Growing peppadews

Growing peppadews from seed is a breeze. Never pay a lot of money for the rights to grow a new variety; they are so easy to plant that you'll never get your capital back.

First bred in the nineties, this is a pepper that really should take the market by storm, but for some reason it hasn't. It has all the piquant flavour of the chili family without the extreme heat.




What exactly does piquant mean? According to Professor Google they have  a pleasantly sharp and appetising flavour; spicy, peppery and hot; that's about right.

But they not too hot.

Perhaps more important, the pepper family in general have strongly anti inflammatory properties in the body, but many of them are so hot that you can't get enough of the active ingredient, capsaicin; that's just another reason for the chiropractor to advocate enjoying these beauties fresh from the garden. Do you have angry joints and muscles?

Peppadews are a spicy exception in the chili family; they are hot without blowing your head off; you could bite into one provided you gave the seeds the miss.

Peppadew recipes are so diverse; you could eat them straight from the jar, or enjoy them stuffed with feta cheese or hummus for example. We enjoy them daily through the summer in our eggs Florentine for breakfast; they give the spinach a bit of zip.

Then you can toss them into stews, slice them raw on bread and butter and add them to a salad; versatile is the word.


These are mixed salads from Bernard Preston's garden. There are three peppadews; smaller and to the left. Add olive oil and lemon juice and a scoop of homemade hummus and you have the makings of a very healthy meal. There are least seven different coloured vegetables in this photograph; sparkling good health in one meal.


Growing peppadews

The only difficult part about growing peppadews is to find one raw fruit; carve out the seeds and spread them on absorbent paper to dry, and store them until spring.

Then you can plant them in seed boxes and keep in a warm spot, or drop them straight into the ground; we do both. They germinate very easily like most peppers provided the earth isn't still cold.

The plants grow to about two or three feet high; the branches will be so heavy in fruit that they should be supported, or they will collapse and won't turn red.





On a fence to which you can stake them or, better still, between horizontal bars about two feet high over which the branches can droop. Do keep them from lying on the ground under the weight of the fruit.

You do need to be patient; it's a long growing season but once they start to bear you can look forward to several months of fruit. I enjoy at least two or three virtually every day for several months. They will do wonders for an otherwise rather dull lettuce salad, for example.

Six plants have kept us in fruit for months; they just keep bearing, but then we do plant them in well composted soil; they are heavy feeders. And with beehives in the garden every single flower is pollinated.

They die back in a mild winter, and will grow again in the spring, but they are never as prolific. I advise you to keep a few of last year's plants as they'll bearer sooner, but plant more seed too.

They'll cross with any chilies or jalapenos in your garden, which means they can be very spicy; it's a bit of a Russian roulette. Some like it hot.

Cutting out the seeds and placenta will certainly reduce the heat, but that's where much of the capsaicin is found.




So, growing peppadews isn't difficult. Water them well during any dry periods, like any other plants in the veggie garden.

The pepper family in general is the second richest source of vitamin C, after citrus; this week is the winter solstice and we're still enjoying them every day. Growing peppadews brings months of joy to your cooking; and better protection against colds and flu.

Last week I chopped up about 20 fruit and froze them; they'll last right through early summer until the new plants start to bear in December in the southern hemisphere.

Growing peppadews is a breeze if you enjoy gardening and good fresh food straight from your own veggie patch, giving great protection against inflamed and angry joints, muscles and even the inner linings of arteries. Food and inflammation are undeniably linked.

Read more about what this eminent surgeon has to say about foods to reduce inflammation.


Wild leeks and peppadews are the start of our eight colors eggs Florentine; you don't get a more delicious and healthy breakfast. I like it quite soupy on toast made from our artisan bread; the wife likes it dry, but either way we both love it.

It's purely anecdotal but I'm convinced that it's foods like this that make us able to enjoy a life without medication. Plenty of exercise too of course is important.

Do you want to get off medication? Start enjoying coloured foods every day. Let your food be your medicine.


Supporting your peppadews

Supporting your peppadews, and other plants like broad beans that you can see is important; those that become top heavy with fruit.

The good wife has scratched herself on wire ties, so I'm trying it with string; frankly I don't recommend.

In the Spring when the beans come out, we'll grow peppadews is this patch; the wild leeks grow all over the garden; despite some reports they don't seem to mind the legumes, not are the latter affected by them.

These poles aren't concreted in; they are very easy to move to a different location; they are made of treated timber, or they will rot in a season.


Macular degeneration

One of the reasons I am passionate about many coloured vegetables is the high content of lutein and zeaxanthin, the two carotenoids found in very high concentration in the macula of the eye where they give protection against high energy light.

Research shows that fruits and vegetables of various colours, like peppadews, have a relatively content of these two phytochemicals that protect us from age related macular degeneration.

Corn, egg yolks, spinach and orange peppers top the list. Fruits and vegetables that are sources for lutein and zeaxanthin: the macular pigment in human eyes


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