pepper heads for life

pimento pepper shu

Scoville Heat Rating : 100 – 500 SHU

The Pimento pepper, also known as the cherry pepper, is a species of chili pepper that originated in Spain. It is a rather large variety with a heart shape. At maturity, the Pimento pepper is bright red in color and measures up to four inches in length and about two to three inches in width. The pod has flesh that has a romantically sweet flavor. It is much sweeter than that of the mild red bell pepper. This fruit it very aromatic as well.

 

Uses of the Pepper

The Pimento Pepper is most commonly used in the production of pimento cheese and pimento loaf. Pimento cheese is a sandwich spread popular in the Philippines and the Southern part of the United States. Many olive packing companies stuff this sweet pepper in Spanish green olives for the retail market. Years ago, the Pimento pepper was cut by hand and stuffed by hand into the olives. This was a time consuming method. With industrial advancement, the method began to change. A hydraulic pump was used to send the cut Pimento inside the olive forcing the pit out. Currently, most factories use a machine to puree and form the Pimento and stuff it into the pepper. This increases the production of the olives as well as the cost effectiveness.

 

Low Amount of Pungency

The low amount of Capsaicin in the Pimento pepper dictates the mildness. Capsaicin is a chemical compound that is found in chili peppers. The compound is mostly present in the ribs and seeds of the pepper; however, it is also erratically spread over the entire inside of the pod. It is responsible for the amount of heat that the peppers have. High Performance Liquid Chromatography is used to measure the amount of Capsaicin in a pepper. This amount is what determines a peppers rating on the Scoville heat scale.

Each type is assigned an amount of Scoville Heat Units or SHU. The SHU is given in a range. A range is used because peppers of the same species can vary in pungency dependent upon the area and method of cultivation. The climate can also play a major role in this factor. The Scoville heat scale was first developed by a chemist named Wilbur Scoville in 1912. He also developed the first test for determining the heat level of a chili pepper.

Photo credit: choking sun / Foter / CC BY