Allspice is an evergreen and can sometimes appear as a small, scrubby tree or as a tall, canopy tree as high as 10-18m (32-60ft). The plant is dioecious, meaning plants are either male or female, so these must be grown close by to allow fruit to develop.

allspice maria

Allspice so favoured by cooks around the world, refers to the dried unripe fruit that are picked when green and, traditionally, dried in the sun. The dry fruit are brown and look like large brown peppercorns. Dry allspice has a longer shelf life and unleashes more flavour than ready ground allspice powder. The spice’s name was used as early as 1621 by the English, who thought that its flavours combined that of nutmeg, clove and cinnamon.


The spice is used in a number of traditional remedies spanning India and the West Indies. In the Ayurvedic tradition, allspice is used to freshen breath and relieve toothaches. While in Jamaican folk medicine, allspice is made into an all purpose tea to battle colds, menstrual cramps and stomach complaints.

Jerk chicken uses Allspice as part of the ingredients. Source: