Bell Pepper

How to Grow Bell Pepper:

Pepper, how much sunlight dose bell pepper need, how much water dose a bell pepper need, when do you pick a bell pepper, is growing a bell pepper the same as growing a hot pepper, how do you fertilize a pepperPeppers originated in Central America and were cultivated by Native Americans for thousands of years previous to Columbus’ arrival. In 1492, many varieties already existed. The purpose of Columbus’ voyage was to find a shorter route to Asia to bring goods to Europe, including the peppercorn. At the time, the peppercorn was so valuable it was used as currency in some countries.

The chili peppers’ mysterious tasting fruit was hot and spicy, similar to the exotic peppercorn.  To explain the taste and probably also to make Columbus’ finding sound more important, it was mistakenly called a pepper.

Most of us think of the pepper as a vegetable, but technically speaking the chili pepper is a fruit.  Due to its use in the kitchen, the chili pepper is classified as a vegetable once picked and taken to market.

Planting and Growing:

Peppers require a long, warm growing season of 50 to 80 days depending on the variety.   In most climates, it is usually best started indoors from seed or purchased as a transplant. The soil needs to be quite warm for the pepper seed to germinate. Peppers should be transplanted outdoors after overnight lows are consistently above 55 degrees F (13 degrees C).  This occurs roughly 2 weeks after the last frost date.

For an earlier planting, warm soil temperaturePepper, when is the best time to plant peppers, how do you start a pepper from seed, should I start my peppers indoorss are needed by covering the soil with a floating, row cover or clear plastic. When soil temperatures have reached ideal levels, plant your transplants under the row cover or in a Wall-O-Water.  Remove the protective coverings when the plants begin to flower or if the temperature reaches 85 degrees F (29 degrees C). Keep the soil evenly moist, but not wet, throughout the growing season.

Harvesting and Preserving:

Peppers can be harvested when they are green; however, peppers will take on a more robust flavor when they are completely ripe.  Peppers will typically ripen from green to a red or orange color. Ripening will sharpen the taste and heat of hot pepper varieties and sweeten sweet pepper varieties.  Keep in mind that allowing fruits to completely ripen on the stem signals the plant to stop production.

Peppers store best when harvested first thing in the morning, before the morning sun begins to warm the plants. Peppers will store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Peppers can be stored for much longer periods by freezing or drying.  To freeze peppers, first wash them thoroughly. Peppers can be frozen whole, in half, or diced. If dicing, remove the stem and seeds before dicing them.  The white membrane can also be removed; however, this is where most of the vitamins are located so it is best left attached.

When the pepper is prepared, place them on a tray in the freezer for 12 hours but no more than 24 hours. Package the pepper in zipper bags, making sure to press all the air out. Freezing the peppers in this way will prevent them freezing together in a large clump.  You can then use the amount needed without having to thaw the whole bag or chisel out a chunk.

To prepare the peppers for drying, wash the peppers thoroughly and place them on a tray in a dry, cool area of your home.  You can also brad peppers and hang-dry them near a kitchen window.  Be sure to check the peppers routinely for rot or mold while drying.

To quickly dry your peppers, remove stem and seeds, and dice or chop up. Dry in a dehydrator at 120 degrees F (48 degrees C) for 8 to 12 hours, or until crisp and leathery. Check and stir occasionally. Then, place in an airtight container to store. Use within a year for top quality.

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