Los pimientos de La Vera: nuestra materia prima

Origins

The pepper crop was introduced in la Vera during 16th century by the Hieronymite monks of Yuste.

Since then it has spread across La Vera and become one of the most interesting products of the region.

Here in La Vera, the pepper crops grow easily due to the clime of this area, which has a soft winter in regards to the temperatures, and a dry summer. Also, there is plenty of water due to the River Tiétar.

The peppers grown here are of the species “Capsicum annum” and the sub-species cerasiforme and longum, which produce three kinds of paprika: Sweet, Bittersweet and Hot.

Cultivation

The crop starts in March, in seedbeds, where the plants stay until May, when they are transplanted.

The most common planting density is 0.90 m x 0.32 m (aprox. 35000 plants/ha)

Irrigation is sprinkled and localized, allowing more efficient use of available water.

The crop is harvested by hand at the end of September, when the fruit is ripe and perfectly red.

Drying

The peppers are dried by the farmers using smoke in drying chambers with a vertical airstream and a fire on the lower floor of the drying chamber.

This system was the logical alternative to the impossibility of drying the fruits in the sun, as in other areas, due to the autumn rains, coinciding with the harvest of the fruit.

The dryers consist of ground floor and upper floor. On the ground floor or combustion chamber, the firewood home is placed. On the upper floor, located 2.5 m. from the soil, the fruits are deposited, forming a layer of 70 to 80 cm. This plant is formed by a grid of pine slats placed 1-2 cm apart and anchored on chestnut goats. The heat and smoke produced by the oak and oak wood, rise by convection, through the frame of boards drying the layer of peppers that are placed on it. The roof is constructed of Arabic tile to allow the combustion gases to escape.

This drying process needs between ten to fifteen days

… to be completed. During this process, the peppers have to be stirred inside the drying chamber, in order to obtain an homogeneous product. This traditional drying method, slow and gentle, ensures the amount of carotenoids in the peppers. This is possible as the metabolic life of the peppers doesn´t end with the harvest. Actually, for a short period of time, enzymatic processes remain active, enabling the biosynthesis and transformation of pigments. This feature is unique of this drying system.

This drying process gives to the Pimentón de la Vera its essential characteristics: aroma, flavor and color stability, which differentiates it from other kinds of paprika.

Complete Control:

Our engineer controls all the steps followed by our farmers, from the selection of the seeds, to the drying process.

We continue with the training of our farmers in cultivation, fertilization, drying methods, etc.

This strict work methodology enables us to obtain a product of the highest quality possible.

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