Package of Practices for Cultivation of Pimenta
Allspice (Pimenta dioicd) (L) Morr):
The allspice of commerce is the dried immature fruits of the tree Pimenta dioica. It is sindigenous to West Indies, Jamaica is the main producer of allspice; Its flavour is said to resemble a blend of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. There are a few trees available in the Mahendragiri hills of Nagercoil area, Ambalavayal in Kerala and Kallar and burliar of the Nilgiris.
It is a small evergreen tree, flowers are white and branch trichotomously in the axils of upper leaves. Flowers are structurally hermaphrodite but functionally dioecious. Stamens numerous, above 100 in barren trees and 50 in bearing ones. It flowers during March-June and matures in 3 to 4 months after flowering. Fruit is a two seeded berry. – Male trees flower earlier.
It is raised through seeds. The seeds.can be stored as ripe berries after collection without extracting seeds upto three weeks. But viability gets reduced slowly after a period of 3 weeks and is lost completely after nine weeks. The seeds are sown in.raised beds of 15 to 20 cm high, one metre width and convenient length. The beds may be made of loose soil sand mixture having sand in the top layer. The seeds germinate in 15 days and continue up to 40 to 45 days. The seedlings can be transferred to bags 3 weeks after their mergence above ground level. Six months old seedlings are planted at a spacing of 6 m either way. There is no manorial scheduler available for allspice and hence the schedule recommended for clove can be followed for this. Plants start flowering when they are 7 to 10 years old, but the peak harvest is obtained from 15 to 20 years.
Harvesting and Processing :
The berries are harvested when fully grown, but still green. They are sun dried and are frequently turned down with ladles. The process of curing lasts 3 to 12 days, till the berries are completely dried. Curing is complete when the berries become crisp and produce a metallic sound if shaken. A tree yields 50 to ‘; 60 kg of dry berries.
The pimento berry oil is distilled commercially in Jamaica. The oil yield from berries varies from 3.3 to 4.3 per cent and its eugenol content is 65 to 66 percent.
The Pimento leaf oil is also distilled only in. Jamaica from the leaves removed during the harvesting of: the berries. Oil yield from dried leaves ranges from 0.7 to 2.9 per cent while fresh leaves yield 0.35.to 1.25 per cent.- It is a flavouring agent in culinary preparations like soups, sauces, ketchups, pickles, meat, curry powder and in bakery items. In liquor industry also, it is used as a favourite ingredient.