A Popular Spanish Saying About Padrón Peppers: Unos Pican Otros No, Some are Hot, Some are Not. That's because less than 10% of the peppers are hot and the person who is "lucky" enough to get a hot one is usually surprised by the heat.
Padrón peppers are small green peppers 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) long, traditionally grown in Padrón, Galicia (northwest Spain). They are bright green to yellow-green in color, with an intense flavor. They are in season from May through September, and it seems that the peppers that ripen later in the harvest are more likely to be hot. The Spanish enjoy eating the Padrón peppers as a tapa, simply fried in olive oil and sprinkled with salt.
- Fried Padrón Peppers Recipe, an Easy Tapa
The region of Galicia is well known for its lush green landscape, mild temperatures and high rainfall. The area's fertile soil and cool weather are the ideal growing conditions for the Padrón peppers. Named after the village of Padrón, Galicia, which is located just 22 km from Santiago de Compostela.
The Padrón peppers were brought back to Spain from South America, where legend has it they were grown for their aphrodisiac properties. In the 16th century Spanish monks began growing the peppers inside the walls of their monastery in the village of Herbón and became very popular locally.
- Pimientos de Herbón-Padrón, Un bocado con Suspense, a short article with large, beautiful photos of padron peppers, taken at the Franciscan Convent of San Antonio de Herbón where the peppers are grown.
The Popularity of the Padrón
These tiny peppers have become so popular that they have their own festival! The Padrón Pepper festival has been celebrated in the villages of Herbón and Padrón for over 30 years. It starts in the early morning with a traditional tractor parade. The procession travels two kilometers from the village of Herbón to Padrón with an enthusiastic crowd of both locals and visitors. Participants in the festival get to taste the latest crop of peppers served with corn bread, which is also typical of the region. As with any Spanish festival, musicians provide entertainment throughout the afternoon and into the evening hours.
Padrón peppers are available in most supermarkets or produce markets around Spain. They are also available in the UK and US from various suppliers. On the west coast of the US, http://www.happyquailfarms.com produce and sell padrón and other specialty peppers at farmer's markets. Their website is a great source of information and photographs on a wide variety of peppers.