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January: Aleppo Pepper


Turkish Fries



  • 2 Medium Potatoes (Yukon Gold or Russet)

  • 1 Large Sweet Onion (Sliced)

  • 1 Tablespoon Butter or Olive Oil

  • 1 Tablespoon Aleppo Pepper

  • ½ Cup Canola Oil

  • 2 Green Onions (Sliced thin)

  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin

  • Salt & Pepper to taste



Peel potatoes and using a mandolin, or a knife, cut into French fry shape. Then, soak potatoes in salted water for at least 30 minutes. While the potatoes soak, slice the sweet onion and sauté in oil or butter with 1 Tablespoon of Aleppo Pepper. Cook until onion is caramelized (15 – 20 min.) In a heavy skillet, add ½ cup of canola oil. Heat oil to 325° F. Pat potatoes dry and then place them within the oil, fry until golden brown. Drain potatoes on a paper towel and place them in a serving bowl. Using tongs, toss potatoes with caramelized onion and Aleppo pepper mixture, sliced green onions, and salt and pepper to taste. Add 1 Teaspoon of Cumin, and serve.



Ranking at about 10,000 on the Scoville Scale, the Aleppo Pepper is associated with having a medium level of heat. The chilies originated in South America and the West Indies, and were among the “New World” crops brought to Europe in the 15th century by explorers like Christopher Columbus. Soon, they would spread across Europe to Syria, Turkey, and parts of the Ottoman Empire. The pepper is named after the city from which it originates within Syria. It was grown by Christian and Muslim Arab farmers, and traded along the Silk Road.


The process of making ground Aleppo pepper takes longer than other dried and crushed chilies. The pepper is cleaned by pieces of white cloth and then cut lengthwise on a single side to remove the seeds. The pepper is then placed on a rooftop to dry in the sun before it is finally processed. While some larger companies rely on thousands of families to produce the spice, most Aleppo Pepper production is done on the small-scale with family members and neighbors gathering to prepare the peppers.


In Arabic, the Aleppo red pepper is called ‘Baladi,’ meaning it “Belongs to my country.”

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Additional Recipes

February: Sumac

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Recipe: Sumac Chicken Skewers


  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed

  • ¼ cup Lemon Juice

  • 1 tbsp. Sumac

  • 1 tbsp. Olive Oil

  • 1.5 – 2 lbs. Chicken breast trimmed and cubed

  • Wooden Skewers (soaked to prevent burning) or Metal Skewers

Combine garlic, lemon juice, sumac, and oil in a large glass or ceramic bowl Add cubed chicken and mix to coat each piece with sumac sauce. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Thread chicken onto skewers. Use a grill, or grill pan on the stove to cook. Grill chicken for ten minutes turning the chicken after about five minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil. Allow the chicken to rest at least five minutes before serving.

Sumac, or Sumach, is any of the 35 species of flowering plants in the genus Rhus; it is also related to the cashew family. The plant grows in subtropical and temperate regions throughout the world, including East Asia, Africa, and The Mediterranean. Some species can be found in North America. The word Sumac traces its origins back to Old French (13th Century, Sumac), Medieval Latin (Sumach), Arabic (Summāq), and Syriac (Summāqa.) All of these terms translate to what we refer to today as the color red. Sumacs can be found on shrubs and small trees and can reach a height of up to ten meters. 

Sumac comes from the berries of certain decorative bushes and trees known as Staghorn Sumac that grow wild in the Middle East (as well as other locations.) The plant yields tangy red berries that can be used fresh or dried and ground into a powder.

In ancient Greece and Rome, sumac had multiple purposes. The plant contains a chemical, which assists in the softening of leather and used as a tanning agent. When sumac is ground and wet, it is used as dye for wool. The plant was used in alternative medicine for its believed antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Today, the spice is still used as an alternative medicine to help settle the stomach and relieve digestive issues. Sumac was used in cooking as a way of adding a citrus-like quality to food. For a long time, it was used in Europe to add tartness to dishes until Europeans gained access to lemons.


