Why are my peppers bitter? – How to sweeten peppers in the garden

Whether you like them fresh, stir-fried or stuffed, peppers are a classic dinner vegetable and very versatile. Their slightly sweet flavour enhances spicy, herbaceous and savoury dishes, while the variety of colours encourages any recipe. There are few things more appealing than a bitter pepper in a favourite dish. What causes bitter peppers? The reasons can be cultural, varied or simply the result of an impatient gardener.

What causes bitter peppers?

Their pepper harvest is underway and the first sacrificial lamb has made its way into their best recipe. But unfortunately, why are my peppers bitter? It’s a common practice in the ripe pepper family. Green peppers have a balance of sweet and bitter when they are ripe, but if you leave them on the plant to ripen further, they develop beautiful colours and a much sweeter flavour. If you grow peppers and want sweet fruit, you often just have to wait.
If your «sweet» peppers are bitter, the variety may be the cause. Peppers are the most popular, but there are many other sweet varieties with elongated shapes.

  • The horn-shaped peppers are deep red and have a succulent sweet taste.
  • Sweet peppers are bites of hot candy that make recipes hotter or give a bit of punch as raw, crunchy treats.
  • Roasted peppers become even sweeter when cooked. Their elongated shape and rich red colour add a dynamic touch to recipes.

There are many other varieties from all over the world, with a rich, sweet taste and unique shapes. Among the varieties of peppers, the red pepper is the sweetest, while the green, less ripe, has a natural bitterness accompanied by sweet notes.

Fixing a bitter pepper

Because pepper plants like hot, dry places in general, they are generally considered drought tolerant. This is not correct. In fact, bell varieties need a lot of water, especially when they produce the fruit. In average summer temperatures, plants need 2 cm (5 cm) of water twice a week while growing. This amount can double during extreme heat events.
Once you have the flowers and have begun to bear fruit, keep the soil moist at 46 cm (16 inches). (18 cm) up to the roots. Aerial watering will be more frequent than using a garden hose or drip system, which directs moisture to the soil and roots.
How to sweeten peppers in the garden? The short answer is to be patient. The time it takes for your fruit to reach its sweetest state, red, will depend on your climate and the care you take with the crop. Most take 65 to 75 days to reach full maturity, but many factors can change this time.
Most of the time, peppers do not ripen from the plant. If the pepper is almost red and your season is coming to an end, leave it on the counter in a sunny spot for a few days. Often it will ripen a little longer. However, when it comes to refrigeration, the process stops.
You can also try to remove a few leaves around the fruit on the plant to allow more light to penetrate. If you have peppers that turn red, remove the green ones so that the plant can concentrate on finishing the fruit.

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