Padrón Peppers: from Mexico to Es Torrent, passing through Galicia

One of the essential starters in the Es Torrent menu, and which often, at the request of customers, also serves as a garnish for certain fish, molluscs and seafood, are the famous Padrón Peppers. We import them from Galicia and, in general, they come to us soft, without great surprises in the form of spiciness.

The cultivation of this variety of pepper began in Coruña thanks to the seeds brought from the Mexican state of Tabasco by Franciscan monks, who on their return to the old continent found refuge in the convent of Herbón, within the municipality of Padrón (17th century).

At the end of the 18th century, the trade of this variety of peppers, both dried and ground, was already an important source of income for the area. The process of varietal selection and the agricultural practice of early harvesting began to be transmitted from the monks to the farmers in the area, creating a very specialized production system, to the point that the seeds were transmitted between generations through the dowry and never outside this region. Over the years, it would end up forming one of the most representative gastronomic products of Galicia and Spanish gastronomy, joining, due to its delicious taste, the menus of multiple establishments throughout the country.

At present, the authentic Padrón peppers are covered by the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) Pemento de Herbón, in homage to the village where the monastery where their cultivation began is located. The pepper species is called Capsicum annuun and its fruit is always harvested in an early immature state, being marketed fresh. It is recognized by the slightly light green color, a length of between 3.5 and 5.5 centimeters and a maximum diameter between 1.5 and 2 centimeters.

One of its most striking characteristics is that not all fruits have a spicy flavor, but it appears randomly, so it is usually said, in Galician, that “uns pican e outros non” (some are spicy and others not). The spiciness, however, is light, as producers make an effort to select the plants that provide the most intense fruits and eliminate them. Whether they are more or less spicy, in any case, depends on factors such as temperature, humidity, soil composition, the state of development of the fruit at the time of harvest… It is advisable, in any case, to enjoy them for their wonderful texture and flavor, although always with a piece of bread next to them just in case.

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