Monday, July 28

Good Eating Monday: Allspice

Greetings!  Today we went to the fitness center. I do Zumba. Hubby rides the exercise bike.
Then, once home, I did a some mowing, mostly under the picnic table, since hubby was available to help me move it out of the way, then replace it.
I refilled the hummingbird feeder with a commercial hummer food. They didn't seem to like my homemade--though I used the correct ratio of water to sugar. 
I have a cage suet feeder Ii'v filled with short pieces of yarn for the birds to use for nesting. Most of it happens to be red yarn. Interestingly, we saw a female hummer helping herself to some of that red yard recently! Really, she's the first taker I've seen interested in it.

Today's Good Eating topic is another spice: Allspice!
Allspice is often confused with Cloves, but that's because it also has the same eugenol oil in it.  Allspice contains more then 2 dozen compounds with healing qualities.In it's natural form, raw Allspice is a pimento berry about the size of a peppercorn. It's a new world spice first stumbled upon by Christopher Columbus in Jamaica and remains a leading industry crop there, though it's also grown in various other Central & South American countries.
It gets it's name, "Allspice," from the English, who thought it reminded them of a combo of spices: cinnamon, cloves & nutmeg.

Allspice's Health Benefits:
It's is loaded with antioxidants and can help fight the oxidative cell damage that can lead to cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's and other chronic health problems.
In studies, where concentrated amounts were used for study purpose, allspice has shown an ability to lower blood pressure and potential useful as a natural alternative treatment for menopause & osteoporosis.

How Allspice is Used:
Allspice is used everywhere. It's used commercially as a flavoring in lots of every day products: chewing gum, soft drinks, ketchup, barbecue sauce, pates, terrines, smoked fish and canned meats. It's also used as fragrance in cosmetics & deodorants. If the label on any of those products lists "spice" as an ingredient, it's Allspice.
Allspice is also the key ingredient in Jamaican "jerk"and in mulling spices & curries. 
Mexicans use it to spice chocolate, a custom that dates back to the Mayans. The Spanish use it in "escabeche," which is a fish dish. Morocccans use it in slow-cooked stews. In the Middle East, it's used in "kibbeh," a bulgur & chopped meat dish.
It's also used whole in pickled herring.

How to Buy Allspice:
It's readily available both ground and whole in the grocery store.
Whole does has a better shelf life, if you would like to grind it yourself as needed.
The already ground type is fine, though does lose it pungency over time, so you consider replacing at least yearly.

Ways to Use Allspice:
Really you can use it in and with about anything!
It's already in that "Pumpkin Pie Spice" and "Apple Pie Spice" you have in your cabinet! 
* Add a pinch to chocolate desserts to enrich the chocolate flavor; especially those that are less sweet.
* Add a 1/2 teaspoon full it to your next batch of muffins instead of cinnamon!
* Add it to any fruit pie
* Add it to lamb, seafood or any game meat.
* Add an big pinch to your barbecue sauce to deepen the flavor.
* Add it to rice pilaf or curries or Turkish style rice which includes raisins & pinenuts.
* Use it in any spice driven bakery good: gingerbreads, spice cookies, spice cake, banana bread, coffee cakes and fruit cake.
* Add a small pinch in your plain coffee grounds before brewing your coffee to flavor up your coffee! (Or a shake of pumpkin pie spice will work!)  
Eat up, me hearties, yo-ho!

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