Ingredient Spotlight: Pimento

Ingredient Spotlight: Pimento

What is pimento? I remember the first time I encountered a pimento berry. I was happily drinking my Jamaican style chicken soup when all of a sudden I bit into something. I took it out my mouth and realized it was a pimento berry. Now this lil sucker does some amazing things when left whole and can release controlled amounts of its flavor....but when left to release its full power, bad things happen. The flavour profile is nuanced, if cinnamon, nutmeg and clove had a baby (eh eh scyandal), it would be pimento. 
 
If you're not of Caribbean background you may not know this magical spice by the name pimento. Its more commonly known as allspice and though Caribbean people mostly use the berry (seed), its most popularly sold in powder form under the name ground allspice. Pimento grows all over Jamaica, the world's biggest producer of the spice. The round, pea-sized berries are popular in Jamaican cooking because of its depth of flavor. Its often used in savory cooking to flavor soups, stews and meats. In fact, Jamaica's famous jerk chicken is thanks to this mighty spice. The berries are used in the marinade and the chicken is grilled over pimento tree bark and leaves. This is the 'secret' behind authentic jerk chicken and is why, outside of Jamaica, you rarely get the same taste (some people buy imported pimento wood chips to recreate the flavor).
 
Pimento can also be used in sweet dishes such as cakes, puddings, porridge as well as exotic items like chocolate and tea. Make sure to try our Coconut Rum Pimento Tea for a unique way to experience this magical spice. And stay tuned, we've got a great recipe coming up soon!
 
Have you ever used pimento before? Any creative dishes to share? Let me know in the comments!

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