Online Encyclopedia

PIMENTO

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V21, Page 615 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PIMENTO, also called ALLSPICE (from a supposed combination of various flavours) and JAMAICA PEPPER, the dried immature fruit of Eugenia pimenta or Pimenta officinalis, an evergreen tree about 30 ft. high, belonging to the natural order Myrtaceae. It is indigenous in the West India Islands, growing on limestone hills near the sea, and is especially grown in Jamaica. The spice derives its name from the Portuguese pimenta, Spanish pimienta, pepper, which was given to it from its _resemblance to 21 pepper-corns. The berries are gathered in July and August, when of full size, but still unripe--the small branches bearing fruit being broken off and dried in the sun and air for some days, when the stalks are removed and the berries are ready for packing. These owe their aromatic properties to an essential oil present to the extent of 3 to 41% and consisting largely of eugenol or allyl guaiacol, HO(CH3O)C6H3•C3H5. The chief use of pimento is as a spice. The oil, the action of which resembles that of cloves, is occasionally used in medicine, and is also employed in perfuming soaps. The " bay rum " used as a toilet article is a tincture scented with the oil of the leaves of an allied species, Pimenta acris, commonly known as the bayberry tree.
End of Article: PIMENTO
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