Allspice is the name given to the dried ground fruits of the Pimenta dioica plant. A large quantity of allspice is produced in Jamaica. As such, the spice is known in some regions as Jamaica pepper, although Guatemala and Honduras are also large exporters of allspice.
Allspice is made by harvesting the unripe berries of the Pimenta dioica plant and allowing them to dry in the sun until they turn brown and take on a similar appearance to peppercorns. At this point, allspice is either sold as-is in its whole state or subjected to further processing, where it is ground and usually packaged in shaker bottles. Allspice has a flavor resembling a mixture of cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon and is used in a variety of foods including desserts, pies, sausages and smoked meats.
Whole allspice berries can also be ground at home using all-metal grinding machines, since the oils in allspice cloud plastic. A mixture of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg can be used as a substitute for allspice in most cases to create a similar flavor. Allspice is commonly used in Jamaican style chicken, pork and beef dishes in addition to pies, spice cakes, cookies, oatmeal and applesauce. Whole allspice is a common component of potpourri due to its aromatic qualities.