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Allspice leaves are an elongated oval shape with a dark, sometimes dusty green color. The leaves are best used fresh as they lose much of their flavor when dried. Allspice leaves can be used when smoking meats, or to infuse stews, soups and sauces with the characteristic ‘allspice’ flavor, which includes notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, juniper and peppercorn. The wood may also be to impart flavor when smoking meats.
Allspice leaves are available year-round.
Allspice is traditionally found in the form or its dried berries, but the pungent leaves of the Pimenta dioica tree are also a useful culinary ingredient. They are often used as bay leaves in recipes, and are a prominent flavor in Caribbean cuisine, specifically Jamaican jerk seasoning. The name “allspice” was coined by the English around 1621, presumably because of the plants rich bouquet of aromas and flavors.