Saturday, September 13, 2008

Allspice or (Pimento)

Allspice or (Pimento)
Allspice, Pimento dioica (L.), is the dried fruit of an evergreen tree belonging to the Myrtle family. The tree is native to the West Indies, but is found in Mexico, Central America, and northern South America.

The berries are harvested just before they ripen because the ripened fruits lose much of their quantity.

The berries are dried by exposing them to the sun for a period of 7 – 12 days, the common name, allspice, originates from the fact that the berries have a flavor similar to the combined flavors of nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon. Most commercial allspice comes from Kingston Jamaica.

Allspice contains a volatile oil, resin, cellulose, pentosans, starch, pigments, etc. The starch granules are small, nearly circular, and uniform in size with central dotted hilum.

Allspice contains lumps of yellow brown, or resin, which is characteristics of this spice. The volatile oil constitutes 3 – 4.5% of allspice. The principal flavor component of the oil is eugenol, which makes up 60 – 75% of the oil.

Allspice is available both whole and ground. It is used for flavoring meats, gravies, sauces, relishes, pickles, preserves, puddings, cakes, and beverages. Ground allspice is a constituent of spice mixtures such as curry powder and pastry spice.

Adulterants reported in ground allspice include clove stems, nutshells, fruit stones, cereals and dried fruit products.
Allspice (Pimento)
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