Jamaican Allspice or 'Eugenia pimenta ' is the spherical dried berry from the evergreen pimiento tree. Its name derives from the Spanish explorers who thought the dried berries resembled peppercorns and called them 'pimenta ' or pepper. While it is produced in many countries throughout the world Jamaica is the largest producer and is known for its premium quality due to a higher level of essential oils within the plant.
While it is its own unique individual spice it contains flavor notes reminiscent of cinnamon nutmeg and clove giving it the name 'allspice.' It is extremely versatile finding its way into sweet and savory cuisine through its varied notes. While Europeans and people of North America primarily use it for baking Caribbean cuisine finds it most useful in the common 'jerk' seasoning to balance out heat and add sweet earthy depth.
Jamaican Allspice is not only used for its culinary versatility but for treatment of digestive ailments. It is also known to improve appetite through its active amount of phenol eugenol a gentle numbing compound that was historically used by dentists. Its warming effects are also often used externally to relieve chest infections arthritis and flu symptoms.