David Vanille's opinion: Peppery, round and warm. Ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg. Is that a pepper? Is it a pepper? It is above all a spice that will surprise you and invite you to travel! I love it! I love it!
Food pairing: Red meat, game, fish, mashed potatoes, soups, sauces, desserts
Packaging: 40 gr
Other names: Clove Pepper, Jamaican Pepper, Indian Wood, Bahari, All-Spice, Pimenta dioica, Allspices, Newspice, Amomi
Origin - Plantations: Mexico
Dosage: One to two pinches per plate.
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First of all, let's take a look at this spice that likes to cover various identities...
The Jamaican Pepper can also be called "Jamaican Pepper", or "Four Spices", or even "Allspices" in English (which means "All Spice" in French)....
But then, what about this spice?
The answer is in the question since it is neither a pepper nor a chilli... It is a spice
Jamaican Pepper is the fruit of the tree with the same name (its botanical name being Pimenta dioica) of the family Myrtaceae. This species, about 10 metres high, grows in the tropical regions of America and its fruits are the source of a spice called "four-spice" (we will see why a little further on). Its leaves have a strong clove smell.
Once the flowers of this magnificent tree wither, the berries appear. They are spherical, small in size, have a shade of brown (which reminds us of the small clay balls that we place at the bottom of our flowerpots) and then when they mature become red, each containing two darker coloured seeds. If you want to obtain the quintessence of their flavour, you must harvest the berries before the seeds ripen
This tree matures at around 15 years of age, and is then able to produce fruit for an average of 100 years (about 50 kg of fruit/tree).
After harvesting, the same drying process is applied to Jamaican Pepper berries as to other peppers (drying in the sun for about ten days, then cleaning and finally scrupulous sorting).
Once drying is complete, it is easier to understand why one of the names used by Jamaican Pepper is "Four Spices": these dried berries have delicious aromas reminiscent of ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon (a combination we all know and like to use in gingerbread making).
As for the leaf of this tree, it is used as a condiment, like a bay leaf. It is included in the list of ingredients of the West Indian black pudding, whose taste is sublimely enhanced by it.
Like most peppers, Jamaican Pepper can be used in its whole form, crushed or ground
In terms of aromatic palette, it has warm and spicy olfactory notes, which are reminiscent of cloves. Then scents of freshly grated nutmeg are recognized and subtly combined with empyreumatic notes. Then it is the turn of cinnamon, with a slight peppery touch, to enter this olfactory dance.
To close this ball of flavours, lemon and menthol notes (easily reminiscent of eucalyptus) bring a sweet freshness.
Jamaican Pepper is very fragrant, but not spicy, so it is important to be sparing in the use of this spice because it has a very powerful taste (and its role is to sublimate your dishes, not to smother them). It will suffice to dose it in the same way as your usual pepper, in order to spice up and sublimate your dishes by bringing them this particular aromatic blend.
If you want to get an idea of how it looks in your dishes, don't hesitate to take the time to taste it, by slipping a single grain under your teeth. Let this grain crack and spread all its flavours. You will gradually feel the release of each of the flavours of this spice. This is probably the best method to make sure you are not mistaken in the dosage of Jamaican Pepper
Just like Java Long Pepper, Jamaican Pepper supports long cooking times.
Jamaican Pepper being fragrant but not spicy, it can be served with all kinds of meats, sauces, or desserts.
Savoury recipes :
Use Jamaican Pepper on your red meats, game or fish (especially fatty fish such as herring, sardines, mackerel,...). Due to its resistance to long cooking times, you can use it as you wish in your stews, it will enhance your stews and other stews. You will also make it an excellent ingredient in your marinades, and, by correlation, it will sublimate all your meat pieces intended for a barbecue (moreover, it is a delicious marriage with the herbs of Provence!). It will prove to be very surprising on a grilled escalope of foie gras, just as much as it will bring a unique flavor to your curries!
Vegetables are not to be outdone since Jamaican Pepper will enhance the flavours of your autumn vegetables (especially in a pumpkin soup or pumpkin or sweet potato purée), but also your vegetable juices (carrot, tomato, beetroot juice,...)
It can be used in any dish in which the "Four Spices" would have its own.
Jamaican Pepper can also become your ally when, at the last minute, you become aware of a lack of flavour in your terrine or quiche: a very light sprinkling of this spice will relieve you of this worry!
Sweet recipes :
Jamaican Pepper is inherently versatile, so it will also lend itself to the game of desserts (whether in pastries, gingerbread, chocolate desserts, or fruit desserts).
What a pleasure to enjoy a fruit salad sprinkled with this pepper (or rather, this spice ;-)
In the compotes, it will be the tasty companion to your favourite fruits (of course, apple and pear will go perfectly with this spice with cinnamon notes).
Jamaica Pepper around the world:
In its country of origin, this spice is very widespread, especially in Jerk cuisine. Surprisingly, Jamaican Pepper is found in many dishes in the cuisines of Eastern European countries.
It will also be found in the original ketchup recipe: the Chinese version!
In chutneys, it will reveal its many aromatic notes by revealing its sweet and sour taste.
It is even the unexpected ingredient of two French alcoholic beverages: Benedictine (from Fécamp) and the famous Chartreuse (whose tradition comes from Isère).
With these many uses in various fields, it is conceivable that one of its names is the "all-spice"!
Compose your meal around Jamaican Pepper :
As a starter, why not prepare a delicious homemade Foie Gras with Tonka Bean and Jamaican Pepper?
To continue, we suggest you sublimate a Shoulder of lamb from milk candied lamb with apricots, in the Alain Ducasse way.
Finally, finish on a sweet note with an Apple Four Spice Cake (so you can easily replace it with Jamaican Pepper).
Jamaican Pepper is one of the few whose origin in history is not precisely known. Nevertheless, it can be said, without hesitation, that the Aztecs already used it, in particular by associating it with cocoa in order to soften its bitterness and develop the most complex flavours.
It was Christopher Columbus, during his second trip to the New World, who discovered the "all-spice" and his pepper name was given to him - probably out of ignorance of botany, but one can also suspect the financial interest, since pepper was a rare spice with an important monetary value - by Dr Diego Àlvarez Chanca.
It was not until the 16th century that "Indian wood" made its way into European and Mediterranean cuisine, like other spices.
Since then, it has been grown mainly in Jamaica, Central America and the Caribbean.
Not only is Jamaican Pepper the perfect ingredient for all types of dishes, it also has many health benefits.
Indeed, it has at the same time aperitif, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antineuralgic, expectorant, antiseptic and astringent properties.
It is also very effective in digestive facilitation.