A while back, The Motley Monk received an email containing the following image:
The trouble is, none of that is true.
According to Jill Henderson over at "Show Me Oz," "this bit of trot is absolutely false and you should ignore it entirely and continue treating all peppers the same way you always have, whether it be for growing, consuming, or seed saving."
But, Henderson notes, truth is oftentimes stranger than fiction:
...all peppers – hot or sweet, bell or chili – belong to the Nightshade family whose Latin botanical name is Solanaceae (pronounced so-lan-AY-see-eeor sometimes so-lan-AY-see-eye). In addition to peppers, this family includes garden tomatoes, eggplant and potatoes.
All peppers – indeed, all Nightshade family members – have what are called “perfect” flowers. Perfect flowers are “perfect” because each individual flower contains both male and female sexual reproductive organs (stamens and pistils).
....Pepper flowers are bisexual (or what botanists like to call hermaphroditic).
The vegetables we know as peppers – in this case, bell peppers – are the fruits of Capsicum annuum. The fruits contain ovaries, which in turn produce seed. And each individual pepper is produced through the self-fertilization of a flower that is both male and female.
Each individual pepper contains one or more chambers (locules) and a central placenta (the white pithy part of the pepper) upon which seeds are born. The number of chambers a pepper has is purely genetic and has no impact on saving seeds, sweetness of flesh, or number of seeds produced.
The "take away"?
Next time the recipe calls for using peppers, remember the "sex scandal" that was involved!
Let the discussion begin...
To read Jill Henderson's post, click on the following link: