What’s Going On with These Peppers?

Chopping Peppers

Let’s start with some background. My peppers plants, planted back in April are still going strong. They have a lot of green fruits on them which are ripening slowly but surely. It’s been hot lately, but it was pretty cold a week ago, so they have seen quite a range of temperatures. Most of them are Corno di Toro and Jimmy Nardello, two Italian sweet pepper heirloom varieties.

Here I am happily chopping some Corno di Toro for a stir fry. As I am chopping I take a bite, I taste the familiar sweetness of these Italian peppers and then, ouch, it burns? Wow, this thing is hot! Hot like a New Mexico chile. But it doesn’t taste like a chile, it tastes like a sweet Italian pepper. Sweet and burning hot all at once. What’s wrong with these peppers?

I have been harvesting for a few months now from these very same Corno di Toro plants, and not once I got a spicy pepper. Not once. Actually, I’ve grown this variety for several years now. Never got even a hint of spiciness from them. So I am really surprised. Is it this bouncing from 50 degree days to 90 degree days we’ve been having this fall? Or maybe the shorter days of fall?

In any case, hot peppers make a great addition to any stir fry so after the initial surprise into the wok they went. Dinner turned out great and now I know not to take a big bite from my formerly sweet peppers.

6 Responses to “What’s Going On with These Peppers?”

  1. meemsnyc Says:

    That is so strange that it all of the sudden is spicy!! Really interesting.

  2. Michelle Says:

    That’s weird! I’ve never heard of Corno di Toro or Jimmy Nardello peppers turning hot. I know that stressing a hot pepper plant can make the peppers hotter, but I’ve never known an entirely sweet pepper to turn hot. Were they all spicy?

  3. Curbstone Valley Farm Says:

    Do you save your own seed each year for this variety? Peppers do have a tendency to cross, even with hot peppers in the garden, which can turn them spicy when the crossed seeds are planted. Just a thought!

  4. Vegetable Garden Cook Says:

    Seems you’re the second blogger I’ve come across that has had a sweet pepper turn hot recently. Must be an out crossing of some sort.

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