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Peppers don’t have that spicy image for nothing! Peppers are an excellent way to spice up otherwise bland dishes. Peppers are fruits of small perennial shrubs in the nightshade (solanaceae) family and belong to the genus, capsicum. The bell pepper or sweet pepper is the most popular type of pepper. The small spicy varieties are commonly called chili peppers. In the United States, bell peppers add sweet flavor to hundreds of popular dishes, from crisp salads to savory pizza and vegetable-laden stir-fries.  peppers

Nutritional Content of Peppers

All peppers are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K, but the red varieties are simply bursting with them. Peppers are low in calories and fats, while being nutrient dense, containing fiber and providing numerous vital components. Peppers also contain capsaicin, a plant alkaloid that has numerous health benefits.

Health Benefits of Peppers

1. Promotes weight loss: Both hot and sweet peppers may enhance weight loss efforts owing to capsaicin which boosts and speeds up metabolism. In addition, the fiber content and its low calorific value make them useful in weight loss diets.

2. Reduce risk of cancer: Consumption of green, yellow and red peppers regularly provides the body with vitamin A and vitamin C that fights free radicals and other sources of cell damage. Peppers also contain lycopene, a nutrient known to decrease the risk of ovarian cancer. Also, capsaicin has been shown to have some anti-carcinogenic properties.

3. Prevents cardiovascular diseases: Peppers help protect against cardiovascular diseases if they are regularly consumed owing to the beneficial action of capsaicin and other important phytonutrients and antioxidants found in peppers.

4. Control cholesterol: A study showed that adding hot chilies to daily meals may protect against the buildup of cholesterol in the blood.

5. Antioxidant nature: The high amount of nutrients and vitamins in peppers including vitamin C boosts the immunity system and lowers the risk of diseases such as arthritis.

6. Anti-inflammatory properties: Red bell peppers contain several phytochemicals and carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene, which will lavish one with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

7. The capsaicin in peppers has multiple health benefits. Capsaicin has been studied for its bad cholesterol reduction, ability to control diabetes, bring relief from pain and relieve inflammation.

8. The vitamin B6 in peppers is essential for the good functioning of the nervous system and helps renew cells.

9. Promote eye health: Peppers are excellent sources of lutein and zea-xanthin, nutrients that help ward off the development of eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration. Peppers are also packed with beta-carotene which is known for its ability to promote good vision and eye health.

10. Prevent Parkinson’s disease and other neurological diseases: Studies have shown that peppers have a great potential in fighting against neurological diseases.

Learn to grow peppers: How to Grow Peppers. Find organic heirloom Pepper Seeds at our online store.

What is the Scoville rating?

How hot or spicy is a particular chili pepper? Have you ever wanted to know that before you used it in your favorite recipe? Well, there is a means of quantifying the amount of spicy heat of a chili pepper. This scale of measurement is know as the Scoville scale or Scoville rating.

How does it work?

The spicy heat of a chili pepper is a result of the presence of capsaicin. Capsaicin in the chili pepper stimulates nerve endings in the mucous membranes (mouth, nose) which gives us the sensation of spice. In larger concentrations, it can also cause sensation on the skin.

The capsaicin organoleptic test measures the spiciness of the pepper by manually tasting a diluted solution containing extracts of the pepper in question.

Who invented this scale?

Wilbur Scoville, an American chemist, was responsible for the creation of the Scoville scale from his work at Parke-Davis pharmaceutical company on the hotness of various chili peppers. Since its creation in 1912, the Scoville scale is still a popular means of measuring hotness.

Why is there a large range on the scale for various chili peppers?

Like any other plant, chili peppers plants are affected by variation in soil, climate (temperature, humidity, rainfall etC)and seed-lineage. Hence, the hotness of a chili pepper grown in Mexico will be different from that of a pepper grown in say Arizona. However, good gardening practices can help retain the natural heat of the pepper.

