Also known as pimiento or cherry pepper, this variety of mild chile pepper is fleshy, aromatic and sweet. Red, heart-shaped and large, pimentos grow to about 3 to 4 inches long and 2 to 3 inches wide. They are often sold roasted and bottled, and they are most familiar as the stuffing found in green olives. Much of the pimento crop is also dried and used to make paprika.
Varieties and Buying Tips
Fresh pimentos may be found at specialty produce markets and some supermarkets from late summer to early fall. Pimentos are best when mature and deep scarlet red in color. They should be smooth, shiny and firm.
Canned and bottled pimentos (preserved in oil) are available at supermarkets year-round. Usually found in the condiment aisle, they are sold in halves, strips or pieces.
Place fresh pimentos in a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to two weeks. For canned or bottle pimentos, follow the label instructions. Some may recommend that you cover the peppers with a little water and vinegar and refrigerate after opening.
- Eat pimentos fresh off the plant—delicious!
- Stuff with cheese and serve as an appetizer.
- Chop and add to pasta, potato and green salads for bright color and flavor.
- Add to sandwiches made with Italian salamis and cheeses.