The World’s Most Misunderstood Spice: Allspice

Allspice is perhaps the most confused of the spices in the United States. Many people thing it is a mixture of spices, when in fact it is the dried unripe berry of the allspice tree. The flavor and fragrance
permeates the entire plant. You find it in the leaves and in fact in the Caribbean Islands, they use the leaves in cooking like we would use a bay leaf. The clove aroma is very pleasantly strong. The eugenol in the allspice has a very powerful anti-microbial property and is used as an antiseptic. In fact Napoleon’s troops would crush the allspice berries into their boots and let the eugenol kill bacteria and fungi to keep the booth from rotting out. Many of us know the aroma of Clove oil, because it also treats pain and is frequently used for babies that are cutting their first teeth. Columbus thought he had found pepper. In fact, he called the plant pimiento, which is Spanish for pepper and his mistake five hundred years ago are perpetrated on us even today because the scientific name of the allspice plant is pimienta dioica. Couple months ago are allspice plant here at the Botanic Garden produced fruit. We allowed those fruit to dry and looking just like pepper we have the allspice berries. The flavor and fragrance of allspice penetrates the entire plant. One a primary uses of allspice in North America is as one of the principal ingredients and ketchup. In fact in ketchup food processing plants they buy allspice by the ton. One of my favorite uses of allspice is as an ingredient in the mixture of spices that is sold as pumpkin spice and used to make one of my favorite all-American desserts, pumpkin pie. mmmmmmm…. great. And in fact, in the Caribbean islands where allspice is grown, they used the allspice leaves, just like we would use bay leaves here in North America.


  1. This is actually kind of upsetting as every time I've bought allspice it says the ingredients on the back are cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. So, I guess I've never actually had allspice. That's kinda messed up.

  2. I was so glad to see the visual aids . I don't think I would have understood what ketchup was without seeing it with my own eyes squirted onto that plate . Brilliant technical production . I assume he has an uproariously funny blooper/out-take collection as well..

  3. I believe that it was Russian (not Napoleonic) troops that put allspice in their boots during Napoleon's invasion of Russia.

  4. Got the information I needed. Allspice is a plant, not a mixture of spices. Thank you.
    This guy goes into even more interesting and helpful detail about Allspice:
    AND here's a video of the tree itself:

  5. Greetings! My Allspice tree has it's first berries …. I just noticed today. Do you have instructions on when to pick them and how to process the berries? Thanks in advance.

  6. we have this plant at home but we never use it .. coz we still prefer Garam Masala's aroma.. but if it's berry is good to prevent shoe smell then I think I'll start collecting the berries

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