Inside the Spice Cabinet: Cloves

Inside the Spice Cabinet: Cloves

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Kelli Foster
Oct 1, 2016
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

The peppery clove-like aroma of allspice makes us think of warm gingerbread cookies and mulled wine, things we crave when the temperature starts to drop and we want to be warm inside and out. But this fragrant spice has a place in sweet and savory dishes alike, all year round.

What Is Allspice?

Taste: Warm, sweet
Most Popular Use: Baked goods, meat

Allspice comes from the dried berry of a tropical evergreen related to the myrtle tree and looks a lot like peppercorns. It was called allspice because it seemed to combine flavors and aromas from several different spices, namely clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon. In fact, allspice can be substituted for these spices and vice versa in a pinch!

You can find allspice as dark reddish-brown dried berries or as a ground powder. A few berries will infuse an entire braise or pot of rice with their warm, spicy flavor. We also like adding allspice to the brines for turkey, pork, and other meats for a more subtle flavor.

How To Use Allspice

Ground allspice is incredibly potent, so remember that a little goes a long way when using it in any dish. Try sprinkling a little onto roasted root vegetables and squashes or adding a half teaspoon or so to your next pot of chili. We also love it in desserts when we want more spiciness than sweetness - like gingerbread, carrot cake, and some dark chocolate desserts.

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