What Is A Pimiento? Everything You Need to Know

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Spain is a Mediterranean country and, as such, it is well-known for its incredible diet and its wide range of delicious dishes and ingredients. There are plenty of fresh greens too, making the food pretty healthy, without losing its taste.

One of the foods you will find pretty often when visiting Spain, within different menus, dishes, and appetizers are pimientos.

In Spanish, the word pimiento literally translates as “pepper” and, in this case, pimientos refer to a specific type of pepper that is very common in Spain.

It is used in many meals and is also often used in tapas. Plus, there are a few varieties of the pimiento pepper, to keep things interesting.

But what exactly is a pimiento pepper and what does it taste like? How do they use it in Spain?

Don’t worry, we’re going to tell you absolutely everything that you need to know about pimiento peppers and why they are such a big deal in Spain! Let’s get right into it!


What Is A Pimiento Pepper?

A pimiento pepper is a type of pepper from the chili pepper family. It is sweet in flavor and has one of the lowest Scoville scale ratings, so it isn’t very hot at all!

The pimiento pepper is sometimes also called the cherry pepper and it is bright red in color, shaped like a small heart.

Usually, it will measure between 3 to 4 inches in length and is 2 to 3 inches wide. It will also have a thick green stem.

That being said, there are many varieties of pimiento pepper, with some yellow, green, and maroon. It is also common for them to be green while immature and red when finally mature.

Pimiento peppers are also known for their aromatic properties, which are stronger than red bell peppers. Some of the varieties can also be quite hot, although as we said, the standard pimiento pepper is not very hot at all.

As for their use, pimientos are consumed both fresh and pickled. They are also used as a ground mix of paprika, especially in some regions of Spain and throughout the United States and Mexico border.

One very famous variety of pimiento, is the pimento de padron (a very popular dish to serve alongside paella). This is a pimiento native to the municipality of Padron, in Galicia, located in the northwest of Spain. This variety is typically green and longer in shape, although it can also be red.

The reason for its popularity is that most Padron pimientos are mild in flavor and not very hot at all, but some are!

So when these pimientos are served, there is a saying that goes “Padron peppers, some are hot and some are not) and those eating them take turns to see who ends up with a hot one!

They also make for a delicious tapa or appetizer, fried in olive oil and then served with a sprinkle of salt.

How Hot Is The Pimiento Pepper?

We’ve already mentioned that the pimiento pepper is pretty mild, especially compared to other types of pepper.

That being said, some people really can’t handle spice at all, so you might want to know exactly how hot it is before you give it a try. Which is more than fair!

According to the Scoville Scale (which is the standard for measuring the heat and spiciness of peppers), pimiento peppers measure between 500 and 1000 Scoville Units.

This is really low, especially if you take into account that peppers such as the jalapeno, measure between 2500 and 8000 and are considered to be one of the milder ones too.

Basically, the hottest possible pimiento pepper would still be around five times milder than a normal jalapeno pepper. So if you can handle jalapeno peppers, you can more than handle pimientos.

What Does A Pimiento Pepper Taste Like?

We’ve established that the pimiento pepper is really mild and really not that hot at all. (Unless you choose to try a hotter variety of pimiento, of course!)

But what about the flavor? After all, not everyone likes them, so you might want to know beforehand what they taste like, before taking a full bite.

As a general rule, pimiento peppers are pretty sweet and, as we’ve been mentioning, pretty mild.

Most people love them and they tend to be a favorite amongst types of pepper, because they have a nice aromatic touch and add that peppery sweetness, without being overwhelming in any way, since they’re not hot enough.

It’s why they are often added as a side dish, or as an easy appetizer to meals, especially in Spain. They’re a little extra bit of flavor that compliments most foods.

And of course, they are very popular as an ingredient used to make sauces, dips, and spice mixes. In Spain especially, they are often used as an ingredient within cheese creams, as they add that extra little tang to the flavor!

How To Buy and Store Pimiento Peppers

If you decide that pimientos are something you want to try within your meals and recipes and you want to get some, you can easily find them at most grocery stores.

In Spain, at the very least, they can easily be found everywhere. Most often they will be sold in a jar, in the same aisle as olives and pickles.

That being said, you could always try and grow some yourself at home! They do best when grown outdoors, so you do need nice weather with plenty of sun.

But if you have the space and the right conditions, you might as well try planting some! They can be harvested late in the summer, or at the beginning of fall, and will be delicious!

Final Thoughts

To sum it all up, a pimiento is a type of pepper, typical in Spain. It is small and red, although there are other varieties that come in different colors.

It is sweet in taste and is also one of the mildest peppers, as it really isn’t hot at all. It can be eaten fresh or pickled and is also often used in paprika mixes, as well as in sauces and creams.


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