The heat is on and peppers are rapidly ripening in Georgia. Whether you grow your own or purchase from local growers, the harvest is peaking in August and September. Four peppers known and loved by Georgia gardeners are highlighted here. All four have been great performers in our garden for several years. Two are mild and sweet and two are hot and spicy.

Peppers need lots of warm sunshine to grow and ripen and these four varieties are no exception. The plants also need support so the weight of the fruit won’t cause the branches to snap.

Handle Peppers with Care

We can’t celebrate all the great qualities of peppers without a word of caution. Removing the seeds can reduce the heat of hot peppers but take care when handling them. Always wear gloves. The oils can irritate your fingers and burn your skin. The oil really lingers on your hands for a while. You’ll have an unpleasant surprise if you handle hot peppers then make the mistake of rubbing your eyes or mouth. If you are preparing a lot of peppers, the fumes can even irritate your eyes and lungs. It is a good idea to have plenty of air circulation and some nearby remedies like milk or yogurt to cool the burn if you run into problems.

Four Peppers Known and Loved by Georgia Gardeners

Carmen41. Carmen Italian Sweet Peppers

Don’t be fooled by its conical shape and bright red color, the Carmen Italian Pepper is actually very sweet, not the least bit hot. Although some people enjoy this pepper while it’s green, the sweet flavor is fully developed when it turns red. Each cone or horn-shaped fruit is very large, averaging about 6” in length. These crisp peppers are delicious sliced into strips for snacking, chopped in a salad, grilled or roasted whole.

2. California Wonder Sweet Bell Peppers

The delicious California Wonder bell peppers are very versatile. Like the Carmen variety, they’re sweet and their flavor fully develops when they turn red. They are predictably uniform in shape and size so they are great for stuffing. However, they’re also crisp and delicious eaten raw in a salad or snack. California Wonders are also sturdy and hold up very well on the grill.

Pablanos53. Poblano Peppers

When mature, Pablano peppers average 4” to 6” in length. They are shaped like an elongated heart and can be curled slightly. As they ripen these peppers turn from a deep green to a deep red. Although many describe it as a mild hot pepper, the redder it gets, the hotter it gets! The Poblano is one of the most popular in Mexico, commonly used in Chile Rellenos, stuffed with meat or cheese. When dried, Pablano peppers are called Ancho Chiles, which can be used to season a variety of sauces.


4. Jalepeno Peppers

These beautiful little peppers pack some heat. Like the Pablano, Jalepenos can be eaten green but left on the vine they turn bright red. The redder they get, the hotter they will be. Jalepeno skins may also crack on the surface creating a striped effect along the pepper. This is called “corking” and it occurs naturally during growth spurts. Corking usually indicates that the pepper will be hotter. In many countries, the Jalepenos with corking are considered the most valuable.

Available Now, Ripe, Plentiful & Packed with Nutrition

Although nothing beats the texture and flavor of peppers picked right out of the garden, they can be enjoyed year-round. These peppers can be eaten raw, roasted, grilled, stuffed, stir-fried, added to many recipes, pickled, dried and even frozen.

They are easy to grow in your own backyard and in containers. If you aren’t a gardener, they are readily available in markets all around the south this time of year.

Peppers are a great source of fiber and full of nutrition, including vitamins C, A, and B6, Potassium and powerful cancer and cardio vascular disease fighting antioxidants. Hot peppers are high in capsaicin, which may reduce inflammation. When allowed to fully ripen, red peppers usually have higher vitamin content than green peppers. Specific details regarding the nutritional value of peppers are covered in the source links below.

The Kitchnn
“The Best Remedies for Hot Pepper Hands” by Christine Gallary
Gardening Know How
“Jalapeño Skin Cracking: What Is Corking On Jalapeño Peppers” by Amy Grant
Simply Recipes
“Tip: How to Check for the Hotness of Jalapenos”
by Elise Bauer
“A Visual Guide to Peppers” by Esther Sung
“Top Anti-Inflammatory Fruits and Veggies” by David Novak
Authority Nutrition
“Bell Peppers 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits” by Dr. Atli Arnarson
Nutrition and You
“Jalapeno peppers nutrition facts”