If you take a look at search engine analytics, you’ll see that thousands of people each year are asking Google what allspice actually is and what it’s made of. To the surprise of many, it’s not actually a blend of numerous different aromatics and spices, but the ground-up berries of a tree found in tropical parts of the Americas.
None of this will come as any surprise to connoisseurs of Mexican, Middle Eastern, or Caribbean cuisine, so we apologize for stating the obvious to many.
For those less well-acquainted with flavors, allspice is simply made by grinding the dried berries of Pimenta dioica, a tree native to Central America that can happily grow in most warm parts of the planet.
The spice goes by many names, including Jamaica pepper, myrtle pepper, or pimento.
Nowadays, it’s widely used in cuisines around the world, even many European foods from Swedish meatballs to Portuguese stews. In Polish, allspice is called ziele angielskie, translating from the term “English spice,” which is pretty strange considering the Brits are usually very opposed to flavoring their food.
The word allspice is thought to have been developed by early European colonizers arriving in the Americas who revered the spice for combining the flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove (some of their favorite flavors from the "Old World").
In other “how did people not know that?” news, it was recently exposed that many people on the internet don’t know what paprika is made out of. That’s right, there isn’t a paprika bush that's responsible for spicing up your goulash.