Red Chinese Mulberries
The Red Chinese mulberry tree is a broad, spreading bush or small tree dotted with small thorns. Like its mulberry relatives, the fruits are technically not a berries but rather aggregates of tiny fleshy drupes clustered around a single stem
Monterrey pears are a large variety from northern Mexico, botanically a cultivar of Pyrus pyrifolia. The Asian pear hybrid was selected from the tree of a popular southern Texas variety. Monterrey pears are a cross of European pear and a Japanese pear.
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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 plant's rich bouquet of aromas and flavors.
Allspice leaves contain Eugenol, a natural antiseptic and a digestive aid.
Allspice leaves are used in Caribbean cuisine in stews, and for smoking meats. They can be used in Jamaican jerk seasoning. Allspice oil can be extracted from the Allspice berry as well as the leaf, to be used in moouthwashes and toothpaste. Allspice leaf is also used as a commercial flavouring.
Allspice was used by the Mayans and the Aztecs to spice drinks, and also as an embalming agent. Allspice has been used in traditional medicines as a digestive aid, and as an ingredient in natural mouthwashes. Allspice leaves, also known as West Indian Bay Leaves, are an essential part of Caribbean cuisine. The only Asian region known to use Allspice leaves is Southern India, where the leaves appear as a substitute for bay leaves in the rice dish, biriyani. Allspice leaf oil is used as a flavouring agent in processed foods such as meats, candy, and chewing gum.
The slow-growing Allspice tree thrives in warm climates and is found almost exclusively in the Western Hemisphere. Allspice is native to the Central and South America. The Allspice tree is not easily cultivated, and attempts to grow fruit-bearing Allspice trees in areas such as India and Sri Lanka have historically been unsuccessful. Allspice grows most abundantly in Jamaica and was discovered by the Spanish in the 1500s. In the 1800s, the wood of the Allspice tree became popular in Britain and the United States, where it was used for umbrellas and walking sticks - a trade which almost ruined the Jamaican Allspice trade and so for a time, Allspice was guarded against export. Jamaica today remains the largest exporter of high-grade Allspice, although it is now grown commercially in Mexico, Honduras, Trinidad and Cuba.