Common Name: Peppers, sweet or "bell peppers" (Capsicum annuum)
Seed Saving Level: Easy — However, sweet peppers should be grown seperate from hot peppers as the hot trait is dominant and will make the next season's sweet peppers hotter.
Planting: Peppers are perennial plants in warm climates, but they are quickly killed with frost. They don’t like cold weather and should not be put out before the soil is warm. Plant seeds ¼ inch deep, 12-24 inches apart in full or partial sun. Spray seeds lightly with water daily. Germinates in 4-6 weeks. Average watering.
Harvesting: Most peppers are green during the immature stages and undergo color changes while ripening - red, yellow, and orange.
Seed Saving: Flowers are perfect and self-pollinating. They can be bagged to prevent crossing. Seeds are ready to harvest when fruit is fully mature. Cut open and extract seeds. Rinse and place seeds onto paper or a kitchen towel (away from sunlight) until dry and brittle, for about 2 weeks.
Sources: Seedswap (2013) by Josie Jeffery, Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners (2002) by Suzanne Ashworth, Complete Guide to Saving Seeds (2011) by Robert Gough and Cheryl Moore-Gough.
Books and ebooks:
- Bell Peppers, SNAP-Ed Connection, U.S, Department of Agriculture, opens a new window
- bell pepper, University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, opens a new window
Recipe: Peppers filled with Spiced Vegetables
- 6 large red or yellow (bell) peppers
- 1 ¼ pound potatoes, peeled, halved if large
- 1-2 jalapeños or other fresh green chilies, seeded and chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 4-5 garlic cloves, chopped 2-inch piece of fresh root ginger, chopped
- 7 tbsp water
- 6-7 tbsp groundnut (peanut) oil
- 1 eggplant, cut into ½-inch dice
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp kalonji seeds
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground toasted cumin seeds
- 1-2 pinches of cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp lemon juice salt and ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (cilantro), to garnish
Cut the tops off peppers and pull out the central core. Shake out remaining seeds. Cut a thin slice off base, if necessary, to make them stand upright. Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to boil. Add peppers and cook for 5-6 min. Drain upside down in a colander. Bring the water back to the boil, add potatoes and cook for 10-12 min, until tender. Drain thoroughly, put aside to cool, then cut into ½-inch dice. Put the green chilies, onion, garlic and ginger in a food processor or blender with 4 tbsp of water and purée. Preheat the oven to 375°
Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a large, deep frying pan and cook the eggplant, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides. Remove and set aside. Add another 2 tbsp of oil and sauté potatoes until lightly browned. Remove and set aside. If necessary, add more oil and add the cumin and kalonji seeds. Fry briefly until the seeds darken, then add turmeric, coriander and ground cumin. Cook for 15 seconds. Stir in the chili purée and fry, scraping the pan with a spatula, until the mixture begins to brown. Do not let it burn. Return the potatoes and eggplants
to the pan, and season with salt, pepper and 1-2 pinches of cayenne. Pour in the remaining measured water and 1 tbsp lemon juice. Cook, stirring, until the liquid evaporates. Place the peppers on a baking tray and fill with potato mixture. Brush the pepper skins with a little oil and bake for 30-35 min. Allow to cool a little, then sprinkle with more lemon juice. Garnish with the coriander and serve. Serves 6
Source: The Chili-Lover’s Cookbook (2005) by Jenni Fleetwood