For those who enjoy fiery dishes, the experience of indulging in pimento is a familiar one.
This fiery pepper is one of America’s favorite spices!
But there’s more to pimento than just its unique flavor.
It’s also a versatile ingredient that can be used in many different dishes.
From chicken wings to salsa, pimento can add heat without overpowering your dish.
So, if you’re interested in cooking with pimento but don’t know where to start, keep reading.
We’ll tell you everything you need to know about pimento so you can enjoy it in all of your meals.
What is pimento?
Pimento is a member of the capsicum family.
Capsicums are fruits that grow on plants and have been used as seasoning since ancient times.
Pimento was originally from the West Indies, which explains why it has a Caribbean flair.
The fruit is red and hot.
If you put a piece of pimento under your tongue, it will make your mouth tingle! You might even see tears coming out of your eyes because of the spiciness.
What is in a pimento?
A pimento contains seeds and oil.
The seeds come from the inside of the fruit while the oil comes from the outer portion.
When you peel off the skin, you’ll notice that the fruit looks similar to bell pepper.
But when you cut through the flesh, you’ll find that it resembles a jalapeño.
The seeds are small and round, and they have a milder flavor than the flesh.
How is pimento made?
The pimento plant grows up to 12 feet tall, but most varieties only reach about 6 feet.
The stems are green and covered with thorns.
When the plant reaches maturity, it produces flowers that look like tiny purple bells.
Each flower has three stamens that produce the seeds.
The seeds ripen after about 10 days and fall to the ground, where they remain until they sprout into new plants.
What is the difference between pimento and other peppers?
There are several types of peppers in the capsicum family, including bell peppers, chile peppers, and cayenne peppers.
All of these peppers have seeds and oils, but they differ in size, shape, color, and flavor.
For example, bell peppers are usually smaller than pimentos.
They’re not as hot, either, which makes them easier to digest for people who aren’t accustomed to eating spicy foods.
Cayenne peppers are much hotter than pimentos, so they’re not recommended for those sensitive to heat.
Is pimento a spice?
No, pimento is an ingredient instead of a spice.
Spices are flavorful ingredients that enhance the taste of food.
Pimento isn’t a single type of spice — it’s actually a mixture of several different peppers.
Some of the peppers that go into making pimento include habanero, serrano, jalapeño, and Scotch bonnet.
How long does pimento last?
Pimento is very perishable.
Once it’s opened, the shelf life is only a few days.
Since it doesn’t freeze well, store it in the refrigerator.
How do you use pimento?
You can use pimento in any number of ways.
You can saute it in butter or olive oil, sprinkle it on top of salads, or mix it into sauces.
You can also grind it into a powder and use it as a seasoning.
Pimento works particularly well with seafood and poultry because it adds a nice kick to their bland flavors.
What are some recipes that use pimento?
You can use pimento in many different dishes.
One of the simplest things you can do is roast it.
Roast a whole pimento over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes.
Let it cool before peeling away the skin.
Then chop it up and toss it into your next salad.
Another good way to use pimento is to grill it.
Just brush it with olive oil and grill it over high heat for about 5 minutes on each side.
After you remove it from the grill, slice it open and stuff it with cheese.
Or, you could season it with salt, pepper, garlic, and lemon juice and serve it over pasta.
It’s great with shrimp too!
What are some substitutes for pimento?
If you’re out of pimentos, you can substitute another hot pepper such as jalapeño.
If you want something a little less spicy, try using a sweet pepper, such as bell pepper or cherry tomato.
However, if you’d rather skip the heat altogether, you can always use paprika instead.
Paprika is a common ingredient in Mexican, Spanish, and Italian cuisine.
It has a similar flavor to pimento, so it’s a good substitution.
Where can I find pimento?
Most grocery stores carry pimento in jars.
Look in the ethnic section of your local market or check online at Amazon.com.
- Capsaicinoid content: 1,000 milligrams/gram (mg)
- Total carotenoids: 0.9 mg
- Total vitamin A: 3.6 IU
- Beta-carotene: 0.7 mg
For more information on pimento, visit HowStuffWorks.com and Wikipedia.org.