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Allspice, also called Jamaica pepper, Myrtle pepper, Pimento, or Newspice, is a spice which is the dried unripe fruit of the Pimenta dioica plant. The name "allspice" was coined by the English, who thought that combined the flavour of several spices, such as cloves, pepper and even cinnamon and nutmeg.
Allspice has a complex aroma, which is where it gets its name allspice from. It is an aromatic spice that tastes like a combination of cinnamon and cloves, but hotter and more peppery.
Allspice originated in Jamaica, and was probably first found by Spanish explorers in Jamaica near the beginning of the 16th century. It was slowly exported into Europe after that. It is still almost exclusively grown in Jamaica, although some other Central American countries do grow a little.
The common form is as the dried fruit and it can be easily found in this form as well as ground. Grinding the whole spice oneself provides the strongest flavour and the longest shelf life. Fresh leaves are also used, and these are often used for smoking meats where allspice is a local crop.
Allspice is one of the most important ingredients in Caribbean cooking. It is used in Caribbean jerk seasoning, in mole sauces, and in pickling; it can also be found in commercial sausage preparations and curry powders. Allspice is commonly used in Great Britain and appears in many dishes.