Gardening

Bierzo Roasted Pepper

The pepper is a vegetable that Christopher Columbus introduced in Spain in 1493. Its scientific name is Capsicum annum L. and belongs to the Solanaceae family.

Pepper cultivation in the El Bierzo region began in its capital, Ponferrada, in the mid-17th century. Some historical data indicates that until 1669, the peppers were dried in the sun, and from that year they began to be roasted and used as food, as well as a condiment, becoming a very popular product.

The Bercian women of the Bierzo region were the ones who made the roasted pepper popular, since they were the first to make it and also the ones who, through shipments to relatives, friends and acquaintances, made it known in all the regions of Spain..

The Bierzo region is located in the extreme northwest of the province of León, which is why it borders the regions of Asturias and Galicia. It belongs to the Autonomous Community of Castilla y León.

The production area includes the municipalities of: Arganza, Bembibre, Borrenes, Cabañas Raras, Cacabelos, Camponaraya, Carracedelo, Carucedo, Castropodame, Congosto, Cubillos del Sil, Molinaseca, Ponferrada, Priaranza, Sobrado, Villadecanes-Toral de los Vados and Villafranca del Bierzo.

The Bierzo Roasted Pepper, with Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), belongs to the Bierzo ecotype, its adaptation to the conditions of the Bierzo region, which enjoys a sunny Mediterranean climate, with mild temperatures and generous rainfall, gives it some exceptional conditions of flavor and texture.

The elaboration of the Roasted Pepper from Bierzo (IGP), is totally handmade. They are harvested manually and in stages, once the reddest fruits have been selected, they are roasted on a griddle or oven, which can take between 5 or 10 days, if they are stored in a cold room.

For this, different firewoods are used, such as holm oak, poplar, chestnut and oak, natural gas or propane can also be used. When the skin is at the optimal point of burning, it is peeled and cored, where its seeds are also removed, all manually.

Once this process is finished, they are packaged with government broth, which is the juice of the pepper itself that it gives off when roasted. Subsequently, like all preserves, it is subjected to a sterilization heat treatment. The peppers that are sold whole canned belong to the Extra or First category, while those that are presented in pieces only belong to the First category.

Roasted bell peppers are high in fiber and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus. It is diuretic due to its vitamin B6 content, it helps reduce hypertension. It also contains vitamins A, C and E. They contain lycopene that gives it anti-cancer properties, because it protects cell damage.

The excellent texture and flavor of the Roasted Pepper from Bierzo, in addition to accompanying it with a good toasted bread, very tasty recipes can be prepared, from sauces, hummus, puff pastry, cakes, croquettes, salads, soups, accompanying pasta, rice, meat, fish, legumes, eggs…

Since 2002, the Bierzo Roasted Pepper has enjoyed the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) seal, so both its production and marketing of this excellent product is regulated, which guarantees its quality at all times.

Image: pepperasadodelbierzo.es / laleonesa

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