February 5, 2012

Growing Peppers from Dried Peppers

Two peppers I dried last fall.
I love hot peppers.  They're delicious, and easy to dry.  So, of course, I'm turning to hot peppers as the first recycled from the kitchen vegetable in my garden.  This is easy since I have 2 dried peppers left from the ones I dried as part of last year's crop.

Discolored Left Pepper, Perfect Right Pepper

It's easy to tell which of the two peppers dried properly. Just from looking at them.  The discoloration on the pepper on the left shows that it was too moist during drying and instead of creating perfectly edible pepper deliciousness, it molded inside.

The difference is quickly apparent when you cut into the two peppers.  In the pictures below, the discolored pepper is moldy and gray while the regular pepper has a dry, flaky texture and the seeds are healthy and mold free.  Keeping your peppers in a dry place helps prevent this, but sometimes even minor differences in light/moisture can make a huge difference.  In this case, these peppers dried inches apart, and one was fine while the other was useless.

inside the discolored pepper

inside the good pepper
Step 1:  To start the new pepper plants, I threw away the bad pepper, and separated out the seeds from the pepper itself.  The dried pepper is easy to grind and use in something awesome like a spicy pasta sauce or salsa.

Step 2:  I filled a small glass with water and tossed the seeds in to soak for the day (2-8 hours is great, but if you forget and soak them overnight it's not the end of the world).  Soaking these seeds helps them get started faster.  Notice how the seeds are floating in the picture to the left?  A good sign they're done soaking is when the seeds sit at the bottom of the glass, which will take some time.

Step 3:  Gently push your seeds a bit down into some potting soil and cover with a dash of soil.  

Step 4:  place in a sunny window and water occasionally.  You can also make an indoor greenhouse really easily to encourage them to grow more quickly.

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