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Allspice

What is Allspice?
Although it is a single spice, allspice has an aroma like a combination of pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. It is a round berry, about 1 cm in diameter grown on a specific tree native to Jamaica and Central America (Southern Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras). This spice is truly unique as it is exclusively grown in the Western Hemisphere and nowhere else. The berries are picked when they are fully grown, but still green. They are then dried, and during the drying they turn reddish brown, and resemble black peppercorns, but Allspice berries are larger in size, with a smoother surface, and brown in color.


Occidental International Foods, LLC

4 Middlebury Blvd., Suite 3   
Aspen Business Park   
Randolph, NJ 07869
Tel: 973-970-9220
Fax: 973-970-9222
E-mail: info@occidentalfoods.com
Occidental
International
Foods, LLC
Allspice typically contains between 2.0 % - 3.8 % volatile oil prior to grinding.  Honduran and Guatemalan Allspice have a higher average volatile oil content than Mexican Allspice and are thus considered a higher quality Allspice with more potency of flavor and aroma. Mexican Allspice normally has less than 2.5% v.o., while Honduran Allspice normally has between 3.0 – 3.8% volatile oil.  The principal component of this oil is eugenol (60-75%).  The volatile oil gives Allspice its unique aroma and flavor, and as with other spices, the higher the volatile oil content, the stronger the flavor.  We are currently importing our Allspice primarily from Honduras due to the higher quality we have found there.  Our Allspice has been carefully selected by our overseas suppliers to eliminate excessive loose stems and to remove the berries with very long stems as well as foreign matter via sifting prior to packing. Having said that, it is not uncommon for Allspice berries to have some stems attached, more than with black or white pepper.

History:
In the 1570s, the Spanish explorer Hernandez, was in Tabasco, Mexico, when he came upon an Allspice tree. However, thinking it was a pepper plant, he named it Piper Tabasco, as "piper" was the Latin name for peppercorn plants. Around that same time, other Spanish adventurers exploring Jamaica came across Allspice trees. Like Hernandez, these explorers also mistakenly believed that the berries on the Allspice tree were black pepper. As a result, they named the trees Pimienta, which is the Spanish word for black pepper. Although the Europeans had not discovered allspice until the 1500s, the native people in the area where allspice trees grew had known about it for centuries. The Mayans and the Aztecs used it in the chocolate drink that they invented.

In 1601, almost one hundred years after the Europeans discovered allspice, it was exported to Europe. However, it was not until 1693 when a British botanist gave it the name Allspice. Many still refer to Allspice as "Pimento", the word originally used in Jamaica to describe this spice.

Commercial Uses:
Allspice is used in a variety of foods and in a multitude of seasoning blends and multi-color peppercorn blends. With its strong, unique flavor serves as a good compliment to any dishes typically seasoned with pepper, and in Scandinavia and Germany it is often used to season herring and fish marinades. It is used as a background flavor with other sweet spices in the baking industry for such as items as spice cakes and cookies. It is used in the processed meat industry, and allspice is used in the pickling spices for meat and fish. Additionally, allspice is used to flavor Caribbean and Jamaican foods.

Medicinal Uses:
Because of its warming effects, as well as its tannins that provide a mild local anesthetic, Allspice has often been used as a home remedy for arthritis. Additionally, it has been used in hot tea to relieve intestinal gas. It has been thought by some that Allspice is an aphrodisiac; those who were nervous would nibble on the berries, those who wanted to entice their partner, would serve food heavily seasoned with Allspice. [Stuckey, M., The Complete Spice Book. St. Martin's Press, New York, NY, 1997.]

Items Available:
  • 13440 Whole Allspice, Packed 50 lb Net Wt Sacks, Product of Honduras
  • 13450 Pure Ground Allspice, Packed 50 lb Net Wt Cartons, Ground/Packed in USA from 100% whole Honduran or Guatemalan Allspice
We offer Whole Allspice packed in 50 lb Net Wt Sacks (Item 13440), and Ground Allspice packed in 50 lb Net Wt Cartons (Item 13450).  Our Ground Allspice is sifted, ground and packed locally in New Jersey from 100% whole Honduran or Guatemalan Allspice berries, and we believe it is the highest quality of ground allspice to be found in the current market.

Product is available in our New Jersey warehouse. Please contact our Sales Department for product spec sheets and price quotes on an Ex-warehouse or Delivered basis. See Contact info below or on our Contact Page