Scoville Ratings of various peppers

Pepper Scoville Rating Pepper Scoville Rating
Pepperoncini 100 – 500 Hungarian Wax 5,000 – 10,000
Hungarian Paprika 100 – 500 Thai-Kung Pao 7,000 – 12,000
Sonora Pepper 300 – 600 Ancho Gigantea Pepper 1,000 – 15,000
New Mexico 6 Pepper 500 – 1,000 Serrano 6,000 – 23,000
NuMex Twilight Pepper 900 – 1,000 Serrano Tampiqueno Pepper 6,000 – 23,000
Aji Dulce 800 – 1,200 Royal Black pepper 5,000 – 30,000
Ancho Pepper 1,000 – 2,000 Yellow Peter Pepper 5,000 – 30,000
Poblano 1,000 – 2,000 Chile De Arbol Pepper 15,000 – 30,000
Numex Espanola Pepper 1,000 – 2,000 Tabasco 30,000 – 50,000
Pasilla Bajio Pepper 1,000 – 2,000 Long Red Slim Cayenne 30,000 – 50,000
Anaheim 500 – 2,500 Santaka Pepper 40,000 – 50,000
Numex-Big Jim 500 – 2,500 Fish Pepper 45,000 – 75,000
Garden Salsa 2000 – 4,500 Tepin Pepper 50,000 -100,000
Jalapeno 2,500 – 5,000 Jamaican Yellow Pepper 100,000 – 200,000
Mirasol Pepper 2,500 – 5,000 Habanero 100,000 – 350,000
Red Cherry Bomb 2,500 – 5,000 Carribean Red 400,000 – 460,000
Chimayo Pepper 4,000 – 6,000 Jamaican Hot Chocolate 300,000 – 500,000
Black Hungarian Pepper 5,000 – 10,000

We have all these peppers available at the Sweet Corn Organic Nursery store. If you have any questions about growing and harvesting peppers, we’d love to lend a helping hand.

Oh! and go easy on some of the spicy ones, they can be hotter than expected :)!

We got an interesting “Ask Bryan” question today from Nick, a gardener in New York, who wrote this:

In looking to be more of a gardener and less of a consumer/dependent on
grocery stores, I started gardening. And over the last 3 years I have
gotten the knack down for what to do and how to do it better yet I know
I’m nowhere near knowing it all. So I come to you. Can I, with success,
create an indoor garden in my basement for over the winter? I live in NY
and the reason I ask this is I would love to buy heirloom seeds from you,
plant them and grow them over the winter and thus capture the best of the
best seeds from that harvest to use for that upcoming spring. Am I able to
pollinate a plant indoors without insects? What would I need to keep a 2
tomato plants and 2 pepper plants alive, vibrant and super healthy to make
it through a winter in NY?

So, here’s our answer!


Here’s a link to an article on our blog about growing seedlings indoors.

How To Plant Seeds and Grow Starts Indoors

To grow your seedlings to the food stage indoors, we’re going to tweak the
above a little bit. Here goes: First of all, to grow successful tomato and
pepper crops indoors your temps inside where the plants are growing need
to optimally stay between 68-72 degrees. They can vary slightly on the low
side of those temps (no lower than 50 degrees), and can go up to 88
degrees for short periods; however, 68-72 degrees is optimal and will
ensure that your pollen is most potent.

In terms of pollinating without insects, no problem since both of these
plants are self-pollinating. However, shaking the blooms a little by
tapping the vines where there are blooms lightly before 11:00 in the
morning every day will ensure proper pollination.

Follow the raising and lowering of the lights exactly how it’s explained
in the seedling article; however, mature plants are going to need a rest
period. So, once the plants are approximately 2-3 months old and you can
see they are wanting to bloom (or start prior to 2-3 months if you start
to see any blooms). At this point, shut off the lights for 8 hours or so a
day to fool the plant into thinking it’s going through a night. This will
promote blooming.

Now, we have to address the soil issue, because in the seedling article
you are growing in a soilless mix, which is ideal for seedlings but
doesn’t provide enough nutrients for a plant to produce full-size,
flavorful fruit. So, what we need to do is transplant your seedlings at
around 10 weeks into containers that are at least 3 gallons or larger.
Add some organic potting soil to the bottom, then add some MegaBone or
MegaStart into the pot, add your plant, then fill to the top of the soil
line with more organic potting soil.

Here’s a helpful hint: If you choose 3 different cherry size tomatoes,
then you can transplant all 3 into one container. For larger varieties,
then just one transplant per container. Here is a large sampling of heirloom tomato seeds if you want to check it out. Same with heirloom pepper seeds. If you go with a few elongated, smaller-type frying peppers then you can get away with 3
varieties per container (like Sweet Banana, Jimmy Nardello, Super
Shepherd, Garden Salsa, etc. But only plant sweets with sweet, and hots
with hot).

In terms of organic soil amendments and feeding your plant, spray the leaves of your plants each week with
MegaSea, and rootfeed with MegaFish every 2 weeks. Use MegaPepe and
MegaMator as a soil side dress each week as well to ensure you can really
pull off a good crop indoors.

Keep us posted on how it goes, Nick! And send us some photos. What a fabulous idea!

Bryan and Kim