Most of the spices you find in your cupboard are subject to
more testing and quality control than most other fresh food in your fridge.
It’s a bit of a paradox that something as commonplace as a kitchen spice has
such a massive history and requires such an in-depth knowledge in order to
produce the best.
If we look at all the bother people had to go through to get
allspice to our shores in the first place, it should inspire you to give it a
bit more use!
Spices were a huge commodity when the Columbus and Raleigh
were discovering new lands. Back in those days, spices could, and did, command
enormous value, with many being worth more than their weight in gold. So you
get an idea of how big a deal spices used to be, and how much trouble people went
through to get hold of them and learn about them.
One of the most exciting spices, when it was discovered, was
allspice. Verstegen has traded in allspice for a long time; in fact, it is one
of the first spices we dealt in. We source our allspice from Jamaica, where the
spice is native to. The fertile ground makes it perfect for growing the highest
quality allspice possible.
When it comes to selecting the best berries on offer, there
are extensive lists of criteria that need to be met. They need to be picked
before they are fully ripe, and before they begin to dry out. We also insist on
a similar berry size, with a regular colour, to ensure a consistent flavour.
After choosing the berries on looks, they are then analysed
through several laboratory tests which measures the content of their essential
oils as well as all other things important to Verstegen.
If all of these tests are passed, they will get their own