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Tukey Brine, Substitute Ground Allspice for Allspice Berries?

  • z

I'm going to make the Good Eats Roast Turkey brine which calls for 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries. I have ground allspice and I am wondering if it would be fine to substitute ground for whole. I am guessing that 1 1/2 tsp whole = 1/2 tsp to 3/4 tsp ground.


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  1. You're probably fine, but don't be surprised if the allspice flavor is still stronger using ground. My assumption is that the berries will release less allspice flavor because of the surface area contact with the liquid of the brine will be far less than that of the granules of the ground product. If you found some conversion chart though, you'll probably be fine.

    1. I have exactly the same dilemna! Also making Alton's turkey, no allspice berries in the 'greater metropolitan' area.
      I read 5 berries equals 1 t ground. Now, how many berries in 1 1/2 t whole? Anyone know that?

      3 Replies
      1. re: brockly

        I found these two responses to this query. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-allsp...

        The first one suggests 10 to 12 berries is 1 tsp. The second says that they found that about 48 berries is 1 Tablespoon, so that would mean 16 berries is 1 tsp.

        So if you go with the low end of that range, 1 1/2 tsp whole allspice = 15 berries, and if 5 berries equals 1 tsp ground that would be 3 tsp ground allspice. That seems like an awful lot to me.
        I think that maybe you have to reduce the amount because ground spices are more pungent than whole and also the surface area factor that Gordeaux suggested.

        I've been looking through the comments on the Food Network site but have yet to find anything.

        1. re: Zusie

          See and I had 19 per tsp. They really range in size. I posted more details above (or below, or whatever).

        2. re: brockly

          OK, I just found this post from last year that sounds like it's asking about Alton's brine as well.

        3. Allspice berries can be found in spice section of Walmart called Jamaican Allspice berries

          1. Unless you live allspice I'd just leave them out. I think ground allspice would be a bit much.

            His recipe is more like a blueprint with a ratio. You can use and herbs or spices you like.

            1 Reply
            1. re: C. Hamster

              I agree about the blueprint. I was just responding to the query about the Allspice. I "Googled" it and found that the Jamaican Allspice berries were the same. That's for the purist cook :)

            2. that is the brine i use every year. when i am too lazy to get the whole allspice i use about a teaspoon of ground.
              and for what it is worth, i use cook's illustrated's gravy. mmmm.

              1. Oddly enough, I just went in there and measured it myself. I measured out 1 tsp allspice berries and I counted them. There were 19 berries (they weighed 2 grams). Now here is the weird part. I weighed 1 tsp of ground allspice and to my dismay, it weighed 2 grams.

                Using the FDA's weights and measurements, it says 1.9 grams per 1 tsp ground, so 2 grams if rounded.

                Now, I don't know where I got this measurement but I have that an average allspice berry weighs 0.07917 grams (my scale won't go that low). If I multiply that by 19 I get 1.5 grams. However, my 19 allspice berries were a range of sizes.

                So! According to mine there are two variances:
                1 tsp allspice berries = 1 tsp ground (I still can't believe that, but I even calibrated the scale).
                1 tsp allspice berries = 3/4 tsp ground


                1 Reply
                1. re: magnoliasouth

                  Yeah. Whole spices weigh the same as their ground versions. You do 1/1 substitution.

                2. Just go to WalMart and buy the Juniper Berries and forget all this stuff with the ground allspice!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: evartsy

                    Here's a funny thing. I don't live near a Walmart! Unbelievable right?!??!?! Going to try the ground allspice. 1st time trying the brine. Got a 22lb turkey and now my guests may not be coming due to a New England snow storm!!!! whoo hoo!

                  2. I found allspice berries at Metro made by Irresistables. Making Alton's Brine.