How To Choose Which Peppers To Keep For Seed

These are 3 peppers from my Scotch Bonnet Remix project.

They are F3 fruits from a cross between Scotch Bonnet and some unknown sweet pepper. That means this is 3 generations since they crossed.

We have a few hundred plants in the field and I’m trying to choose a handful to grow out next year.

What I’ve done so far is choose the plants with heavy yields of ripe fruit. I want early abundance!!!

I’ve also selected around fruit shape and colour. I’m looking for vivid colours and distinctive shapes. (Though I’m not the harshest on this criteria.)

I’ve split the ripe fruit from each plant into two paper bags labelled with an identifying code. One bag goes to my kitchen and the other stays at the farm.

The kitchen bags are where I am at now. I spend my evenings tasting fruit from different bags and deciding to keep or discard the selection.

I consider two things as I taste.

First is flavour. I want something sweet and tasty. We have no time for bitter and bland. Those peppers are already out there.

Second is heat. Though this cross has one very hot parent, there is not the same degree of heat in the F3 generation. In fact, some have no heat at all.

I’m trying to select two groups of fruit. Some with absolutely no heat at all to be a tasty compact sweet pepper.

And a group of reliable spicy peppers.

This means that I need to taste each pepper, and when I hit a hot one. I’m out of the game for a bit before I can go and taste another one.

You would think it would be easy to determine whether a pepper is hot or not.

Two days ago, I tasted one pepper with quite sweet mild flesh. I was getting ready to put it in my sweet and mild keeper pile.

Then my lip brushed a seed. This left a searing hot spot that burned for a good thirty minutes.

I can’t put that in the sweet and milds. But is it a hot and spicy if only the seeds are hot?

I leave a couple of notes on the paper bag and move on to the next. I can come back to this later.

As I sort and discard and consider, I’ll keep track of the codes I like.

Then I can go back to those bags at the farm with the same code and extract the seed from those peppers.

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