Sunday, 10 June 2012

Allspice and All Things Nice

The pumpkin cupcakes I made yesterday has the perfect balance of spices. It had a combination of cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg (one of my favourite spices).

It was the first time ever that I used allspice and was curious about this beautiful spice.

Allspice (Pimento) is native to Central and South America, but is mostly associated with the West Indies island of Jamaica where they use it in meat dishes such as meat patties and as a jerk seasoning. This warming spice is also used in mulled wine, marinades, cookies and other baked goods.

(To those not familiar with south African cooking, we also have an equivalent to jerky called biltong, made with beef, venison and even ostrich meat. One of the things South African's try to smuggle through customs when going to visit family abroad - its that good.)

Allspice originates from the Pimento Tree (Jamaican Pepper Tree). The berries is harvested and dried just before the berries reach maturity (when they are mature they lose their flavour)

The name, Allspice, derives from its complexity of flavours being a combination of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg with a hint of peppercorn and juniper.

It has been used for centuries to aid indigestion, but also used in a liniment to sooth muscular aches and pains. Its essential oil is realise on its antiseptic properties, but is also good for depression, so the perfect spice to add to your baked goods if you want to chase the blues away!

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The Cupcake Alchemist