- Premium quality whole allspice berries
The First Thing to Notice …
Allspice powder loses its potency very quickly. A 1.5 ounce jar of the powder would be suitable only for those who know they’ll use it up in a couple of weeks max. Obviously a whole pound of allspice berries is orders of magnitude for many home chefs also. Know thyself! At this price, it’s worth cultivating a taste for the stuff!
Allspice is the berry of a shrub, Pimenta dioica, a kind of myrtle. The berries look a lot like peppercorns but have a very different flavor. The shrub seems to have originated in the Caribbean, and accordingly allspice is a major ingredient in the spice melange of Caribbean cookery, especially Jamaican, included in virtually all barbeque sauces. It’s also used generously in some “Middle Eastern” cuisines. Oddly, it’s become a dessert spice in parts of Europe, an ingredient in “pumpkin pie” spice-mixes. In Sweden, allspice is associated with pork and veal; it’s an essential spice in Swedish meatballs. Commercial sausage-makers in Scandinavia and Germany normally use lots of allspice in their higher-quality sausages.
You can pound the berries easily enough in a mortar, but the simplest thing is to have a plain ‘dedicated’ pepper-grinder filled with allspice berries near your stove. One grinder for black pepper, one for cardamom, and one for allspice. Good to go!