Additional Recipes

March: Urfa Biber Pepper

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Recipe: Turkish Urfa Kebab


  • 1 lb. Ground meat (Lamb / Beef)

  • ½ Yellow or Orange Bell Pepper (finely chopped)

  • 1 large tomato (finely chopped) 

  • 2 tbsp. Parsley (finely chopped)

  • 2 Cups yogurt (plain)

  • 2 Cloves of garlic (grated)

  • 1 Lemon

  • 1 tsp. Salt

  • ½ - 1 tsp Urfa Biber Pepper flakes

  • 1 tsp Oil for cooking + more for pan

  • Skewers (If wood, soak for 30 min prior to cooking)


Mix yogurt with 1-2 tbsps. Lemon juice, 1 tsp of Olive Oil, and a pinch of salt. In a large bowl, mix bell pepper, tomato, parsley, garlic, Urfa biber, and salt. Do not use a food processor for this part, you do not want a paste. Add meat and mix well for 5-10 minutes. Take about 2-3 tbsp. of meat, and wrap it around each skewer. In a pan, heat 2 tbsp. of oil over medium heat. Fry each kebab until crisp and cooked through (4-5 minutes per side.) Top with yogurt sauce. If you want, serve the kebab in bread (pita / lavash) or with rice.

Urfa Biber (commonly known as Urfa Pepper), is a Turkish chili pepper that is known for its dark brownish / red color, irregularly sized flakes, and salty-sweet-smoky flavor. The pepper comes from the Urfa region of Turkey. The peppers go through a two-part process in order to be properly harvested; they are dried in the sun during the day and wrapped up tightly at night. This process is called “sweating,” and works to infuse the dried flesh with the remaining moisture in the pepper. The Urfa pepper has a bit of kick to it. Coming in at 7,500 SHU on the Scoville scale (about the same heat as a Jalapeño pepper) while it grows, the pepper becomes spicier as it dries landing around 30,000 SHU on the scale (or about as hot as a Cayenne pepper).

The spice can be used in any dish where you would normally use black pepper. Most Turkish and Kurdish cuisines use chili peppers instead of black pepper.  You will most likely see Urfa Biber on meats, roasted vegetables, rice, and chickpeas. You can also sprinkle it over baba ghanoush or hummus for an extra-added kick. Not only is the spice used in main dishes, it can also be found in desserts. Urfa pairs nicely with chocolate desserts like brownies, hot chocolate, or even ice cream.

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Additional Recipes

April: Fenugreek

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Recipe: Brown Rice Pudding


  • 2 Cups Cooked Brown Rice

  • 3 Cups Milk

  • 2 Tablespoons Raisins

  • ¼ Cup Granulated Sugar

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • ½ tsp. each: Ground Nutmeg, Ground Cinnamon, and Ground Fenugreek Powder


Combine the cooked rice, milk, raisins, sugar, and cinnamon in a saucepan. Cook on medium-low heat until creamy and thick and the milk is almost absorbed. This process should take 15 – 20 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent the rice from sticking to the pan. Once cooked, turn off the heat. Mix in the ground nutmeg, fenugreek powder, and butter. Mix well. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve warm, or chill in a refrigerator for 2 hours and serve the dish chilled.


Historians believe that Fenugreek has been used for over 6,000 years due to remains of the herb being found in Tell Halal, Iraq. It was considered to be a medicinal drug and was used by the Ancient Egyptians. They thought it could treat burns and help induce childbirth. It was also used by the Romans as a soothing agent and to help cure infections such as fevers, respiratory issues, and intestinal issues. Also, during the first Jewish-Roman war, fenugreek was mixed with boiling oil to keep invaders from entering the city. You will often find fenugreek in dishes served at Rosh Hashanah due to the belief that it is symbolic for helping increase one’s blessings for the coming year.


