Pimiento Riojano PGI
Fruit from the Capsicum Annuum L. species, of the Najerano indigenous variety, destined for human consumption, both fresh and canned.
It is characterized by its sweet and balanced aroma and flavor, and by the fineness of its flesh. Once roasted it retains the color and consistency of its flesh, and takes on the characteristic aroma of roast, smoked pepper.
Canned Riojano pepper contains green, red or mixed-color peppers, with a uniform color, no presence of yellow flesh, diced or in strips (in the latter case, no wider than one cm (0.4 in)), and firmness of 90%.
Production / Processing method
Farmers in the area select their own seeds from the best plants, handing them over to authorized nursery owners so that the authenticity of the variety can be determined, as well as the production quality and the origin. Harvesting takes place when the fruit has reached optimum ripeness, in as many stages as required, always manually and with the utmost of care to ensure that only excellent quality fruits are obtained.
Category I peppers are collected first, which are healthy, fresh, well-developed, free from frost damage or cracks which have not healed, with no sun damage and with the stalk intact. Lower quality peppers, or those with less caliber, are left until the last harvest stages, as they will not be accepted by the PGI.
The harvested peppers are transported in trailers or rigid containers to the treatment warehouse, ensuring that they are not squashed en route. When unloading, the effect of the peppers falling is minimized, and Category I products are separated from the rest, thus avoiding a mix of qualities in the subsequent handling stage. The mixed color (entreverado) pepper, characteristic of the region and highly appreciated thanks to its mild flavor and easily-digested flesh, is also protected by the PGI, along with the red and green varieties; it is also considered a superior quality product. The warehouses used to store the product are conditioned so that the peppers are adequately aired, and have suitable relative humidity and temperature conditions.
Packing of fresh peppers is carried out manually and with great care, to retain the physical, chemical and organoleptic characteristics of the harvested peppers. Any product that has suffered any form of deterioration during storage is rejected.
The production process is in line with the traditional methods used in the area, based on careful selection, oven roasting over an open flame, peeling, de-coring and seed removal (all manual), without ever washing the pepper or placing it in chemical solutions, canning with no liquid and the almost total lack of citric acid, thus maintaining the aroma and consistency of the flesh and aiding its digestion.
Preserved Riojano peppers belong to the Extra category, with an average of six seeds per piece or per 100 g (3.52 oz) of drained product, and one square centimeter (0.39 sq in) of charred skin per piece or per 100 g, always packaged in their own juices and never using canning liquid.
Geography / Relief and climate
The average annual temperature of 13.9 º C (57 ºF), the large amount of sun (2,238 hours of sunlight per year), the almost total absence of frost and the progressive increase in temperatures as the spring goes by all favor a slow ripening process for the Riojano pepper.
The area’s Mediterranean climate is ideal for this crop, as it contributes to avoiding the formation of floral buttons during development, and encourages the growth of larger fruits. The protected geographical area has huge morphological diversity, as well as a good range of soils, although the cultivation of the Najerano pepper reaches top quality on the banks of the River Ebro. This is an area with a smooth landscape, with plains and wide valleys with gentle slopes and various isolated hills, where the Ebro tributaries run along sharp valleys which, upon arrival on the plains, lead to wide, fertile meadows. Erosion from the Ebro has deepened its tributaries, leading to the accumulation of abundant alluvial deposits which provide micro-elements which are important for the cultivation of this product, such as boron, magnesium and molybdenum.
Asociación Profesional de Productores de Pimiento Najerano y Santo Domingo
C/ Padre Marín, 24 - Bajo
Tel: (+34) 941 258 944
- Spanish Ministry of Agriculture
- Professional Association of Najerano and Santo Domingo Pepper Producers
The production process is based on careful selection, oven roasting over an open flame, peeling and de-coring and seed removal (all manual).