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Peppers
Growing

A vast range of peppers can be grown in the garden for food, spices, or as ornamentals.

Peppers have 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.

Harvesting

Hotter 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.

Let sweet peppers reach their final ripe color of red, yellow or orange, for maximum sweetness and flavor.

Selecting

For making salsa, choose peppers that are fresh-looking, firm, thick-fleshed, and free of disease and insect damage. Then handle them with care.

Preparation

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

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:

Mild bell                       0
Anaheim                      500 to 1,000
Poblano                       2,500 to 3,000
Jalapeno                     2,500 to 5,000
Serrano                       5,000 to 15,000
Cayenne                      30,000 to 50,000
Thai                             50,000 to 100,000
Habenero                    100,000 to 300,000

Sources: University of Illinois Extension
Pure Spanish Saffron
Peppers


Hot Pepper Seeds
Hot Pepper Seeds



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