861186-2. Retrieved 12 December 2009.
    4. ^ Branch, Legislative Services. "Consolidated federal laws of canada, Food and Drug Regulations". laws.justice.gc.ca. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
    5. ^ Lorence, David H.; Flynn, Timothy W.; Wagner, Warren L. (1 March 1995). "Contributions to the Flora of Hawai'i III" (PDF). Bishop Museum Occasional Papers. Honolulu, Hawaii: Bishop Museum Press. 41: 19–58. ISSN 0893-1348. Retrieved 12 December 2009.
    6. ^ Nancy Gaifyllia. "About.com Greek Food – Allspice". Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 26 June 2011.