Whole allspice is warm and pungent. In shape, in size, and in color it looks like a dried peppercorn. Similar to the peppercorn it is brown and pebble-like but differing in that allspice surface is smooth save for its small dried calyx crown. Its flavor is more complex than the simple combination of clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg spices that it is often mistaken as. It has a mildly citrus and peppery addition that gives it more depth. It suits dishes both sweet and savory.
Generally speaking whole allspice is used when liquid is involved and either time or heat can be applied to infuse the spice into the recipe. Stocks, stews, sauces, soups, brines or on the sweet side: puddings, creams (for ice cream); milks, wines, ciders (for warm winter beverages).
Crush slightly and then lightly toast the berries in a dry pan over low heat for a few minutes to release more aroma.
Allspice aroma is a combination of spices including cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg, with a peppery edge.
Whole allspice is a dried brown berry that looks a bit like an extra-large peppercorn, but without wrinkles.
Pairs well in confections with cinnamon. Works equally well in savory dishes with juniper, pepper, rosemary and thyme.
Can be substituted for mixture of spices with equal parts cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. If using allspice as a substitution for these spices, use slightly less than quantities called for in your recipe due to allspice's pungency.
Whole allspice berries are used most often in liquids where their flavor can be infused over time or with heat. As such they can be found in brines; stews and soups; pickling and mulling mixes; and winter warming beverages like spiced ciders or hot chocolates.
1.2 oz (34 g) per 1/2 cup
The dried berries from this plant are redolent of a mix of spices. Whole or ground they seem to hold all the scents of our holiday baking favorites: cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Its flavor matches its aroma; and this 'evidence,' along with the suggestive name, have duped people to believing it's a blend of spices for ages.
Allspice can be purchased whole and then ground at home as-needed to achieve maximum flavor. Be sure to account for this fresh-ground pungency by using less than the amount called for in your recipe.
Allspice tree plantations are called "walks." In midsummer these groves bloom with tiny white flowers that are intensely aromatic. A "pimento walk" according to mid 18th century botanists was a stroll through the grounds and avenues of allspice trees. Patrick Browne, one such botanist, declared "Nothing can be more delicious than the odour of these walks, when the trees are in bloom..."