Frank Steen, age 13, of St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada, for his question:
WHERE DOES PIMENTO COME FROM?
Pimento is the popular name of a small evergreen tree of the myrtle family. A spice known as allspice or pimento comes from this tree. The name of the tree comes from pimienta, the Spanish word for peppercorn.
The pimento tree is native to the West Indies. Most commercial pimento spice comes from Jamaica.
The fleshy red condiment celled pimento is the fruit of the paprika plant and is a capsicum. It is used for stuffing green olives.
Pimento trees usually grow to heights of 20 to 30 feet. The fruit is a small berry that is black, glossy, sweet and juicy when ripe, and about the size of a black currant. The unripe berry is used for the spice of commerce.
Because it comes from Jamaica, pimento is sometimes known as Jamaica pepper.