Why all the bell pepper hate?

Rathos(7b PA)February 29, 2012

This is my first post here, so I decided to make it a good one ;)

I'm still fairly new to gardening but I've jumped up to (24) 4x12 beds, irrigation, yadda yadda. I've been browsing a while gleaning info but I noticed that there's nothing current for bells, only hots. I'll be growing a decent variety, but after reading the in-depth discussions on tomatoes, etc., I was surprised not to find similar info on sweets (without digging ad nauseam).

So why is there no love for sweets? I'll be trying out bhuts, carrib's, and some others as well (don't fret) but it struck me as odd. Fire away!

-Rathos

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Jsschrstrcks(9)

for annuums like a bell, one pepper grows like the rest... In fact, most domesticated pepper species grow under quite similar circumstances... So whats good for a hab, or a cayenne, is good for a bell, or anaheim, or bhut. For the most part... Obviously, sometimes plants take on a personality all their own and want special care... but for the most part, most of them are mostly the same :).

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 12:02AM
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fusion_power

Life is all about character. Either you have it... or you don't. Same for peppers.

I grow peppers for flavor. Orange Bell is arguably the only bell pepper that passes muster. There are others that taste decent, but I won't go out of my way to grow them.

DarJones

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 12:25AM
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Rathos(7b PA)

Fair enough =)

My questions about it really relate more to issues of spread, pro/con of closer or further spacing, proper fert mixing and timing.

For hots as well as bells, my working knowledge of how big they tend to grow is limited and most places I look just parrot each other with generalizations. After seeing the detail in tomatoes here, I was hoping for the same for all varieties of peppers ;)

I'm working with (4) 4x12 beds dedicated to peppers. I'm trying to maximize what I can get. I was estimating something on the order of 50+ considering 2ft spacing for bells and slightly less for hots. Hots = Bhut, Haba, Jala, and maybe a devil's tongue or three if I can get legit seeds and step on germination.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 12:27AM
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shoontok

Bell peppers? wtf are those? hahaha j/k

There is some talk about sweet peppers on some of these threads.

My personal experience is that Bell plants are not the greatest of producers when it comes to putting out the pods. I have found it better to grow other sweet peppers rather then waste my garden space on a plant, that if im lucky might produce a mere handful of pods. And Bells aint got no scoville's!

Jim

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 12:31AM
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nc_crn

Occasionally a sweets post pops up...not much. I'm a fan, myself.

Sweets don't come from the wild in huge numbers (pretty rare) and many of the cultivated species and newer varieties come from a small amount of available genetic material.

At least it's not 1000 bhut-only threads.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 12:34AM
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Rathos(7b PA)

Jim - what varieties would you recommend for sweets? I'm dealing with a house full of non-hot eaters, I'm the only one, and most only try new types based on my history of providing good food choices, lol. I have the time/availability to change course from bell heavy (I agree with DarJones, orange bells are the best, but I love yellow and tolerate red) to other varieties.

I can easily give away extra seedlings I have growing so that none go to waste. I'm literally willing to try any kind of pepper, except possibly the 7 pot because it looks like the elephant man. Any and all thoughts appreciated, I'll scare up info if you can provide names =)

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 12:58AM
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esox07

This is the "HOT PEPPER FORUM". That pretty much explains the lack of Bell Pepper talk. Not that you will get run if you mention bell peppers but the members here focus on Hot varieties. And even most on this forum grow at least one sweet or mild variety anyway. I got sweet bananas going and I even plucked some seeds out of an orange bell from the grocery last week and planted some. I saw today, one was up.
Bruce

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 2:47AM
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roper2008 (7b)

Quadrato D' Asti Giallo is a good yellow for bell.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 3:09AM
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TheMasterGardener1(5B)

"My personal experience is that Bell plants are not the greatest of producers when it comes to putting out the pods. I have found it better to grow other sweet peppers rather then waste my garden space on a plant, that if im lucky might produce a mere handful of pods. And Bells aint got no scoville's! "

I agree 100%. I have found hots to produce way more. And though high in antioxidants bell peppers do not have any capsaicin.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 3:43AM
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smokemaster_2007

Here are a couple:

Alma Paprika,Aconagua,Aji Dulce,Antonio P Rhomedia,Argula Sweet,Arledge,Sweet Banana,Carmen,Sweet Cherry,Super Sweet Cherry,Cherneva Chushka,Cubanalle,Diablo Sweet,Granada Seasoning,Gypsy,Habanera suave red,Habanero suave orange,Habanero Venezuala Sweet,Hawiian sweet hot,Jamaican sweet Scotch Bonnet,Kuala sweet,L'Acrima Di Cristo,Lombardo,Giant Marconi/Marconi,Padron,tons of sweet paprika and pimentos out there,Spanish spice,St.Martin's seasoning pepper,Sweet Apple,Sweet Datil,Sweet Gambia,Szentesi Csereszynye Paprika,Tobago Seasoning...

