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The Mysterious Peppadew Pepper

There is a lot of mystery surrounding the Peppadew and its elusive seeds.

Peppadew is a trademarked name for a certain preparation of slightly sweet and slightly hot pickled bright red piquanté peppers from the Limpopo province of South Africa. Although the Peppadew-type pepper is sometimes described as a cross between a pepper and a tomato, this description is not botanically accurate, and refers only to the resemblance in color and size between the peppers and cherry tomatoes. A Peppadew pepper is a particular kind of capsicum, prepared in a particular way.

The Peppadew story goes like this:  A few years ago, businessman and farmer was looking around the garden of his holiday home in the Eastern Cape in South Africa. He spotted an unusual-looking bush, standing head high, laden with small bright red fruit which looked like something between miniature red peppers and cherry tomatoes

Gingerly, he bit into one. It had a unique, delicious taste – a mixture of peppery and sweet, but with a distinctive flavor. Rightly believing that he had hit upon something really new, he saved seeds from the ripened fruit of the mother plant , cultivated the seedlings, developed the secret recipe with which to process the fruit and gave the processed fruit the name PEPPADEW™ (they are obviously peppery but are as sweet and tantalizing as the dew).

Now, if I could only find some seeds!


Hatch Chile Stew Recipe

Ingredients:  2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil  – 3 Medium Onions, Chopped  – 2 Garlic Cloves, Crushed –  2 Pounds Sirloin Steak, Cut into 1/2″ cubes –  1 Can (28 ounces) Tomatoes, Drained  – 1 Can (6 ounces) Tomato Paste – 1 Cup Chopped Green Chiles  – 3 Tablespoons Red Chile Powder, Hot or Mild –  1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin  – 2 Teaspoons Salt –  6 Whole Cloves  – 1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper  – 6 Cups Water

Instructions:  Heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic, saute until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add cubed beef and cook until no longer pink. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, green chiles, red chile powder, ground cumin, salt, cloves and cayenne pepper and 6 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 hours stirring occasionally. Enjoy with warm buttered flour tortillas.

Plan Your Pepper Gardens Now

Now is the time to be planning your pepper garden. Plant the peppers that you will use or the peppers that you plan on selling at market.  I strongly recommend the Hatch Green chile seeds. They kept me in fresh green chile all season long!
My favorites last season were Shishito, Cayenne, Chocolate Habanero, Barker’s Hot, Sandia Hot, and Hatch (AgCo Fire Green). I also really like the hybrid Giant Marconi.
There are thousands of ways to enjoy peppers, and here area few examples of how I use mine.  The sweet shishitos were fried in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. The cayenne was dried and ground into powder for chocolate cayenne cookies. One very hot chocolate habanero was used in each of my fresh salsa batches. The Barker’s, Sandias and Hatch were all freshly roasted on my gas grill each night for dinner. The sweet Giant Marconi’s were new for me, and they were deliciously stuffed and baked.
Seeds from
As the owner of Sandia Seed Company, I grow all 27 varieties of seeds to guarantee the integrity of the seeds. My garden contains mostly bhut jolokia plants for the seed production. I plant my favorites at the edge of the garden for easy access and harvesting. Happy planning.

Heirloom, Open-Pollinated and Hybrid Seeds

This is the time of year that many gardeners start planning their spring gardens. It can be helpful to know the difference between hybrid seeds and open pollinated(OP)/heirloom seeds.  The OP/ heirloom seeds  are the best choice if seeds from the plants will be saved and replanted the following year.  The fruit from OP/heirloom seeds often taste  better, but the plants may not have the disease resistance that hybrids do.  “Open pollinated” and “Heirloom” can be used synonymously, but the main difference is that heirloom seeds are designated by age: plants between 50-150 years old.

Commercial F1 hybrid varieties are popular, they have been created for better yields and improved disease resistence. The seed of hybrid fruits should not be saved. It will not grow true to form because the F1 hybrid seeds are produced by crossing two different parent varieties. Seed saved from hybrids will either be sterile or the plants of the next generation may show wide variation in characteristics, uniformity and maturity.

There is a place for both hybrid and OP/ heirloom seeds in the garden, and it is important to know the difference between them.  A good balance of these two in the garden will increase the dividends for DIY food producers.

Chile Peppers Are a Hot Diet Food

If you want to lose weight, eating hot peppers as part of your diet will help boost your metabolism.
Several studies have shown that hot peppers can curb your appetite, burn fat, and inhibit fat cell growth.
One representative clinical study conducted by scientists at the Laval University in Quebec found that eating cayenne at breakfast decreased appetite and led to lower fat and calorie intake throughout the day. Cayenne helps boost your metabolism and induces that body to burn off more fat instead of storing it in the body.

Chimayó Chiles

Chimayó, N.M. is famous for its heirloom chiles. Chimayó chiles are landrace chiles grown for generations in one small valley north of Santa Fe and east of Espanola. In the 1600’s, the seeds were brought by Spaniards to Santa Fe and then into the historic village of Chimayó.


El Sanctuaria de Chimayó is a Roman Catholic church located in a fertile valley 30 minutes north of Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountains. This shrine is a National Historic Landmark, famous for the story of its founding and as a contemporary pilgrimage site. It receives almost 300,000 visitors per year and has been called, the most important Catholic Easter pilgrimage center in the United States. 

The Chimayó Chile Project was established to replenish the 300-year-old native seed stock and revive the local chile industry.  It helps local farmers produce crops through its heirloom Chimayó seed distribution.

Once you have tasted Chimayó red chile, no other red chile will satisfy. It has an earthy sweet New Mexico red chile taste that ends with a little heat. It keeps your lips hot and your mouth desiring more.

Chocolate Habanero

Yum, this little pepper has great taste and extreme heat.  Its scoville unit rating is 325,000 to 425,000 making it still edible and delicious in salsa. This habanero may be the most productive variety of all. More than 150 peppers can be harvested from one plant. The fruits begin green in color and grow to 2-1/2″ around. They turn chestnut brown and then a deep chocolaty brown at full maturity.  Here in Albuquerque the harvest began in early September, and is still going strong 4 weeks later.

With a huge increase in growing and consuming hot peppers this one is very valuable. Farmer’s markets and Organic stores sell these for a premium.

Chocolate Habanero – Capsicum chinense – (110 days)  Seeds can be purchased at

Bhut jolokia is viciously HOT!

The famous Bhut jolokia at over 1,000,000 scoville units is soooo popular. Could it be that it is rare and unique? Or that only insane people place it on their lips? It is fun to grow and quite a conversation piece.

I grow hundreds of them and collect the seeds. It is fun to hand someone a whole pepper, and watch them jump back as if the blistering heat inside the pepper will attack them from 3 ft away. But, once the pepper has been broken open.

 Watch Out!

You must have hand protection, eye protection, and breathing protection. I suggest being outside with a fan blowing behind you. Don’t put your face over the pepper, because you’ll start crying and coughing for half an hour.

Oh yeh, we are going to place these in our mouth???