Today you will see Fenugreek commonly used in food. The spice is very common in Indian dishes. The seeds of the plant are used in the preparation of pickles, curry powders, and pastes. You can find it used in chutneys, stews, spice rubs, and flatbreads. It is also an ingredient used in many Indian and Middle Eastern desserts. Fenugreek has a distinctive aroma that allows it to be used as a substitute for maple syrup or vanilla.


India is currently the world’s leading producer of Fenugreek, followed by Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Mediterranean, and Argentina.


Additional Recipes

May: Turmeric

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Recipe: Grilled Turmeric & Lime Chicken


  • 4 to 6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

  • ½ teaspoon chile powder

  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh or crushed dried rosemary leaves

  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic

  • Salt & pepper to taste if desired

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter


Preheat your grill or the broiler of your stove. Pour the oil into a mixing bowl. Add lime juice, chile powder, turmeric, rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir to blend well. Add the chicken to the marinade and coat each piece evenly. Place bowl to the side. (Note: if you wish to marinate the chicken longer, place back into the refrigerator until ready to cook.


Place the chicken on the grill or on the rack underneath the broiler. Cover grill / close broiler door. Cook about 6 -7 minutes and then turn the chicken over. Continue cooking until done, this should take an additional 3 - 5 minutes, possibly longer under the broiler depending on heat output. Take off the grill / out of the broiler and brush the tops with melted butter. Eat & Enjoy!


The use of turmeric dates back almost 4,000 years to the Vedic culture in India. There, it was used as a culinary spice and had additional religious significance as well. Historians estimate that it arrived in China by 700 AD, East Africa by 800 AD, West Africa by 1200 AD, and Jamaica / United States by the 18th century.

The botanical name is Curcuma longa. The plant reaches about three feet in height and produces both flowers and rhizomes (the golden yellow root you grind / eat.) While found throughout the tropics, the main producer is India.


Industries like medicine, cosmetics, and culinary find great use in Turmeric. In food, it is a main ingredient in curry powders, giving the dish its distinctive yellow color. Foods like cheese, butter, popcorn, and even yellow cakes use Turmeric as natural food dye. People will also rub Turmeric into the skin as a cosmetic application. Turmeric is used to help reduce the growth in facial hair, reduce acne, and improve the complexion of the skin. Curcuminoids also have potential in cosmeceuticals as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and skin lightening agents. Turmeric is used as an herbal medicine for rheumatoid arthritis, chronic anterior uveitis, conjunctivitis, skin cancer, small pox, chicken pox, wound healing, urinary tract infections, and liver ailments. It is also used in digestive disorders; reduce flatus, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, colic, abdominal pain, and distension.


Note: We do not endorse the use of turmeric as an alternative to traditional medical advice.


Additional Recipes

June: Rainbow Peppercorn

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Recipe: Rainbow Peppercorn Sauce


  • 1 TBSP – Olive Oil

  • 1 TBSP – Salted Butter

  • 1 Shallot, finely diced

  • 1 Cup Beef or Vegetable Stock

  • ½ Cup Heavy Cream

  • 2-3 TBSP Peppercorns Roughly Crushed


Heat a medium sized pan on medium heat. Add olive oil and butter to the pan. Once the butter is melted, add in the chopped shallot. Sauté until onion is soft and translucent. Add the stock and turn the heat up to high. Bring to a boil. Once the stock has reduced by ½, lower the heat and add the cream and crushed peppercorns. Stir to combine. Allow the sauce to simmer for 10 – 15 minutes making sure to stir every few minutes until it has thickened to a desired consistency. If the sauce is too thick, you may add a few more tablespoons of cream to thin it out. Remove from the heat once done and serve right away. It can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. This sauce is great when served with steak, chicken, hamburgers and more!


Three of the peppercorns you see come from the same plant. The green, black, and white peppercorns come from the Piper nigrum plant. Normally peppercorns are picked when they are green, these can be dried, pickled, canned, or frozen. If you briefly boil and dry the peppercorns, you get the common black peppercorn. If you then remove the husk from the black peppercorn, you get a white peppercorn.

