Long peppers

At the beginning of the year I was given some pepper seeds in a seed swap that were simply marked ‘long, red’ and had come from a supermarket pepper.

Collecting seeds from peppers you have bought is easy – you simply need to make sure that they come from a fruit that has ripened to its final colour (usually, but not always, red). When you use the pepper in cooking, just scrape the seeds out and dry them on a plate, then store them for next year.

There is a catch. At worst, commercially grown peppers are F1 hybrids. At best, you will not know the circumstances under which they were grown and pollinated. The genetic make-up of your seeds will be a mystery (for more detail on this subject, read the enlightening Bifurcated Carrots).

What this means is that the plants you grow from these seeds (and they will grow) are unlikely to be like their parents, and your peppers may be considerably different to the one you started with.

Long red pepper

My ‘long, red’ peppers turned out to be just that – long and red. They were tasty and we enjoyed eating them. I probably have some seeds left and will consider growing those next year. I’m a little disappointed that they didn’t turn out to be something surprising – perhaps the parent plants weren’t hybrids after all.

So when you’re removing the seeds from your next pepper, consider saving them and trying to grow them next year. And when you get the bug and want to grow more peppers (and you will!), check out a seed catalogue so that you’re guaranteed something a little more interesting.

On Friday 16th November I will be releasing a special edition of the AKG to support the BBC Children in Need appeal. In the run up to the show I will also be writing articles and blog posts on the same subject. If you have any stories, or hints and tips, about growing edible plants from pips and stones, then send me an email and I will include them in the show.