Allspice is a famous Jamaican spice known for its unique flavour. It is the dried berry of an evergreen tree named Pimenta dioica, which belongs to the myrtle family. These berries are small, dark brown in appearance and have a size little larger than peppercorns. It is believed that allspice was discovered by Christopher Columbus on his voyage to Jamaica. It was first named "pimento", which is the Spanish word for pepper, by the explorers during the 16th century, as it resembled peppercorns. However, the English renamed it as allspice because it has a mixture of flavours like cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Allspice can be used whole or ground for culinary use.
It is best to buy whole allspice berries and crush or grind them when needed to get the best flavour. If buying ground allspice, it is best to purchase in small quantities as it loses flavour over time.
Excessive consumption of allspice can lead to nausea, vomiting, appetite loss, as well as stomach discomfort. It may also cause skin irritation or skin allergies on excessive usage.(2)
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