Some of these are sweet when not fully ripe and mild ripe,others are sweet.
Most are heavier producers than bells and have a very wide range of tastes.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 3:47AM
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sandysgardens

Years ago for my sweets I grew the traditional bells, but I've discovered there are a number of non-bell sweets to grow that are tastier and productive. Below are a few of my sweets I grow along with my hot peppers. As others have stated, hot peppers for the most part are more productive.

Bell types - Sweet Chocolate or La Rouge Royal

Mini Bells - Chocolate, red, or yellow

Non-bells - Apple, Artis, Flexum, Gypsy, Lipstick, Marconi, Healthy, Sweet Havana, Aconcagua, Super Sheppard, Sweet Pickle.....

For something in between and great for grilling try some Pepperone's.

One of my favorites last year that I grew was the Cajun Belle Pepper - flavor of a sweet pepper combined with a mild but spicy heat. I'd stuff a few with cream cheese, pop on the grill then enjoy as an appetizer while grilling our dinner.

Sandy

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 7:43AM
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capoman(5a)

Agree with posters on the lack of productivity of Bell peppers. I grow them, but I also grow sweet banana peppers which are far more tasty and productive. Not sure about your zone, but I get much more production from pots then peppers in the ground, especially with Bells. If you do put them in the ground, use black mulch to warm the soil, the reason I believe pots are generally more productive then soil in colder areas.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 8:28AM
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Rathos(7b PA)

I appreciate the responses - but first to Bruce - I couldn't find a "Bell Pepper" or "Capsicum Annum" or "Sweet Pepper" forum, so if there is a generalized one I missed, I'd certainly be happy to shuffle on over and continue this there ;)

Smokemaster - Thanks for the list, lol. I see you're flexing some of those varieties you have stored.

Sandy - much appreciated, I'll be researching those. I do have some chocolate bells started. More on the rest in a sec.

So: I grew two Giant Marconi bushes last year, and honestly they outproduced most stuff. I was surprised, and the damn bushes kept going even after an unseasonable october snow.

I see items along the lines of bananas, no-heat habas, which I am familiar with in passing if not growing. I've found that the thin walled peppers don't always translate well to a lot of food applications. We are talking more than fermenting/hot sauce/salsa/powder here.

Bells have a very desirable structure/texture/color and while some may lack the more subtle complexity of other pepper flavor - I'm cooking for philistines for the most part anyway. I suppose I'm looking for a marriage here - something with a thicker wall and more complex flavor.

Personally - I love hots. I periodically munch on slivers of habas when they are around, but no one else thinks I'm sane, without some travel on my part to hot-friendly environments. Hell, the gf won't even kiss me after I eat hots due to an unfortunate habanero accident last year.

At any rate - I do recognize this is the hots forum, I just wasn't sure where else to post, and as many of you have echoed that you also grow sweets, I figured it was as good a place as any to start.

For production here - I'm in the small area of Southeast PA that's considered 7b, within sight of the river, or at least the bridge crossing it. Plenty of sun and warm, my overall production throughout the garden was very good last year excepting my Habanero... the poor little guy got smothered and only produced 5 fruits or so. Jalapenos that I grew were super hot (for Jala's) and just would not. stop. fruiting. I had bags of them from only two bushes every week, it seemed.

Again, thanks everyone for the responses. I've read many of the names before in other sections here on gardenweb, and it's great to find an active place with people of your caliber of experience. I'll do some research today and come back with other nonsensical questions later on =)

-Rathos

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 10:35AM
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tsheets(5)

You might want to consider something from the NuMex / Anaheim type peppers. Not exactly "sweet", but, not too hot either. The gf hates bell peppers, but, loves Big Jim's.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 10:51AM
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ottawapepper

Rathos, welcome.

LOL, I don't think Bruce was saying you're not welcome to post here.

While the primary focus of this forum is on the hotter side, a good number of us grow and enjoy the milder varieties as well. Post away.

I agree with tsheets re. trying the NuMex / Anaheim types. I liked the NuMex Sweet and R-Naky personally. If you're looking for a thick skinned fleshy pepper with very little heat, try Alma Paprika aka apple pepper. They're not as large as a Bell but the plants are good producers.

