How to Grow Pimento Pepper, Chile, Trinidad Seasoning Pepper
Trinidad pimento peppers
Trinidad pimento peppers are also known as seasoning peppers. I would have to say that pepper is adored by Trinidadians and is easily the most popular cooking pepper in the country. Unfortunately it is little known outside of the Caribbean or places that have a large West Indian population. The flavor is really impossible to describe. When you cut it it smells like its going to be hot and I suppose it can be said to have the flavor of a hot pepper but without the heat if that makes sense. It is most definitely not a sweet tasting pepper like a bell pepper.
GROWING PEPPER SEEDS
1. where gloves
2.always wash your hands even after you take you gloves off
3.have some lime juice to dump on your hands if they are burning as its said to releave the burning
4.never rub any sensitive area like your eyes and so forth.
5.before you take your gloves off besure you are completely finished at what you are doing
6.some times double up on your gloves as the burn can still find its way in at times
Sow seeds indoors ¼" deep. Peppers germinate best in warm soil, so gentle bottom heat may be helpful until seedlings emerge. Wait to transplant outdoors until soil is warm.
Pepper varieties come from tropical humid regions. The temperature, moisture, and air circulation all play a role in growing plants from seeds. Too little heat, too much moisture, and lack of air circulation will cause poor results. Do not use jiffy peat pots, plugs, or potting soil as the soil becomes too dry or too wet, which can lead to disease and fungus. We have experienced disease and low germination when using these types of products. Use Organic Seed Starting Material for best germination results.
Peppers often like to take their sweet time germinating. They can be up in a week, and some will take almost a month. Even with paper towel germination testing, they can take long. I am not sure why, but it is a normal occurrence. So plan and make sure you start them early enough! Also, remember they like heat to germinate so make sure you have a heating mat or something to keep the soil warm. Placing them up on top of the fridge often works too since it is normally warmer up there.
Peppers, like tomatoes, grow in well-drained fertile soil. Almost all peppers have the same requirements for successful growth. Plant them in good, well-drained, fertile soil – and make sure they get lots of sunlight and a good inch of water per week. In many ways, they mimic the same requirements needed for growing great tomatoes.
Trinidadian Green Seasoning;
The foundation of cooking meat the Trinidadian way is all about the seasoning. All meat (beef, chicken pork and fish) is marinated in a seasoning mix of crushed herbs, onions, garlic and peppers. This blend of herbs and aromatics is called 'green seasoning'. It is incredibly versatile and is good in soups, stews, rice, and bean dishes. Many Trinidadians whip up a batch of this stuff on a weekly basis. The blend of seasoning is based on personal preference and varies across households.
Traditionally some or all of the following ingredients are used:
Celery - https://www.etsy.com/listing/170955652/celery-seedsutah-celery-seeds-open?ref=shop_home_active_3&ga_search_query=celery
There are three kinds of celery that are grown for cooking purposes.
Stalk celery is imported into this country from America and it is grown for its crunchy stalks which can be eaten raw. Leaf celery (pictured above) or Chinese celery is grown primarily for its leaves which are used as a herb. The stem is also edible raw but much more pungent than stalk celery. The stalks of leaf celery taste better cooked. This type of celery is a key ingredient in Trinidad green seasoning and both leaf and stalks are used.
Root Celery also called celeriac is grown for its bulbous root. It is not available in Trinidad.
The Trinidadian name for culantro (Eryngium foetidum) comes from french settlers to the island during colonial rule.Chardon béni which Trinis pronounce as shadow benny means blessed thistle. Although not the same plant it's appearance is somewhat remniscent of the blessed thistle plant (Cnicus benedictus) that is native to southern France.
Bhandhania is the other local name for culantro and it comes from the large East Indian descended population. Dhania comes from the Hindi word for coriander seed. It must be noted that culantro is not related to the coriander plant(Coriandrum sativum). Interestingly, both plants have the same smell and taste with culantro being the more intensely flavoured of the two. Use twice as much cilantro if substituting it for chardon béni in your recipe.
