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Padrón peppers (Galician: pementos de Padrón) are a variety of peppers (Capsicum annuum) from the municipality of Padrón in the province of A Coruña, Galicia, northwestern Spain. These are small peppers (about 5 cm long), with a color ranging from bright green to yellowish green, and occasionally red. Their peculiarity lies on the fact that, while their taste is usually mild, a minority (10-25%) are particularly hot. Whether a given pepper ends up being hot or mild depends on the amount of water and sunlight it receives during its growth, in addition to temperature. It's said that solely watering the soil of the plant is likely to produce milder pimentos, whilst watering the whole plant, leaves and stalks included, produces peppers of the spicier variety.
These peppers are grown along the banks of the river Ulla and its tributary Sar, especially in the greenhouses of the municipality of Padrón, hence the name. This pepper is also currently grown in various places of southern Spain, the United States, Mexico, and Morocco. The peppers are picked while their size is still small, starting as soon as mid-May. Traditionally, they were sold in the period going from late May until late October or, on occasion, even early November. However, the introduction of greenhouse plantations has made them available throughout the year.
Padrón peppers are small, with an elongated, conic shape. The taste is mild, but some exemplars can be quite hot, which property has given rise to the popular Galician aphorism Os pementos de Padrón, uns pican e outros non ("Padrón peppers, some are hot, some are not"). Typically, there is no way of determining whether a given pepper will be hot or mild, short of actually eating it, though some maintain that smelling each cooked Padrón for spice prior to eating is a good indicator.