Christopher Columbus didn't only discover America, he discovered allspice, too…even if it was by accident! Supposedly, the Spanish explorer was searching for pepper in the Caribbean. He thought he'd found it when he happened upon allspice berries.

The pungent spice was named Jamaican pepper and later became known as allspice because it tastes like a blend of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Available whole or ground, this zesty dried berry can be used in both sweet and savory foods, from cakes and cookies to soups and stews. It also enhances ketchup, pickles and sausage.

Like other spices, allspice should be stored in a cool dry place for no longer than 1 year.

Spice up Your Next Meal with Allspice

Try adding its warm sweet flavor to bean soup, fruit compote, oatmeal cookies or beef stew. Or enjoy any one of these delicious recipes (all pictured above) shared by your fellow Taste of Home readers.

Spiced Pumpkin Bread is a pretty quick bread. "It's the only thing my kids will eat when they don't feel good," writes Tammy Neubauer from Ida Grove, Iowa.

Edna Hoffman, Hebron, Indiana, perks up a meal with this old-fashioned layer cake. Sour Cream Spice Cake is a dense cake that's rich in spices, while the frosting is fluffy and sweet.

Allspice adds a bit of a twist to typical barbecue meatballs in this recipe for Glazed Meatballs. Thanks to Nancy Horsburgh of Everett, Ontario for sharing her recipe.