Save Pepper Seeds – How to Harvest Chilli Seeds

Looking to save pepper seeds? Are you captivated by growing your peppers but unsure how to harvest and save pepper seeds for the next planting season? This article reveals expert pepper seed-saving techniques backed by extensive research and years of gardening experience.

Get ready to transform into a masterful pepper cultivator as we walk you through each step with practical tips and tricks.

citron chillies from chillichumpseeds.com

Harvest the Peppers

To harvest and store pepper seeds, wait for the peppers to ripen fully and then cut them open to remove the seeds.

Wait for the Fruit to Fully Ripen on Your Pepper Plant

Knowing when to harvest pepper seeds is crucial for viable seeds and a successful yield of chilli plants each year. Choosing the right peppers to use as seed savers is important. The key sign is the full ripeness of the pepper, as this ensures that the seeds have had enough time to mature completely.

Fully ripe peppers show a vibrant color and slightly wrinkled skin while feeling heavy in hand, regardless of the variety of peppers. Typically, hot peppers turn from green to red or yellow when fully matured, whereas sweet bell peppers can ripen into several colors, including red, yellow, orange, or even purple – save those seeds! Patience pays off here as waiting too long to save pepper seeds might cause rotting, but harvesting too soon means immature and potentially unviable seeds. 

Don’t save pepper seeds from unripe green peppers, as you’ll be disappointed when it’s time to plant your favorite varieties each year and none of your pepper plant seeds germinate.

Cut Open Ripe Peppers and Remove Seeds

red chilli pepper sliced open with seeds showing

Dig out a pair of sharp scissors or a knife, and it’s time to cut open those mature peppers. The first step requires slicing directly down the middle. Simply cut the pepper in half lengthways.

Be careful during this process; you don’t want to cut through and damage your precious seeds accidentally.

Next up is seed removal. Carefully inspect the inside of each pepper. Pepper seeds look like clusters of off-white seeds nestled against the inner walls. We use a spoon or fingers to gently but firmly scrape to loosen all seeds from their holdfasts. To be completely safe, wear gloves when harvesting seeds, as they will be coated in capsaicin from the pepper membrane. 

Do not leave any stray seeds behind since they hold potential future harvests! If seeds are properly stored, they can last for many years.

Clean and Dry Pepper Seeds

After removing the seeds from the peppers, rinse them under cold water to wash away any residual flesh and pat them dry. Then, turn the seeds out on a plate or baking sheet, ensuring they aren’t touching each other.

Leave these in a dry location in a well-ventilated spot away from direct sunlight for about one to two weeks, allowing your seeds to dry completely. This drying process ensures that your seeds are free of pathogens, which can compromise their viability when you’re ready to plant.

Rotate the seeds every couple of days to ensure seeds are dry enough to store successfully. Once thoroughly dried, please store your dry seeds properly for successful germination next season.

This video walks you through the process of saving chilli pepper seeds:

Using a Dehydrator to Save Pepper Seeds

While using a dehydrator to save pepper seeds is possible, you must be careful not to “cook” the seeds. Don’t allow the temperature to exceed 35 degrees Celsius or 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Some cheaper dehydrators can still overheat the seeds, even with a thermostat, because it blasts our air at a very high temperature that could scorch the seeds. With these cheaper dehydrators, place the seeds as far away from the heating element as you can.

Can You Save Pepper Seeds from Store-bought Peppers?

Saving seeds from store-bought peppers is possible but may not always be successful. Store-bought peppers are often harvested before they are fully ripe, which means the seeds inside may not be fully developed. Additionally, there is a possibility that store-bought peppers have been treated with chemicals that can affect the viability of the seeds. It is best to save seeds from your own peppers to ensure the highest chances of successful germination, as these seeds are more likely to germinate and grow true to the original parent plant.

Store Your Seeds Properly

Storing your harvested pepper seeds properly is crucial to ensure their longevity and viability. Your seeds should be dry before you move them into storage. It’s important to keep the seeds in a cool, dry place, such as a pantry or basement, away from direct sunlight or moisture.

Following these storage guidelines, you can maximize the chances of successfully germinating and growing your saved pepper seeds in future planting seasons.

Store Seeds in a Cool, Dry Place

To ensure the longevity and viability of your harvested pepper seeds, storing them in a cool and dry place is crucial. This helps prevent moisture from entering the seeds, which can lead to mold or fungus growth.

Harvested pepper seeds need storage temperatures between 35-50 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature for pepper seeds helps to provide the ideal conditions to keep your seeds fully dry and in good shape for future planting. Additionally, use airtight plastic containers or bags to protect the seeds from any external factors that could see the seeds degrade or become moldy.

Storing your pepper seeds properly increases their chances of remaining viable for future planting seasons, ensuring you have seeds for the peppers you want to grow next season.

Tips for Successful Seed Saving

In this section, you’ll learn how to save pepper seeds for next year and beyond! Choose the largest and healthiest peppers for seed collection to ensure successful seed saving. Additionally, isolate different pepper varieties to avoid cross-pollination. Label and date your seed containers for easy identification.

Read on to learn more about these essential tips!

Choose the Largest and Healthiest Peppers for Seed Saving

Choosing the largest and healthiest peppers is essential when saving seeds from peppers. The size and quality of the pepper will directly affect the viability and success of the seeds.

