One of the first records of allspice comes from the journal of Columbus’s first voyage in 1492. He gave the berries the botanical name of Pimenta, which is the Spanish word for pepper, because of its look. Allspice in taste, however, has a sweet-spiciness that more closely relates to a mix between cloves and cinnamon.
Allspice is most commonly grown in Jamaica, Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, and Southern Mexico. The berries are grown on the pimento tree, which can reach heights of 23-33ft. Jamaica takes its production of allspice so seriously in fact, that any breach of the ‘proper procedures for reaping and curing of pimento as written in the Agricultural Practices Act is punishable by fines or imprisonment.
Allspice works well in stews and rubs in combination with chili powder, cloves, coriander, garlic, and ginger. You will also find allspice called for in many sweet recipes such as for cakes and biscuits. Whole berries are also a great addition to mulling spices and brines for poultry and red meat, the most common of which being Corned Beef.