a bit of botany
a bit of botanical information about allspice
whole allspice is the dried, unripe berries of a large evergreen tree of the Myrtaceae family, native to the Caribbean area. The leaves are large and leathery, about 8 inches long by 2 inches wide. The fruits are about 0.33 inch diameter, near globose, produced in clusters of a dozen or more at or near the terminals of branches. It is a drupe, with 1 or 2 seeds.
The spice derives its name from the Portuguese pimenta, Spanish pimiento = pepper, which was given it from its resemblance to peppercorns. It is commonly known as Allspice because it smells and tastes like a combination of cloves, juniper berries, cinnamon, and pepper.
Also known as:
pimento, jamaica pepper, pimienta, myrtle pepper, newspice, and pepper clover
habitat and range for allspicewhole allspice is indigenous to the West Indian Islands and South America, and extensively grown in Jamaica, where it flourishes best on limestone hills near the sea.
cultivation & harvesting
considerations for growing allspice
It can be grown outdoors in the tropics and subtropics, a houseplant in other regions. Can grow in full sun, but in the first few years of the plant’s life, partial shade is recommended.
Best grown in average or sandy loam soil that is well-draining.
Sow the seeds right after harvesting, spaced 1 inch apart. Seeds germinate in approximately 10 days. It adapts well to container culture and can be kept as a houseplant or in a greenhouse. The plant is dioecious, meaning plants are either male or female, hence male and female plants must be kept in proximity to allow fruit to develop.
The tree begins to fruit when three years old and is in full bearing after four years. The flowers appear in June, July and August and are quickly succeeded by the berries.
The special qualities of the fruit reside in the rind of the berries. It loses its aroma on ripening, owing to loss of volatile oil, and the berries are therefore collected as soon as they have attained their full size, in July and August, but while unripe and green. The fruit is harvested while immature, as it is then most strongly flavored.
Gathering is performed by breaking off the small twigs bearing the bunches; these are then spread out and exposed to the sun and air for some days, after which the stalks are removed and the berries are ready for packing into bags and casks for exportation.
The whole dried fruit is ground to produce the allspice powder of commerce. Both pulp and seeds are aromatic, and contain an oil with qualities similar to clove oil. Store the powder or oil in a cool, dry place.
the rest of the story
allspice history, folklore, literature & more
whole allspice and wellness
Allspice berries contain an oil that is the source of all its healing properties. Allspice oil is rich in the chemical eugenol, also found in clove and several other healing herbs. Eugenol may promote activity of digestive enzymes. Eugenol has also been found to be an effective pain reliever, lending credence to the Guatemalan practice of applying the crushed berries to painful muscles and joints.
Dentists use Eugenol as a local anesthetic for teeth and gums, and the chemical is an ingredient in the over-the-counter toothache remedies Numzident and Benzodent. Allspice oil may be applied directly to painful teeth and gums as first aid until professional care can be obtained.
Allspice is a mild antioxidant. Antioxidants help prevent the cell damage that scientists say eventually causes cancer. On the other hand, in laboratory tests, eugenol weakly promotes tumor growth. This makes allspice one of many healing herbs with both pro and anti cancer effects
1oz, 4oz, 8oz, 1lb