Your own sweet peppers

Here's how to choose the best varieties for color, shape, and flavor

How to grow sweet peppers
Photo: Rob D. Brodman

Homegrown sweet peppers are packed with flavor, whether you serve them fresh, sautéed, or roasted. Grow a single variety and you'll discover that just one won't do ― you'll want to experiment with a medley of types.

Bell: The familiar blocky pepper tastes as good fresh as it does when baked or sautéed. Its crisp, thick flesh comes in a rainbow of colors. Many bells start out green and mature to red or orange. Others start out yellow, purple, or white before they turn colors. Bright orange 'Ariane' and red 'Socrates Hybrid' are very sweet. 'Golden Bell' keeps its yellow color. When stuffed, 'Miniature Yellow Bell' makes perfect hors d'oeuvres.

Pimiento: Juicy, heart-shaped fruits have very thick flesh that's especially sweet when ripe red. They're more aromatic than bell peppers. Grocery stores often sell pimientos preserved in oil, but the fruits are also good for eating fresh or cooked. Diminutive 'Apple' is a favorite.

Thin-walled: The long, narrow peppers with pointed or blocky ends have flesh that's usually thinner and less juicy than other types, but they're great for cooking. 'Carmen' and 'Corno di Toro' are super sweet; 'Sweet Banana' is very productive.

Info: Johnny's Selected Seeds (207/861-3900); Tomato Growers Supply Company (888/478-7333)


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