Allspice is one of my favorite spice flavors. Or should I say aroma, because I love to smell the crushed leaves. I have my own little tree growing on the homestead, so I have the chance to sniff it anytime I am in the mood....which is frequently.
The commercial spice is made from the fruits, a small hard berry sort of thing. But my little tree hasn't bloomed yet, thus no fruits. But that doesn't keep me from using allspice in cooking. The fresh leaves are just fine for cooking.
The leaves are tough and shiny, somewhat like bay leaves. I will pick one fresh and drop it into a stew, soup, or sauce just like I would a bay leaf. Once things are cooked, I'll just fish it out.
As an experiment I tried making allspice extract. I soaked númerous fresh leaves in vodka for a month. The extract turned out a success. Why make extract with the extra leaves? First, it was fun to experiment. Second, dried leaves lose their flavor. I find using the extract during times when I don't have extra leaves.....or when it's raining and I'm too much of a wuss to walk down to the tree in the rain, works ok.
I purchased my young tree from a nursery, but I've been told that they can be found growing wild in some places in Hawaii. Interesting.