The flavor of black peppercorns comes from the husk. White peppercorns are milder in flavor and have less heat. Green peppercorns are going to be the mildest and will have a more vegetal taste. These work best for steak sauces. Pink peppercorns come from a different plant. These berries are pink with a sweeter more floral taste and not nearly as hot as black pepper. You can use these colorful peppercorns in compound butters, vinaigrettes, and even frozen custard!


Additional Recipes

July: Kaffir Lime

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Recipe: Kaffir Lime Leaf Simple Syrup


  • 1 cup Water

  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar

  • 6 Kaffir Lime Leaves


In a small saucepan, add water, sugar, and lime leaves. Slowly bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let it cool to infuse properly (about 4 hours.) Strain into a glass bottle and store in the fridge until ready to use. This will keep fresh up to 10 days.


Kaffir lime, or, Makrut lime, is a citrus fruit native to tropical Southeast Asia. It's fruit and leaves are used in Southeast Asian cuisine and in essential oils used in perfumery. It's rind and crushed leaves release an intense citrus fragrance that will delight the senses.


Kaffir lime leaves are an aromatic Asian leaf most often used in Thai, Indonesian, and Cambodian recipes. They have a spiced-citrus flavor which is a lot lighter and zestier than a bay leaf or curry leaf. It is perfect for lifting a coconut-based broth or fragrant a fish curry.


The most likely etymology is through the Kaffirs, an ethnic group in Sri Lanka partly descended through Bantu slaves. The earliest known reference to Kaffir, previously known as “Caffre,” comes from an 1888 book titled, The Cultivated Oranges, Lemons, Etc. of India and Ceylon by Emanuel Bonavia.

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Additional Recipes

August: Lavender

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Lavender Simple Syrup


  • 3 tablespoons of lavender buds

  • 1 cup granulated sugar (can substitute coconut sugar)

  • 1 cup water


In a saucepan, combine the lavender buds and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then add the sugar. Lower the heat so it maintains a gentle boil, and continue to stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves. Lower the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the lavender buds to steep as the mixture cools. Taste the syrup after 15 minutes. If there is not enough flavor, allow the mixture to steep a little longer or until you reach your desired taste. Strain the liquid into a container and store in the refrigerator for 2 – 3 weeks.  


Common Name: Lavender
Scientific Name: Lavandula officinalis
Other Names: Common Lavender, True Lavender, Garden Lavender, Lavanda, Lavandula, Spikenard, Lavandula Angustifolia.


Lavender is an evergreen, perennial shrub that can grow 1 – 3 feet in height. It falls under the flowering plants of the mint family. The most widely cultivated species, Lavandula angustifolia, is the one that is often referred to as lavender. The name comes from the color of the flowers, which are a violet-blue in color, or lavender. Lavender is appreciated for its sweet fragrance and beauty. Lavender is native to the Mediterranean, Middle East, and India and has been used at least 2,500 years. The word lavender comes from the Latin word for “lavare,” meaning, “to wash.” Many ancient cultures used this herb in baths, beds, clothes, on their bodies, and in their hair. 


The ancient Egyptians used lavender during mummification. The Romans used lavender oils for bathing and cooking. The flower’s soothing characteristics, as well as the insect-repellent effects of the fragrance added to the value of the herb at the time. In Medieval and Renaissance Europe, the washing women were known as “lavenders.” They used lavender to scent drawers and dried the laundry on lavender bushes. 


There are many medical uses for lavender as well. The plant is grown for extraction of its oil from its flowers. The oil is gathered through a distillation process. The oil is used as a disinfectant, an antiseptic, an anti-inflammatory, and for aromatherapy. Lavender oil is said to soothe headaches, migraines, and motion sickness when applied to the temples. Lavender can be used as a sleep aid and to help induce relaxation. 


