Which do you think is the most misunderstood spice? When I heard “Allspice”, first time in the nutrition class, I imagined it to be the mixture of all spices. When I saw it in grocery store, I misjudged it as black pepper. Like you, I never would have guessed that “Allspice” is a spice by itself.
Not only us, even Christopher Columbus when first discovered allspice, he misidentified it as peppercorns and called it as pimienta, which is the Spanish for pepper. Thus, allspice got the scientific name Pimenta dioica. Allspice was more commonly used before World War II. During World war soldiers took advantage of its antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties by sprinkling it in their boots to improve blood flow and help keep their feet warm.
Allspice is native to Jamaica. It is grown in Jamaica, Guatemala and Honduras. Jamaican allspice is considered superior to all other nations in Central and South America.
Allspice is the dry, fresh berry of Pimenta dioica plant.It belongs to the myrtle family, an evergreen tree. In dried form the berries look like peppercorns, but they are slightly larger in size and somewhat brown in color.
After drying, the berries are small, dark brown balls just a little larger than peppercorns. Allspice is a blend of flavor and aroma of a mix of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper.
All spice is rich in volatile oil eugenol, the same element which is present in clove and very popular for its pain killing property. Apart from eugenol Allspice contains more than two dozen healing compounds.
Allspice has warm sweet peppery flavor which can be easily used in both savory and sweet foods. Here are few interesting examples of using allspice regularly.
1. Mix 1/4 teaspoon ground Allspice with any ground meat to enjoy unique flavor loaf and burgers.
2. Add a teaspoon of ground Allspice to homemade cakes for an exciting twist.
3. Add few Whole Allspice to the pepper grinder for a unique seasoning blend.
4. For an interesting fieriness, add whole or cracked allspice berries to marinades, sauces, or soups.
5. Use ground allspice in applesauce, fruit compotes, or while baking cookies.
6. Add a pinch of Ground Allspice to cooked winter squash or carrots.
7. Allspice may be easily substituted for cloves.
8. All spice is the key ingredient in Jamaica’s signature style of cooking, known as Kerking. It is very crucial in Jamaican jerk, a hot spice mixture.
Allspice has antiviral and antibacterial qualities thus is great against infection. It has analgesic and anesthetic properties making it a natural painkiller. Jamaicans were the first ones recognizing all the healing properties of Allspice. They used it to get relief from cold, soothe a stomachache, regulate the menstrual cycle, and treat indigestion, flatulence, and other digestive problems.
1. Allspice is a powerful Antioxidant
We are well aware of how important antioxidants are for our health. They protect our bodies from oxidative damage, which is the major cause of chronic illnesses like cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and Alzheimer’s. Allspice is loaded with antioxidants.
According to researchers from Japan the allspice berries contain 25 active phenols. These phenols are antioxidants namely ellagic acid, eugenol, and quercetin which have the healing powers.
2. Allspice helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
The herbalists have known the effectiveness of Allspice on menopausal issues for centuries. The researchers were studying allspice and 16 other plants from herbal treatment. They believed these plants can be used as a natural alternative to hormone replacement therapy. HRT has many side effects including increased risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. The scientists think allspice can be a natural alternative in the treatment and management of menopause and osteoporosis.
3. All spice helps digestion
The active ingredients from the allspice help increase the mobility of the gastrointestinal tract. They enhance the ability of the digested material to move spontaneously and independently in the digestive tract. They support the digestion process by facilitating secretion of digestive enzymes inside the stomach and intestines.
1. For athlete’s foot, simply sprinkle powdered allspice between the toes, its antifungal qualities will help you get relief.
2. To get relief from sore muscles and the painful joints of rheumatoid arthritis, apply allspice oil on the affected area. Its anti-inflammatory property will help you heal.
3. Add scented whole Allspice to the potpourri.
4. A simple easy way to enjoy allspice is a tea. Add ½ tsp of allspice powder to hot water, steep for 10 minutes, strain and then enjoy once a day.