allspice


allspice
/awl"spuys'/, n.
1. the dried, unripe berries of an aromatic tropical American tree, Pimenta dioica, used whole or ground as a spice.
2. the tree itself. Also called pimento.
[1615-25; ALL + SPICE]

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Tropical evergreen tree (Pimenta dioica) of the myrtle family, native to the West Indies and Central America and valued for its berries, the source of a highly aromatic spice.

Allspice was so named because the flavour of the dried berry resembles a combination of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It is widely used in baking. The name is applied to several other aromatic shrubs as well, including Carolina allspice (Calycanthus floridus), Japanese allspice (Chimonanthus praecox), and wild allspice, or spicebush.

Allspice (Pimenta diocia)

J.E. Cruise

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 tropical evergreen tree (Pimenta diocia, formerly P. officinalis) of the myrtle family (Myrtaceae), native to the West Indies and Central America and valued for its berries, the source of a highly aromatic spice (spice and herb). Allspice was so named because the flavour of the dried berry resembles a combination of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It is widely used in baking and is usually present in mincemeat and mixed pickling spice. Early Spanish explorers, mistaking it for a type of pepper, called it pimenta, hence its botanical name and such terms as pimento and Jamaica pepper. The first record of its import to Europe is from 1601.

      The allspice tree attains a height of about 9 metres (30 feet). The fruits are picked before they are fully ripe and then dried in the sun. During drying the berries turn from green to a dull reddish brown. The nearly globular fruit, about 5 millimetres (0.2 inch) in diameter, contains two kidney-shaped, dark-brown seeds. Its flavour is aromatic and pungent. The essential oil content is about 4 1/2 percent for Jamaica allspice and about 2 1/2 percent for that of Central America; its principal component is eugenol.

      The name allspice is applied to several other aromatic shrubs as well, especially to one of the sweet shrubs, the Carolina allspice (Calycanthus floridus), a handsome flowering shrub native to the southeastern United States and often cultivated in England. Other allspices include: the Japanese allspice (Chimonanthus praecox), native to eastern Asia and planted as an ornamental in England and the United States; the wild allspice, or spicebush (Lindera benzoin), a shrub of eastern North America, with aromatic berries, reputed to have been used as a substitute for true allspice.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Allspice — Scientific classification Kingdom: Plantae (unranked) …   Wikipedia

  • Allspice — All spice , n. The berry of the pimento ({Eugenia pimenta}), a tree of the West Indies; a spice of a mildly pungent taste, and agreeably aromatic; Jamaica pepper; pimento. It has been supposed to combine the flavor of cinnamon, nutmegs, and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Allspice — (spr. Ahlspeis), so v.w. Nelkenpfeffer …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Allspice — (engl., spr. aolspaiß), in Amerika soviel wie Piment, Nelkenpfeffer; s. Pimenta …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • allspice — (n.) spice made from the berry of the Jamaican pimento, 1620s, from ALL (Cf. all) + SPICE (Cf. spice) (n.), so called because supposed to combine the flavour of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. [Weekley] …   Etymology dictionary

  • allspice — ► NOUN ▪ the dried aromatic fruit of a Caribbean tree, used as a culinary spice …   English terms dictionary

  • allspice — [ôl′spīs΄] n. 1. a West Indian tree (Pimenta dioica) of the myrtle family 2. its berry 3. the spice made from this berry: so called because its flavor seems to combine the tastes of several spices …   English World dictionary

  • allspice — noun Date: 1621 1. the berry of a West Indian tree (Pimenta dioica) of the myrtle family; also the allspice tree 2. a mildly pungent and aromatic spice prepared from dried allspice berries …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • allspice — all·spice ȯl .spīs n the berry of a West Indian tree of the genus Pimenta (P. dioica) of the myrtle family also the allspice tree …   Medical dictionary

  • allspice — [[t]ɔ͟ːlspaɪs[/t]] N UNCOUNT Allspice is a powder used as a spice in cooking, which is made from the berries of a tropical American tree. Syn: pimento …   English dictionary