Across the Caribbean it is also known as Chardron benee (Dominica), coulante (Haiti), recao (Puerto Rico) and fit weedGuyana).
I expect that I might be the last remaining person who remembers that this was once called Portuguese thyme, so called because this is used in Garlic Pork (the local version of Carne de Vinagre e Alhos). Garlic Pork is a traditional Portuguese West-Indian Christmas dish. Over the years Trinidadians started calling this Spanish Thyme which is very confusing because there is another herb that is also called Spanish thyme.
I remember consulting my grandparents the very first time I made garlic pork. I have fond memories of my 2nd generation Portuguese grandparents guiding me through the process and instructing me that I was to use Portuguese thyme. It is also called by this name in the first locally published cookbook, Sylvia Hunt's cooking: Proud Legacy of our people. Whatever the correct name might be, I will continue calling this herb Portuguese thyme if only for sentimental reasons and remembrances of my grandparents.
So that there can be no confusion, its botanical name is Lippia micromera and it also goes by the name of False Oregano. In the United States it's called Mexican Oregano. Even thought it smells and tastes very similar to true oregano, the plant is actually more closely related to lemon verbana. The flavour is a little more intense than true oregano so a little goes a long way.
Spanish Thyme (Big Leaf Thyme)
The final variety of thyme that Trinidadians love to throw into this mix is Spanish Thyme (Plectranthus amboinicus). Yet another thyme that is not a thyme but we call it thyme anyway. Yikes! It's other local name is big leaf thyme because of its broad leaves. I don't often include this one in my green seasoning mix.
In Trinidad no distinction is made between Green onions or scallions and chives. They are all called chives (local pronunciation Sigh-ve ) and are used interchangeable in the making of green seasoning. My preference is for the slightly more onion flavour of the scallions for my marinade.
Some people will also use scotch bonnet peppers.
Before I begin, let me assure you that there are no standard amounts for this recipe. I usually judge if it is right by smell not taste. After awhile you will develop a sense of what is right for you.
Trinidad Green Seasoning
Yeild 9 ( approx 2 cups)
4 bunches leaf celery
2 bundles culantro ( or 4 bunches cilantro)
1 bundle Portuguese thyme - 12 stalks or so ( or substitute with oregano )
2 bundles French thyme
3 bundles of scallions (or chives)
10-12 Trinidad Pimento peppers ( substitute banana peppers)
2 leaves of big leaf thyme (optional)
1 head of garlic ( about 10 cloves)
1/8 - 1/4 cup water or *vinegar (*optional- this preserves the seasoning mix if it is to be kept in the fridge longer than a week)
Wash the herbs and de-seed the pimento peppers.
Rough chop all ingredients and put into a food processor or blender. Puree the herbs adding a small amount of water, vinegar or lime juice so that mixture can turn easily in the processor. The consistency should be that of a chunky pesto. Some people prefer a more watery blend it's up to you.
Green seasoning can also be frozen in an ice tray. You pop out a cube or two when needed. If freezing you can omit the vinegar. You will find that over time the colour darkens in the fridge. This is normal and it is perfectly fine.
At Planting Time:
We plant all of our peppers with a good shovel full of compost in the planting hole, and then give them a good dose of compost tea every few weeks for the first 6 weeks of growth. We also mulch around each of our pepper plants with a good 1 to 2″ thick layer of compost.
Growing Peppers in Containers
Peppers can be grown all year long in containers. It is suitable for apartment dwellers and gardeners who live in cool regions where the number of growing days are limited. Many pepper enthusiast grow peppers in pots so they can have fresh peppers all year long. It’s best to use 5 gallon containers so the roots do not get too over-crowded
Requires fertile soil in a well drained location in the garden. Apply much and grass clippings, or straw around base of plant.
Water well with soaker hoses during dry and hot spells.
Use RootBlast, Vegetable Alive, and Slow Release Fertilizer when transplanting outdoors. Apply Miracle Gro every two weeks.
Harvest hot peppers when they are fully mature using a garden scissor so you don't damage the plant. Pick peppers as they mature to encourage new buds to form.