Lavender is a common ingredient in Herbs de Provence, an herb combination that captures the flavors of the south of France. Lavender will offer a wonderful, sweet flavor to salads, soups, and meat dishes. It is also a nice addition to certain sweet desserts and baked goods. Lavender can be used as a substitution for rosemary in most recipes.


Additional Recipes

September: Nigella Seed

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Coconut Rice with Nigella Seeds


  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Oil or Olive Oil

  • 4 Green Onions finely sliced

  • 2 Teaspoons of Black Nigella Seeds

  • 1 Can Unsweetened Coconut Milk

  • 1 & ¼ Cup Thai or Basmati Rice

  • 2 & ½ Cups Water

  • 1-Teaspoon Sea Salt Flakes OR ½ Teaspoon Table Salt

  • Juice of 1 Lime (to taste)


Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan that has a lid. Boil your water in a separate pan. Add the green onions and Nigella seeds to the heavy-bottomed pan and cook for a minute or so. Stir in the rice, letting it get covered with oil, and thoroughly mixed with the black-dotted green shreds. Pour the coconut milk and water into the rice mixture. Add in the salt and stir. Bring the mixture back to a boil, then turn down the heat, and put the lid on. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Fluff the rice with a fork as you add the lime juice to your liking.


Common Name: Black Nigella Seeds
Scientific Name: Nigella sativa
Additional Names: Black Cumin, Black Caraway, Kalonji


Nigella sativa is an annual flowering plant in the family Ranunculaceae, native to Eastern Europe (Bulgaria and Romania) and Western Asia (Cyprus, Turkey, Iran, Iraq), but naturalized over a much wider area including Europe, Asia, and Africa.


The plant grows 8'' – 11'' tall with divided, linear (but not thread like) leaves. The flowers are a delicate and usually colored pale blue or white with 5 – 10 petals. The fruit is a large and inflated capsule composed of three to seven untied follicles, each containing numerous seeds. These seeds are the spice we come to know as Black Nigella.


Archaeological evidence about the earliest cultivation of N. sativa dates back three millennia, with seeds found in several sites from ancient Egypt including Tutankhamen's tomb! The seeds themselves are slightly bitter in taste and are often used as a flavoring or spice in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines. Another common use for the seeds is to make black seed oil. Black seed oil is said to help rheumatoid arthritis, as a pain reliever, help to lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar in diabetic patients, and help prevent proliferation of cancer cells, boost the immune system, and help in the treatment of asthma and respiratory problems.


Additional Recipes

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October: Amchoor Powder

Tart and Spicy Indian Potatoes


  • 4 cups small potatoes cut into 4 pieces each

  • 3 TBSP Vegetable Oil

  • 1 tsp Turmeric

  • 1 tsp Amchoor

  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt

  • ½ tsp Ground Cumin

  • 1/3rd tsp Cayenne Pepper

  • 1 TBSP Fresh Lime or Lemon Juice

  • ¼ Cup Chopped Cilantro or Parsley chopped


In a large bowl, add potatoes, oil, turmeric, amchoor, salt, cumin, and cayenne. Mix well. Place the seasoned potatoes in an air fryer basket and cook at 400F for 15 minutes. You can also place your potatoes on a cookie sheet and put it in the oven at 425F for 20 – 25 minutes. After you take the potatoes out, sprinkle with fresh lemon or lime juice and chopped cilantro or parsley. Serve warm.


Dried and powdered Mango is used as a spice known as Amchoor. Am means mango, and chur or choor means powder. Mango powder is created by first sun-drying ripened green mangos and then grinding them into powder.

Mango is indigenous to India, Myanmar, and Malaysia and has been documented as one of the oldest cultivated fruits in the world. There is evidence of its cultivation going back over 4,000 years. With European Colonization starting around the 16th century, mango spread to different regions. You can now find mango growing throughout Africa and the Americas.


