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Pickled cherry peppers
A pimiento, pimento, or cherry pepper is a variety of large, red, heart-shaped chili pepper (Capsicum annuum) that measures 3 to 4 inches (7 to 10 cm) long and 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7 cm) wide (medium, elongate). The flesh of the pimiento is sweet, succulent, and more aromatic than that of the red bell pepper. Some varieties of the pimiento type are hot, including the Floral Gem and Santa Fe Grande varieties. Pimiento is a Spanish loanword. Pimento or pimentão are Portuguese words for "bell pepper," while pimenta refers to peppercorns and chili peppers are known as "piri piri" or "malagueta." It is typically used fresh, or pickled and jarred. The pimento has one of the lowest Scoville scale ratings of any chili pepper.
These sweet pimiento peppers are also the familiar red stuffing found in prepared Spanish green olives. The pimiento was originally hand cut into small pieces and hand stuffed in olives to complement the strong flavor of the olive; however, this method was very time intensive. In the industrial era, the cut pimiento was shot via hydraulic pump through the olive, getting rid of the pit in the process.
For ease of production, pimientos are sometimes puréed and formed with the help of a natural gum (such as sodium alginate or guar gum) into strips. This allows the olive stuffing to be completed by a machine, lowering the cost of production. However, guar (an annual legume mostly produced in India) may inadvertently make the olives less accessible to consumers with peanut allergies and legume allergies, as those individuals may have a reaction to the guar. This leaves sodium alginate as a more universal choice.
Pimientos are commonly used for making pimento cheese, affectionately known as "the Caviar of the South" in the Southern United States and the Philippines. It is also used for making pimento loaf, a type of processed sandwich meat.
- Webster's Dictionary of the English Language – Unabridged Encyclopedic Edition, Publishers International Press, New York, 1977.
- Patent description of stuffing manufacturing.
- Homemade Cheese Pimiento in a Philippine online recipe database
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