Allspice get’s it’s Spanish name “pimienta gorda” from the Spaniard’s perception of what looked like a “large pepper berry”. In English, this incredible spice berry get’s it’s name from the variety of flavors combined into one.
Allspice tastes like ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg in one. There is a variety that we call “anizado” which has a distinct anis flavor as well.
Allspice is commonly used in pumpkin pie in the US as well as when preparing brisket and “tea” infusions. In Europe it is often used as a flavoring in sausages and prepared meat dishes as well as baked goods.
The berries are mostly harvested in forests made up of allspice trees in Honduras and Jamaica. The trees are as big as apple trees and can get quite tall like eucalyptus. A lasso is often used to harvest branches covered with the berries which are generally at the outer end of the branch. In some areas, netting or fabric is placed around the base of the tree and then branches are shaken so the berries fall in the netting. The berries are sorted and layers to dry in the sun.