Amchoor is mainly used in Indian cooking, and it's in these applications where it seems most at home. It's a must for many okra curries and legume dishes, a common ingredient in chaat masalas, and a key flavor in chutneys, pickles, marinades, and complex, layered curries. But its uses don't stop there. You can try toasting nuts in a small amount of oil and some amchoor. Or add it to your next fruit salad. Its fruity flavor makes it a shoe-in for pork, and it's also a good rub for baked chicken or fish.

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November: White Pepper

Recipe: White Pepper Gravy


  • 4 TBSP. Butter

  • ¼ Cup All-Purpose Flour

  • ½ Cup Vegetable or any broth of your choice

  • 1 Cup Milk

  • ½ TBSP. Salt

  • 2 TBSP. White Pepper

  • 1 Bay Leaf


In a medium saucepan over medium to low heat, melt the butter. Once melted, add in the all-purpose flour and mix to combine. Slowly add in the broth while mixing until the lumps are no longer visible. Once the roux starts to thicken, add in the milk, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Lower the heat to low. Stir and simmer until the gravy thickens. Serve over biscuits or poultry!

History  & Uses

Scientific name: Piper nigrum

Family: Piperaceae

Spices: white pepper

White pepper was first discovered over 4000 years ago and has been cultivated since 1000 B.C.  The difference between white pepper and black pepper is that the fruit of the pepper plant is soaked in water after harvest, prior to it being left out to dry. This addition of water makes the pepper plant itself less spicy than traditional black pepper that we are used to using. 


White and black pepper instantly became something of value and was considered an acceptable form of payment in ancient times. The plants originated from the Wayanad plateau of Kerala in Southern India. Today, Vietnam is the world’s top producer of pepper, followed by Indonesia and India. 

White pepper is used in light colored European dishes like casseroles, pies, mayonnaise, cream-based soups, and white sauces. You can also found it used in instant noodles and snacks. In Indian cuisine, white pepper powder is used in white, cream-based gravies and curries. In addition to using it as a spice, white pepper is also used as a general digestive aid. It has been used to treat issues like vertigo and arthritis. In addition, white pepper is used as a diaphoretic (promotes sweating) and as a diuretic (promotes urination). Some people also use is as an essential oil in aromatherapy.


Additional Recipes

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December: Allspice

Recipe: Roasted Carrots with Allspice


  • 3 Lbs Carrots, cut on the diagonal into 2-inch chunks

  • 2-3 TBS extra-virgin olive oil

  • ½ to 1 tsp Fresh Ground Allspice

  • Salt and Pepper

  • 4 Large garlic cloves, minced

  • Peel of 2/3 to 1 whole lemon, rinsed & finely chopped


Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring 6 cups of water to boil. Boil carrots for 10 minutes until soft, but still have some firmness. Remove carrots from water. Toss carrots with olive oil. Mix the allspice, salt, and pepper into the carrots. Place on a baking sheet and roast 20 – 25 minutes stirring the vegetables up every 10 minutes or so. Once finished baking, remove from the oven and toss with the garlic and lemon peel. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot or at room temperature. Enjoy!

History  & Uses

Allspice is the dried, unripe berry of Pimenta dioica, an evergreen tree in the myrtle family. Christopher Columbus found the plant while he was exploring the Caribbean and brought it back to Spain. There, it got the name Pimenta, which is Spanish for pepper. After drying, the berries are small, dark brown balls just slightly larger than peppercorns. You may have also heard of allspice by another name, which could be Jamaican pepper, myrtle pepper, or pimento. The plant is native to the Greater Antilles, southern Mexico, and Central America. The word allspice first appeared in 1621 by the English who valued the spice for its combination of flavors like cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove.


Allspice is commonly found in Jamaican jerk seasoning and in Jamaican so14ups, stews, and curries. It has also used as a pickling spice, spiced tea mixes, in ketchup, pickles, and sausages! In the United States, allspice is most commonly associated with the winter holiday season and the warm spiced desserts that come with it! Allspice can be found in cakes, pies, and muffins too!


Additional Recipes

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