Allspice is a dried berry. It was brought to Spain from the Caribbean by Christopher Columbus. He was looking for pepper and thought allspice was it and named it "pimienta," the Spanish word for pepper. The English name allspice was given because it was thought to have the aroma of many different spices. Most allspice is produced in Jamaica, but can also be found in some Central American countries.
Allspice is a dried berry. It is very important in many cuisines around the world including Caribbean and Middle Eastern foods. In the west, it is usually used in desserts, but is also a main ingredient in barbecue sauce and chili and an important spice for making sausage. It is also the main ingredient in Jerk seasoning. It can be used as a marinade, mulling spices, stews, cakes, puddings, and ice cream.
Allspice can be purchased whole or ground. You can grind your own in a coffee grinder. The ground spice loses it's flavor quickly. Ground spices should only be stored for 6 months in airtight containers away from light. Whole spices can be kept for two years in airtight containers stored away from light.
Medicinally, allspice is used to aid in digestion. It is also used to help with sore muscles and arthritis pain, when used on the skin it makes it feel warmer. Allspice has also been used as a deodorant. Mayans used it for centuries to embalm bodies of important people.