Ingredient of the Week: Pimento
When you’re not from the Caribbean and someone says pimento you’ll probably think of the red pepper stuffed in a cocktail olive. However, for Jamaicans pimento is what we call allspice. I don’t know why, but I tend to call the dried berries (which look similar to peppercorns) Pimento, and the ground spice Allspice. Well, they’re one and the same.
Pimento is one of the most important ingredients of Caribbean cuisine. You’ll come across it as an ingredient in several of my recipes, both savory and sweet. And, not only is it is used in jerk seasoning, the wood of the pimento tree is used to smoke jerk meats. (Check out my story about my visit to Scotchies where they use pimento wood in their jerk cooking.)
I love the aromatic flavour of pimento in baked goods like Easter Spice Bun. And, like most Jamaicans, I’m known to throw at least a teaspoon of pimento berries into the pot when I’m making my cornmeal porridge.
Now when you see “Pimento” in one of my ingredient lists you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. I suggest that the next time you see pimento/allspice berries in the store, make sure to pick some up. You’re going to need them if you plan to Cook Like a Jamaican!