Saving Pepper Seed

So far, autumn has scored well on it’s rainy points. It’s been a little too wet to do tons in the field these days. We’ve been spending some of that rainy time processing pepper and eggplant seed. The extraction is similar to saving tomato seeds but without any fermentation.

After we harvest the ripe peppers, we let them sit around for a weeks to keep ripening. I spread the peppers out to keep them from rotting during that time.

We cut peppers open. Toss the core and seeds into a bucket. (The flesh goes into a different bucket to freeze for winter eating.)

Add water.

Separate seeds from fruit cores.

Then decant the pail. The viable seeds sink to the bottom. I discard any floating pepper seeds as they likely have a lower germination and won’t store as long. Sometimes the amount of floaters can be a bit disheartening.  Letting peppers continue to mature after picking before processing will significantly increase the amount of viable seed.

Collect the seeds in a colander and then spread them out to dry. (Or hang in nylon stockings – just like tomatoes.)


When I process hot peppers, I always use gloves. If I don’t my hands tingle for days afterwards.

Also, when I add water to the bucket there is always a wave of spicy fumes that emerge from the bucket. I have learned to hold my breath during that part of the process and turn my head away whenever I want to catch a breath.

I like saving pepper seed because there is usually a little more flexibility in seed cleaning than with tomatoes. This last weekend, we just had a hard frost shutting down field Solanaceae crops. In anticipation I picked bins of peppers to process. Had these been tomatoes, I would have to get squishing ASAP. But with the peppers, I will be able to spread seed saving over the next few weeks.

Next, eggplants …

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