Pepper Hunter returns this week inquisitively for a peek at Pimentos. The lowly pimento’s mission in life is as a bright garnish in culinary use. The Sheepnose Pimento shape can either be expressed as resembling a spaceship of waxed mahogany floating in the ether or if you have ever seen the nose of a sheep, and not many of us have, their shape looks the like a sheep nose. The Sheepnose Pimento Pepper or cherry pepper is a large, heart shaped, modestly ribbed, red pepper. They have a thick wall which is easy to peel off with broiling and then your red beauties are ready to can!
Sheepnose Pimento is an heirloom pepper from the family of Nick Rini, named after the ovine proboscis. Sheepnose Pimento matures in seventy to eighty days from transplant. They are considered an early pepper, and they are, yea!
I grow my Sheepnose and Szentes peppers in containers on my deck so that I can frequently admire their beauty and blushing throughout the summer months.
According to Wikipedia, the flesh of the pimiento is sweet, succulent , and more aromatic than that of the red bell pepper. Some varieties of the pimiento type are hot, including the Floral Gem and Santa Fe Grande varieties, while the Sheepnose is a very sweet pepper. The fruits are typically used fresh or pickled. The pimiento has one of the Pimiento is originally a Spanish term that was added to English
Pimento vary around the world, in Portugal and Portuguese-speaking Africa and Asia, the word pimenta refers to peppercorns and chili peppers (also known as "piri-piri" or malagueta), while in Brazil, the word pimenta alone conveys chili (with malaguenta being a particularly hot, small variety). Pimenta-do-reino (i.e. [Portuguese] Kingdom's pepper) is used to refer to peppercorns. For those who do not like the heat you will be delighted to know that the pimento in English corresponds to a variety named in Brazil as "pimenta pitanga." Which has the lowest Scoville ratings of any chili pepper.
Growing the Sheepnose Pimento in the Swan Valley is easily accomplished as they grow fast, produce abundantly, and ripen quickly! All necessities to grow pimentos in the Rockies!
As mentioned I do grow my Sheepnose in containers so they need a consistent watering to make those delicious large fruits. I fertilize my peppers about every two weeks. The winds of summer pretty much keep the Sheepnose Pimento pest free.
Sheepnose Pimento plants rarely reach over 2 feet and most of mine are 1 foot but they are loaded with fruits. I could over-winter them but I reserved my over-wintering space for my super-hots which have a longer growing season. These are easy growers with not much fussing.
Traditionally one sees pimentos in green olives, cheese, and casseroles. I can my pimentos in small jars for easy use in casseroles and salads. I must say that fresh or frozen they are wonderful on pizzas and pastas. I love my pimentos much better than red bells that sometimes have that bitter taste. With the Sheepnose Pimento you experience a crisp, sweet taste sensation! This heirloom keeps well in the refrigerator for fresh eating.
The Sheepnose Pimento is getting rare so if you want to save your own seeds isolate some flowers to save seeds. I accomplish this by putting organza bags over the flowers that I want to save seeds from. That way you are ensured no cross over through bee pollination!
Plan to add Sheepnose peppers to your garden next year. I’ll bet you’ll never look back and you’ll never be sorry.
Some simple ways to use sweet red peppers:
• Chop and add to tuna salad or chicken salad
• Slice and pile on your pizza
• Saute and top off your hamburger
• Chop will other vegetables and put in a pita pockets
• Chop and add to rice (with other veggies if you wish)
• Chop and pile onto a baked potato
• Chop and add to pasta salad
• Slice and snack
• Makes an elegant hors d’oeuvre
• Make stuffed peppers
• Great with omelets
• Bruschetta – wonderful with roasted sweet red peppers