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The English botanist, John Ray, named the Jamaican plant allspice because he thought it tasted like a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. The fruit is a pea-sized berry which is sun-dried to a reddish-brown color.

Versatile allspice is used in many dishes, including, seasonings, sauces, sausages, ketchup, jams, pumpkin pies, gravies, roasts, hams, baked goods, and teas.
Allspice is used throughout Caribbean, Mexican, Indian, English, and North American cooking in seasoning blends such as jerk seasoning and curry.

Most Allspice is produced in Jamaica, but countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico also produce allspice. Jamaican Allspice is considered superior because it has a higher oil content, better appearance and flavor. Jamaican Allspice has a more clove-like aroma while the Honduran and Guatemalan varieties have the milder bay-rum aroma.

The Mayan Indians used Allspice to embalm the bodies of important leaders.

Allspice is known as pepper because the berries resemble unripened peppercorns and was one of the spices Christopher Columbus discovered on the Caribbean Islands when he asked the native Indians if they harvested black pepper.