Fruit of the Capsicum Annuum L. pepper plant, of the Bierzo ecotype, exclusively Extra or Primera commercial categories, which are presented roasted, peeled and packaged.
Its initial taste is slightly bitter, with a mid-low aftertaste and slightly hot flavor. The product has a texture that is not very firm, and the aroma is typical of smoked, roasted pepper.
The peppers have an elongated triangular shape, with smooth sides, three or four lobes, a blunt end with no cleft, a slightly cracked surface and a color that ranges from pale to dark red. The liquid which accompanies the peppers is not very thick. As far as their physical and chemical characteristics are concerned, the percentage of hydrocarbons must be lower than 5%, and the percentage of fiber less than 3%.
The pepper is planted at the beginning of May, and is harvested from the end of August until the start of November. It is cultivated in plots with soil displaying a loamy texture and a pH of between four and seven, where irrigation is carried out per row or in a more localized manner, ensuring that the base of the stalk remains clear of the water.
Harvesting is a manual, staggered task, and takes place in various steps, selecting the peppers only when they display perfect characteristics: a color between pale and dark red, with no green areas, tight and shiny skin with no ruggedness or soft areas, a weight exceeding 160 g (5.64 oz), more than ten cm (3.9 in long), a width of over six cm (2.4 in), with firm flesh that is less than eight mm (0.3 in) thick and remains undamaged under manual pressure. Transport to the production plant is carried out in stackable packaging, which is suitably aerated and protected from the sunlight so that the quality of the pepper does not deteriorate.
Depending on the schedule followed by the production plant, the peppers are either immediately processed, stored or moved to preservation rooms. No more than five days may pass between harvest and roasting, a period which may be extended to ten days if the peppers are moved to a preservation room immediately upon receipt. When stored, the peppers must be protected from humidity and direct sunlight, and the necessary stock rotation and movement are also carried out.
Roasting is conducted in the traditional manner, either under a grill or in an oven. Firewood (holm oak, oak, poplar or chestnut), propane or natural gas are used as the fuel for this process. The time and temperature for the roasting process depends on both the type of oven used and the degree of ripeness of the product being roasted. Once the pepper has been roasted, it is cored, peeled and its seeds are removed. This is done in a traditional, manual manner, and the pepper must never be submerged in water or chemical solutions.
The liquid that accompanies the pepper once canned is its own juice, which is released once the pepper is roasted. The pepper may also be enhanced with salt, olive or seed oil, citric acid or lemon juice, without this affecting its aroma and smoky aftertaste that arise as a result of the traditional roasting.
The roasting, coring and peeling processes, all manual and without the use of chemical solutions (not even water), mean that certain charred areas and seeds may remain. For each 100 g (3.52 oz) of pepper, up to 1.5 cm2 (0.6 in2) of charred flesh and up to ten seeds are allowed.
The product is packaged in metal or glass containers, with a maximum net weight of 780 g (27.51 oz) of pepper, whether whole or sliced. According to prevailing legislation, when whole, the peppers must be of the Extra or Primera category, and when they are sliced, they can only belong to the Primera category.
Once they have been packaged the peppers are subjected to heat sterilization, in order to preserve them.
The Bierzo region is a natural area located in the northwest of the Autonomous Community of Castile-León, bordering the communities of Galicia and Asturias. It is a tectonic groove, with a mountainous belt that extends from an altitude of 340 m (1,115 ft) to 2,100 m (6,889 ft), with the average altitude for the production areas of 550 m (1,804 ft) above sea level. In total, the surface area of the entire zone is 1,600 km2 (994 square miles).
The cultivation area for the pepper is irrigated by the River Sil and its tributaries, the Cúa and the Burbia, all belonging to the basin of the River Miño. The soils on which the pepper is grown are loamy, deep, loose, permeable and with moderate-to-good drainage. They also have low levels of organic materials, calcium, phosphorous, potassium and sodium, with a carbon/nitrogen ratio of between eight and ten. The soil's pH values are slightly acidic, between 5.0 and 7.0.
The Bierzo area combines an Atlantic and Mediterranean climate, with cool winters and frequent rain, especially at the end of spring and summer. It is a well-suited climate for pepper growing, as it is an area with many hours of sunlight, an average annual temperature of 12.5 ºC (54.5 ºF), and average annual rainfall of 800 mm (2.62 in).
Consejo Regulador de la IGP Pimiento Asado del Bierzo
C/ La Iglesia, 2
24549 Carracedelo (León)
Tel: (+34) 987 048 900
The liquid that accompanies the pepper once canned is its own juice, which is released once the pepper is roasted.