Red Scotch Bonnets from chillichumpseeds.com

Look for fully ripe peppers with vibrant colors and firm skin. Avoid using smaller or damaged peppers, as their seeds may not be as healthy or viable. By selecting the best peppers for seed saving, you can ensure that your future plants will be strong and productive.

Avoid Cross-pollination by Isolating Different Pepper Varieties

To ensure your pepper seeds’ purity, avoiding cross-pollination is essential. This can be done by isolating different pepper varieties from each other. Separating the plants prevents them from sharing pollen and producing hybrid seeds.

This is especially crucial to save seeds that grow true to the parent plant. So, keep your sweet peppers away from hot peppers and separate different types of peppers in your garden or growing area.

Ensure your peppers don’t cross-pollinate by taking these precautions. You can maintain the integrity of each pepper variety and have high-quality seeds for future planting.

Here’s a video showing you how to isolate chilli pepper plants:

Label and Date your Seed Containers

When storing your pepper seeds, it’s important to label and date your seed containers. This will help you keep track of the varieties and ensure that you use fresh seeds each year.

You can use a permanent marker or labels to mark the container with the name of the pepper variety and the date it was harvested. If you label your seeds, you can quickly identify where seeds came from and maintain a well-organized collection of seeds for seed starting next year’s plants in future seasons.

Check the Viability of Stored Pepper Seeds for Planting

To ensure that your saved pepper seeds are viable and ready for planting, it’s essential to test the seeds and check their viability. This will help you determine if the seeds can still sprout and grow into healthy plants.

Pepper seed storage

Conducting this simple test will save you time and effort in planting non-viable seeds, allowing you to focus on those with the highest chance of success.

Conduct a Germination Test to Determine Seed Viability

Before planting your stored seeds, it is important to check their viability. This can be done by conducting a germination test.  Place a few seeds on paper towels or newspapers or in small pots with soil and keep them warm and moist.

 Here’s how to do it:

  1. Dampen a paper towel or a piece of newspaper with water until it is moist but not dripping.
  2. Place ten pepper seeds on half the damp paper towel.
  3. Fold the other half over the seeds to cover them completely.
  4. Seal the folded paper towel in a plastic bag.
  5. Keep the bag in a warm location, ideally around 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Check on the seeds every few days to see if they have sprouted.

After a week or two, you can see if the seeds have sprouted and if they are viable for planting

Replace Old or Non-viable Seeds Regularly

Replacing old or non-viable seeds regularly is essential to ensure successful seed saving. Over time, the viability of seeds can decrease, leading to lower germination rates and poor plant growth.

Replacing these seeds with fresh ones each year increases your chances of successful planting and healthy plants. It is recommended to conduct regular checks on stored seeds for viability before planting them.

This way, you can discard any seeds that are no longer viable and focus on using high-quality, healthy seeds for optimal results in your garden.

Conclusion

Now that you know how to harvest pepper seeds, you can save them for future planting. Remember to choose the ripest peppers and properly clean and dry the seeds. Store them in a cool, dry place using airtight containers.

By following these steps, you can preserve the viability of your pepper seeds, get great germination rates, and enjoy growing your peppers year after year.

FAQs

1. When is the Best Time to Harvest Pepper Seeds?

The best time to harvest pepper seeds is when they are fully ripe and have turned their mature color.

2. How do I Know if a Pepper is Ready for Seed Harvesting?

Depending on the variety, the pepper is ready for seed harvesting when it has reached its mature color, usually vibrant red, yellow, or orange. The skin should be firm and smooth.

3. How Should I Remove the Seeds from a Harvested Pepper?

To remove the seeds from a harvested pepper, cut open the fruit lengthwise and gently scrape out the seeds with a spoon or your fingers.

4. How do I Properly Store Harvested Pepper Seeds to Grow Peppers?

To properly store harvested pepper seeds, allow them to dry completely in a cool, well-ventilated area for about two weeks. Once dry, place them in an airtight container or envelope labeled with the variety name and date of collection. Store in a cool, dark place until ready to use or share with others.

5. Is the Process the Same for Sweet Peppers and Hot Peppers?

Yes, the process is generally the same. First, the peppers are allowed to ripen on the plant thoroughly. Once they are ripe, the peppers are picked from the plant. Next, the peppers are cut open, and the seeds are carefully removed and separated from the flesh. After that, the seeds are cleaned and dried before they can be stored or planted. 

4 thoughts on “Save Pepper Seeds – How to Harvest Chilli Seeds”

  1. Hello Mr. CC..Been awhile since I’ve had a chance to email you. I’m back to growing my Chile’s for family sauces and gifts, but a question I had for you. Instead of using guargum as an emulsifier, can I use Sunflower Lecithin. Thank you for your time kind Sir. And yes Chile X sounds vicious, good luck growing that puppy. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Rob Thomas. Suisun City,Ca.

  2. Hi Shaun, in your article you discuss seed viability. When doing this how do you decide what is a good viability when you’re looking g at selling seeds? Is there a germination rate ur looking for of the 10 samples? Is there a time frame you’re looking for? Thank you for the help!

    1. Hey Adrian. For the seeds I sell in my seed shop (chillichumpseeds.com) I set myself a high standard. Anything below 90%, and I discard all the seeds from that specific plant. I will typically sow 100 seeds, and count the germinated seeds after a specific period of time (some species take longer to germinate, so I allow a little longer for my testing).

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