Just my 2 cents,

Bill

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 11:40AM
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esox07

Rathos: yep, what ottawpepper says. I don't mine anyone posting bell pepper stuff here. Just that most on this list focus on the hotter varieties. I am growing Sweet Bananas and half the plants I keep for this summer will be Sweet Bananas. You will even see non pepper stuff in here from time to time simply because there are so many knowledgeable people here and many on this list grow more than just Hot Peppers. But I would definitely consider the Sweet Banana pepper if you want mild. Tried and true.
Bruce

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 12:00PM
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Edymnion(7a)

I wasn't here in the early days, but I would think it started off with pepper talk being in the fruits or vegetables board, but the discussions on hot peppers specifically became so numerous it was decided to split them off into a separate board. Kind of like how we have a general board for "Trees", but there is also a specific board just for "Conifers".

So its not some intentional, malicious act, its just that there aren't enough people talking about sweet peppers to justify giving them their own board. If it got to the point where sweet pepper talk was clogging up fruits, veggies, or hot peppers, then it would likely get it's own spinoff board as well.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 12:38PM
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shoontok

I would have to say that Anaheim peppers is my favorite producer of large "not hot" peppers.

Jim

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 1:04PM
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noinwi

I like the cheese/pimento type peppers. Thick walls and very sweet, really good roasted. I keep them in the freezer roasted and peeled to use all through winter.
I've also found the non-hot jalapenos(by growing out an F2 from a hybrid)are very sweet when red ripe.
Many posters here grow both sweet and hot as do posters in the Vegetable forum.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 3:24PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Bruce explained the main reason...this is the Hot Pepper forum.

I don't personally like Bell Peppers, particularly when cooked into a dish.
I find the acrid, unripe, vegetative flavor overwhelms and spoils the entire dish.

There was a time when I didn't like *any* peppers. It wasn't until I learned
that there were flavors other than Bell and Jalapeno that I began to appreciate
peppers.

Josh

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 3:46PM
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capoman(5a)

I think part of the reason that there is not sweet pepper board is simply there aren't near as many varieties of sweet then there is of hots. I don't mind discussing sweets here, as I do both. Hots are not really considered a staple food for many people, although Bells usually are, so would be appropriate for the vegetable forum. But if you are looking for grow advice, the hot pepper forum likely gives you the most in depth pepper advice. We are avid pepper growers and eaters, hot or sweet.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 3:51PM
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Jsschrstrcks(9)

Have you considered mexibell peppers? They are a cross (iirc) between Jalapenos and Bell Peppers... not as hot as a Jal, but with hopefully a better taste... Some of the carribean red habs get pretty good sized as well... Rescued one from the grocery this morning that was taller than an apple...

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 4:58PM
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plainsman50(7b)

Rathos--

Thanks for the post. I have been wrestling with trying to find two or three sweet pepper varieties that work for me.

My experience the past three years with both bells and non-bell sweets has certainly been mixed.

Losers: Fat'n'Sassy-poor production; Bell Boy-major problems with sun scald; Purple Beauty-the ugliest, muddiest color that I've ever seen and breaks easier than any bell I've ever grown, which is saying a lot; Pretavit-poor production and had the same bland, green taste as bells; Sweet Havana-good flavor, but again poor production of surprisingly small peppers for a Cubanelle type

Things I'm trialling again: Tequila-tastes like any other bell, but a stunning color and reasonably productive or would trial again: Yellow Belle-again tastes like other bells and slow to turn color, but very productive for me.

Winners: Gypsy-heavy production and great flavor. The peppers started off small last summer, but got bigger and better as the season went on.

New for this year: Non-bell sweet--Corno di Toro and Bell:
1)Flavorburst--I had the seed and intrigues by the promise of a "citrusy' flavor, and 2)Golden Treasure--a gift from Totally Tomatoes.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 10:05PM
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Rathos(7b PA)

Thanks for all the responses! I'll be checking all these out over the weekend to see what's feasible to fill out my pepper boxes =)

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 12:35AM
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TheMasterGardener1(5B)

"I don't personally like Bell Peppers, particularly when cooked into a dish.
I find the acrid, unripe, vegetative flavor overwhelms and spoils the entire dish."

I am the same way, never could word it like that :)

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 12:51AM
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noinwi

"I find the acrid, unripe, vegetative flavor overwhelms and spoils the entire dish."

That's because it's....UNRIPE! :D

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 1:22AM
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roper2008 (7b)

I like green bell peppers, they taste really good grilled.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 3:47PM
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TheMasterGardener1(5B)

"I like green bell peppers, they taste really good grilled."

Yea I like them on the steak kabob.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 6:03PM
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shoontok

I dont hate Bell peppers. I just wont grow em.

Yeah they arent the tastiest of peppers, thats for sure. They are good edible peppers just cause they are large meaty peppers. The downfall is that they need other ingredients in a dish to make em taste better. Like the addition of HOT PEPPERS!

And once again, they just dont produce good enough quantity of fruit to warrant taking up my limited garden space.

Jim

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 6:45PM
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ottawapepper

OK, file this post under too much info.

Green peppers of any variety (Bell included) are technically unripe fruit. Eating unripe peppers (or any fruit) can cause digestive problems for some people. Green Bell peppers can cause burping and general stomach ailments because the unripe skin needs more bile from the gall bladder to be digested.

Given green peppers are more readily available and / or cheaper in most major markets due to picking them early for longer shipment times, a lot of people think peppers are green.

The above being said, I've read about a couple of Bells; Evergreen and Staygreen that ripen green. I've never grown them. There's also the Spanish Pimiento de Gernikan that is traditionally harvested unripe and fried green rather than ripe red.

I personally have no issues with green peppers, I've had my gall bladder removed ;-))

I was invited as a guest on a provincial call in show a few years ago to defend Green (Bell) peppers.
I stated my case that all peppers are good. Green Peppers are like a Beaujolais Nouveau; young, crisp and fresh while Red Peppers are like a Cabernet or Bordeaux; mature, earthy and well developed.

Ya, I'm a freekin poet in my other life... I kill me ;-))

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 7:36PM
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plainsman50(7b)

Interesting-I keep learning more and more.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 8:19PM
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habjolokia

lack of productivity, not the greatest of producers the Bell peppers? What is considered not the greatest 4 pods or less? Is this because the plant is limited to what it can support due to fruit size? Or is it they are heavy feeders on a certain fert that no one cares to figure out? Does ground or containers make any difference? I ask because I am growing some for my Wife or else I would not be growing them, I figure she's put up with my super hots growing past 3 years I could at least grow some green and yellow Bells for her. I have one at the moment with flower buds under the floro in the basement started seeds in Dec. so far treating them the same as all my other hots and supers. I think this is my second mention of Bells here on GWHPF and hopefully my last ;-)

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 9:41PM
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fusion_power

I'm going to speculate that the pepper bio pathway for production of carotenoids is similar to tomatoes, i.e. that it can be interrupted in various places or diverge from one direction to another to produce similar ripe fruit traits. Aunt Ruby's German Green is an outstandingly good tomato that ripens green. This would correspond with the Staygreen mentioned above. Green when ripe is caused by a gene mutation that interrupts the entire carotenoid pathway causing chlorophyll to be retained instead of used to produce carotenoids. The red ripe and orange ripe colors would correspond to a ripe red tomato vs a ripe orange tomato. The orange color in tomatoes is a result either of an interrupted lypcopene pathway or from a divergence to a different chemical pathway such as delta carotene. There is a high likelihood of similar genetics in pepper. Purple peppers would be a different case. The chemical will be a form of anthocyanin probably petunidin. There are varying anthocyanin pathways in tomato and they all seem to be unaffected by the carotenoid pathway. Probably there is an analogue of the aft gene which causes the deep black/purple color in some peppers. There would be another gene similar to abg which would cause the lilac to purple colors.

What this means is that you could have a purple pepper that ripens black by combining the green when ripe gene with an anthocyanin gene. Bet if you look around you will find varieties that express these genetics.

DarJones

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 9:43PM
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esox07

OK, keeping on the bell pepper subject, are all bell peppers really the same and the different colors in the stores (red, green, yellow and orange) are just various stages of ripeness of the same bell pepper? Or are they all a different variety?
Bruce

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 10:26PM
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Jsschrstrcks(9)

I believe there are multiple varieties. However grocery stores are a shifty lot... I picked up a Red Congo Trinidad pepper, and a Neon Yellow Habanero in a bin labeled "Orange Habaneros".

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 1:12AM
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Rathos(7b PA)

They are different varieties, Bruce. However, there are some sweets (similar to the hots) that go through different color stages. Some will just go green -> red/orange/yellow etc., with no intermediate color, others can end up multi-colored.

