The fruit belongs to a variety which is genetically hot, to the family of the Mexican hot peppers (nothing to do with chili), but when they are picked in a early stage the percentage of spicy substances is very low. The substance causing this is called "capsaicin", which increases with the growing of the fruit as well as with temperature.


Seeds are picked from the products of the plants that farmers consider to have the most suitable characteristics as for production, fruit shapes and the possibility of being too hot.


Farmers select manually the fruits and discard those that are too hot; they pay attention to colour, shape, touch and smell. Those peppers to qualify as a PDO [protected denomination of origin] pemento de Herbón can not have a percentage of spicy substances over 10%.


Currently, peppers known as Padrón peppers are grown in different parts of Spain, northern Portugal and also a lot in Morocco. These peppers have less to do with the authentic Herbón peppers. Some of those peppers come from sweet varieties (they are not hot), looking as Herbón peppers but with a different flavour. Some others are simply too hot for several reasons: they are cultivated under conditions that differ a lot from the conditions in Herbón (Padrón), with too high temperatures, a different quality in irrigation water, different soil characteristics, seeds coming from plants which have not been properly selected, the time they are picked, and lack of adequate selection.


The best moment to pick peppers is at dawn; the effects of the capsaicin are lessened because of the lack of light and lower temperature, quite on the contrary to other times of the day.









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