of peppers can be grown in the garden for food, spices, or as
the same basic growing requirements as tomatoes: full sun, well-drained
soil, water, and fertilizer. Peppers can be started from seed 8 to10
weeks before planting outdoors or purchased as small plants. They can
be planted outdoors after the danger of frost is past.
varieties of peppers take longer to mature than milder varieties. Most
varieties mature in 65 to 75 days after transplanting. Hotter varieties
such as Habanero require 90 to 100 days to mature.
Hot peppers, also referred to as hot peppers as chili (or chile or
chilli) peppers, are often harvested at maturity, usually when red.
Bell peppers are often picked when green and immature. If they are
allowed to ripen to a red, yellow, or purple color, they will be
sweeter. Peppers can be stored for 1 to 2 weeks.
peppers reach their final ripe color of red, yellow or orange, for
maximum sweetness and flavor.
For making salsa, choose peppers that are fresh-looking, firm,
thick-fleshed, and free of disease and insect damage. Then handle them
Wash peppers before peeling or chopping. Avoid direct contact with them
because their volatile oils can cause skin irritation or burns. Wear
rubber gloves while handling them and wash your hands thoroughly with
soap and water before touching your face.
One type of pepper may be substituted for another type of pepper in a
salsa recipe. However, when canning, do not vary the amount of peppers
called for in the recipe.
Pepper heat is measured in Scoville Heat Units, using a systematic
dilution test method developed by Wilbur Scoville in 1912. The scale
ranges from 0 for the sweet bell pepper to 300,000 for the Habanero
pepper, as follows:
500 to 1,000
2,500 to 3,000
2,500 to 5,000
5,000 to 15,000
30,000 to 50,000
50,000 to 100,000
100,000 to 300,000
Sources: University of Illinois Extension