Peppers belong to the Capsicum genus, of the Solanaceae family, such as tomatoes and aubergines, and like many other plants, it originates from South America; the most cultivated species is the capsicum annuum, a perennial but short-lived plant, which is generally cultivated as an annual plant. From this species many varieties have been derived, starting from the small red hot peppers, up to the large sweet peppers, more pulpy and absolutely not spicy. There are dozens of hybrids and cultivars, with various shapes and colors, and with different degrees of spiciness. Most of the essential oil contained in a chilli pepper, which makes it spicy, is contained in the seeds and internal filaments of the pulp; to decrease the spiciness of a chilli pepper, simply cook it by removing its seeds and filaments.
Cultivation of peppers
They originate from areas with a mild climate, therefore in Italy they cannot winter outdoors; generally they are planted in the vegetable garden in May-June, or in any case when the minimum temperatures are above 12-15 ° C. If desired, it is possible to sow the small seeds already in February-March, in a sheltered place, so as to obtain the small plants to be planted in the vegetable garden with the arrival of spring. Spicy chillies are generally of small size, and a single plant, which bears up to 15-20 fruits, does not exceed 40-50 cm; the sweet pepper plants, on the other hand, are decidedly larger, and therefore occupy more spice in the garden: they need to be planted at a distance of at least 40 cm from each other, in order to develop at best.
Let's position them in a sunny place, remembering however that these plants love quite fresh and not too dry soils: therefore more direct sun will take the plants and more will be watered, especially during the summer months.
The cultivation ground must be well fertile, worked thoroughly and mixed with well-mature manure, and very well drained, in order to avoid any type of water stagnation.
When planting the plants, we provide them with a guardian, so that they are not bent by the wind; then spread around each seedling of humus or slow release granular fertilizer.
The watering will be regular, let's thin them out in spring if the weather is rainy, let's practice them more frequently in summer when the sun is hot.
The harvest takes place in steps, since the flowering lasts a few weeks, the fruit ripening will also take place in this period of time.
Spicy chillies can be stored after being dried in the sun; sweet ones are generally eaten fresh, or prepared in preserves or in oil.