A pimiento (Spanish pronunciation: [piˈmjento]), pimento, or cherry pepper is a variety of large, red, heart-shaped chilli pepper (Capsicum annuum) that measures 7 – 10 cm (3 – 4 in) long and 5 to 7 cm (2 to 3 in) wide (medium, elongate).
The flesh of the pimiento is sweet, succulent, and more aromatic than that of the red capsicum (bell pepper). Some varieties of the pimiento type are hot, including the Floral Gem and Santa Fe Grande varieties. The fruits are typically used fresh or pickled. The pimiento has one of the lowest Scoville scale ratings of any chilli pepper.
“Sweet” (i.e., neither sour nor savoury) pimiento peppers are the familiar red stuffing found in prepared Spanish green olives. Originally, the pimiento was hand-cut into tiny pieces, then hand-stuffed into each olive to balance out the olive’s otherwise strong, salty flavour. Despite the popularity of the combination, this production method was very costly and time-intensive. In the industrial era, the cut pimiento was shot by a hydraulic pump into one end of each olive, simultaneously inserting the pimiento in the centre while ejecting the pit out the other end.
More recently, for ease of production, pimientos are often puréed then formed into tiny strips, with the help of a natural gum (such as sodium alginate or guar gum). This allows olive stuffing to be mechanized, speeding the process and lowering production costs.
- Red Capsicum can be used in place or as a substitute for fresh pimentos.
- You can also use Roasted Piquillo Peppers ( available at Coles or Woolworths)
A Word of Caution
Pimento may also refer to ALLSPICE