Marjorie from Texas writes:
“What is the difference between Allspice and Mixed Spice?”
This is a good question Marjorie. Mixed spice is a sweet spice combination, usually containing cinnamon, nutmeg, maybe some cloves and maybe mace and allspice.
Allspice is also known as pimento. Pimento is also a name for the small red chilies, also called pimiento, that are commonly pickled and stuffed inside olives. So there is sometimes a confusion. Allspice berries (also known as pimento) are what we are talking of here.
Pimento is an essential ingredient of Jamaican cooking and the essential ingredient in jerk sauce (a spicy marinade). The wood was first used to smoke jerk in Jamaica to produce the characteristic flavour. Nowadays, the berries serve as a good substitute.
Dried pimento berries look like larger, browner versions of whole black pepper, but have a very different, unique flavour. Pimento is also a good home remedy for upset stomach in which case it is either chewed or crushed up and used to make tea. It is used in the preparation of bean dishes, not only because of its excellent flavour but because it is believed to reduce the flatulence caused by beans.
Pimento was discovered in Jamaica by Spanish explorers in 1509. The name originates from the Spanish ‘pimenta’(pepper or peppercorn). Most people call the tree ‘pimento’ and the berries ‘allspice’. Because the pimento berry has the flavour and aroma characteristic of cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper all combined in one spice, it is called allspice.
Pimento is used in sauces, pickling, cakes and curry powders.
Here’s loads more information…