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Cultivation of Allspice


Trees are planted about 10m (30 ft) apart, allowing room for a full canopy of fruit-bearing branches. Fruit starts to develop after about five years, and becomes full-bearing after twenty years.

It can be grown outdoors in the tropics and subtropics with normal garden soil and watering. Smaller plants can be killed by frost, although larger plants are more tolerant. It adapts well to container culture and can be kept as a houseplant or in a greenhouse. The plant has separate sexes, hence male and female plants must be kept in proximity in order to allow fruits to develop.

Allspice is most commonly sold as whole dried fruits or as a powder. Whole dried allspice will keep indefinitely when kept out of light in airtight jars. The whole fruits have a longer shelf-life than the powdered product and produce a more aromatic product when freshly ground before use. The ground spice loses flavour quickly.

Parts Used

The fruit is picked when it is green and unripe, traditionally they are then sun dried. When dry they are brown and look like large brown peppercorns. Unripe berries are harvested and sun dried until the seeds in them rattle. They vary in size between 4 to 7 mm (1/8 - 1/4 in) in diameter and are dark brown with wrinkled skins. The outer case contains two dark, hard kidney-shaped seeds. Allspice is available whole or ground.

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