Saving seeds from your garden peppers allows you to grow the same plants each year without purchasing new seed. Hot pepper seeds are also edible, often used to add spice to dishes. Whether you are harvesting sweet or hot pepper seeds, the seeds must be properly dried for storage, otherwise they will rot. Harvest seed only from non-hybrid plants if you wish to grow them in the garden the following year. Save seeds from hybrid or non-hybrid if you only desire them as a spice.
Pick fully mature peppers for saving seeds. Only fully mature seeds are viable for planting and the more mature the seed the hotter the flavor if you are saving as a spice. Harvest the peppers when they reach full color and the skin near the stem begins to wrinkle.
Cut open the pepper with a sharp knife. Scoop out the seeds and spread them on a paper towel in a single layer so none of the seeds are touching.
Place the pepper seeds in a warm, dry room to dry for one to two weeks. Replace the paper towel during the drying period if it begins to feel damp.
Place the dried seeds in a sealed jar or a plastic bag. Label the jar with the pepper variety and the year harvested. Store in a cool, dry place until ready to replant or use as a spice.
Things You Will Need
- Paper towels
- Plastic bag
- Non-hybrid peppers are often labeled as open-pollinated or heirloom on the seed packet or plant label.
- Store seeds in a glass jar in the refrigerator. Most seeds should be stored at temperatures between 32 and 41 F, making the fridge the perfect climate for storage.
- Avoid touching your eyes and wash your hands thoroughly after handling hot peppers, as the oil from the peppers burns your eyes if it gets in them.