I used to slice/sautee boxes at a time for a local pizza place, and every once in a while i'd come across a multicolored bell. i'd usually just eat it instead of saddling the poor customers with it =P

as for grocery stores... I honestly think they they either don't know the difference or possibly don't care. the average consumer isn't well-educated enough to tell the difference anyway. Maybe they figure "hot" is "hot" in the bin. I couldn't pick out the difference between a lot of similar hots, or bells for that matter. But i'm still learning ;)

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 12:17PM
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esox07

OK, so tell me if I got this right. I go to the grocery store and I see a bin of green bell peppers. The sign says .68 each. I see a bin of orange bell peppers and the sign says $1.78 each, the bin of yellow bell peppers says $1.48 each and the bin of red ones say $1.98 each. They all look virtually identical except for the color. So they are all different varieties and the green ones will never turn yellow, orange or green? Is that right?
Thanks, I learn my abcg's next week.
Bruce

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 3:06PM
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Rathos(7b PA)

that's economics. Green peppers (since they're not completely ripe) are more bitter with less sugar and a different texture than the ripe (colored) ones.

it also adds weeks onto growing time to let them ripen, and slows production. that is reflected in the end cost.

the combination of better flavor + more time to grow = double the price. This is the sole reason i grow a lot of bells, they're stupidly expensive to buy.

difference between yellow/orange/red prices is likely just people's preference. I hear that yellow peppers are less popular than red. I guess people just think it has to be red or green.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 6:39PM
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tsheets(5)

The green ones will last longer than the ripe ones. So, the fact that it takes longer for them to ripen as Rathos mentions, and their shelf life isn't as long, and probably because they're more "rare" is why they charge so darn much for the ripe ones.

Green ones will turn some color (generally red if you didn't specifically buy yellow/orange) if you leave them (on the plant) long enough. I doubt you would buy a green bell from the store and it would ripen before rotting.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 1:55PM
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Edymnion(7a)

Yup, they're all the same pepper in different stages of ripening. The redder it is, the sweeter it is. Most people only know the more acrid taste of green peppers and don't realize how good a ripe one can be.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 3:56PM
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esox07

Edymnion: that is precisely what I thought the deal was.
Thanks,
Bruce

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 5:34PM
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Rathos(7b PA)

Just to clear up this misconception: not all bell peppers go through multiple color changes.

If you buy an orange bell plant, it will not be red or yellow, etc. during any stage of ripeness. it will go from green directly to orange and no further.

-Rathos

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 5:44PM
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ottawapepper

While true that a picked orange pepper won't generally ripen to red etc. on a counter, Sorok Sari will ripen starting from cream --> yellowish --> orange --> red.

It's all in the timing.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 8:04PM
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fusion_power

We could also mention Chinese Five color if you want to talk about color change in pepper, however, they are hot, not sweet.

DarJones

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 10:15PM
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mstang1988

As another poster said, New Mexico chile's can be fairly mild and have pretty large yields. When ripened to red they can be a lot sweeter then people give them credit for. It however is a different flavor profile so you would have to test yourself.

Red chile processing:
1)Clean
2)Remove tops and seeds
3)Blanch peppers in hot water until skin starts to bubble
4)blend
5)Remove and run through press of some sort to remove remaining seeds/skin
5)Enjoy sweet red meet (the bitter is in the skin)

Here is a few pictures of the last time I did it (not sure if I will keep them up long).

Here is a link that might be useful: Red Chile

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 2:53PM
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capoman(5a)

One thing I've found about peppers. If they are pure green when picked, they won't ripen any further. If you pick them when they are just starting to turn, time will usually ripen them completely. This is good to know especially late in the season when you are forced to pick before a frost.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 5:02PM
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Jsschrstrcks(9)

I have a few varieties of Bell in my updated grow list (just about to go update it...) California wonder, Big Dipper, and one called "giant sweet c. chinense". Not sure if its supposed to be chinese giant sweet bell pepper, or if its some hybrid... But we'll see :).

Either way, I'm up to 108 varieties, and anticipating over 1000 plants in the garden...

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 6:06PM
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esox07

Just 1000? Why bother? :)

Bruce

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 6:16PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Hey, Ken, if you receive that one in the swap, it is 'Chinese Giant', which is a bell pepper. If the label said Chinense, it was a typo.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 6:44PM
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tsheets(5)

Man, that's an F load of plants!!!

I'll probably have about 18-20 plants. A little over half in the garden, the rest in pots.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 7:38PM
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Jsschrstrcks(9)

I should say "gardens" as I have a couple going now... Two are for me personally - this is where 107 of the varieties are :D the 108th variety is going to be grown out for a seed co... This is a new development... I haven't even started germinating them yet... But I will be committing to it in the next day or two, bringing in a partner to help me out - thats going to be a heck of a lot of seeds to separate out @.@....

They are from the swap Bonnie!! Thanks for the update, I was wondering and hoping you'd see the thread and reply.

It caught me off guard because I couldn't think of any c. chinense, that were giant, nor many that were simply sweet.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 9:19PM
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