What is Jamaican Pimento?
The Jamaican Pimento, also known in other parts of the English-speaking world as “Allspice”, is a dried unripe berry that is popular throughout the island for its culinary use. The pimento is indigenous to Jamaica and the Caribbean region and was referred to as allspice in other cultures because when crushed it shares the characteristic flavor of a number of spices, combined all into one. The pimento tree, which is now grown in many countries with a tropical climate, is a medium sized tree which normally grows from anywhere between 6 to 15 meters and has thin leaves with small white flowers when in bloom.
How to use Jamaican Pimento?
The pimento berries are picked when green and unripe but at the point where they will grow no further. The pimento berries are then allowed to be dried thoroughly by sunlight until they become shriveled and brown in colour. The berries may be used as whole or blended or crushed and added as spice to the desired meat or dish.The dried pimento berries are widely used in Jamaica as a seasoning for jerk chicken and pork, and also as an ingredient in packaged seasonings such as curry powder. In Jamaica, pimento is also used as a spice in soups, barbecue sauces, cakes and even alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
Health Benefits of Jamaican Pimento
Although used primary as a spice, the pimento has many positive health properties. Contained in the pimento are sufficient amounts of compounds like iron, potassium, magnesium and copper. The berry also contains the vitamins A, B-6 and C along with riboflavin, beta-carotene and niacin. The vitamin C present, along with the beta-carotene, serves as natural antioxidants, helping the body resist against infections and boosting the ability to suppress harmful free radicals. Pimento also contains an essential oil named eugenol which can also be harvested and used as a home remedy for sore muscles and arthritis. This essential oil, eugenol, is also used as a tonic for the nervous system to help treat exhaustion and mental fatigue.
Pimento is used for soothing the gastro-intestinal tract and also as a home remedy for diarrhea. The spice is also used to treat colic, flatulence and general belly aches while also serving as a natural appetite booster. The active chemicals in the spice help to boost the appetite and digestion by increase the rate of enzymes inside the stomach and intestines.
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