Growing your own heirloom or open-pollinated hot or sweet peppers allows you access to viable seed stock for next year. Heirloom varieties are sold by most seed suppliers, but the same ones may not be carried each year. Saving your own seeds ensures you can grow these favorite peppers each year without depending on seed companies to supply your stock. Peppers are one of the least difficult of the garden vegetables to harvest and store seeds from, making them a suitable plant for first-time seed savers as well.
Pick the healthiest and best-looking pepper from the plant when it is fully ripe, at full color, and when the skin has begun to wrinkle.
Cut the pepper in half and scoop out the seeds. Separate the seeds from the white pith, which may remain attached to some of the seeds.
Spread the seeds out on a paper plate and set them in a warm, dry room. Allow the seeds to dry for one week.
Label a jar or envelope with the pepper type and year harvested. Place the seeds inside and tightly screw the lid on the jar, or seal the envelope.
Store the pepper seeds in a dry, cool place until you are ready to plant in spring. Place them in a room at 32 to 41 degrees F, or store them in a jar inside the refrigerator.