What kind of pepper is this? How to identify mystery peppers

This year, a significant seed scandal known as PepperGate has affected gardeners nationwide, resulting in mislabeled pepper seeds. Consequently, many gardening enthusiasts face an intriguing mystery in their gardens: “What type of pepper is this?” 

Mixing up seedlings is not uncommon on an individual level, but this year’s situation has exacerbated the challenge. Gardeners across the country are now on a quest to identify the true varieties of their pepper plants. 

If you find yourself puzzled by the peppers growing in your garden, don’t worry! Read on for practical steps to identifying your mystery peppers.

3 ways of identifying pepper plants

Before you start worrying about PepperGate, make sure to examine all your seed packets to see if it may be a simple mistake of mixed-up seedlings. If you don’t have a packet for the fruit that you’ve grown, there are several effective ways to identify the mystery peppers growing in your garden. These methods will give you the confidence to recognize and enjoy the unique characteristics of each pepper variety you’ve cultivated.

Match photos to the pepper directory

If you’re puzzled about the peppers growing in your garden, don’t worry! We have a comprehensive pepper directory with over 50 pepper varieties that can come to your rescue. Take a moment to browse through the directory and see if any of the photos bear a resemblance to your mystery pepper. Sometimes, a visual comparison can be the key to unlocking the pepper’s identity. Additionally, leverage the power of online resources and conduct a Google search based on the characteristics of the pepper you are growing to gain further insights.

Leverage online gardening communities

Join our small but growing online community of spicy food enthusiasts for free and share your pepper photos to seek identification help. Our community members are passionate about all things spicy and can be a valuable resource in identifying the peppers you’re growing. 

You can also turn to Facebook, where you’ll find numerous gardening groups to post photos of your pepper and request assistance from fellow gardeners. However, keep in mind that the responses may vary widely, so it’s essential to approach the information with an open mind and be prepared to conduct further research to confirm the accurate identification of your pepper plants.

Use Google Lens or a plant identification app 

Leverage the power of technology to effortlessly identify your pepper plants by using Google Lens or a reliable plant identification app. With just your smartphone, you can unravel the mystery of your peppers in no time.

Here’s how you can use Google Lens if you have an Android device: 

a screenshot of google lens trying to identify a small pepper
  1. Capture a clear photo: Take a clear, focused photo of the pepper fruit using your smartphone’s camera. Ensure that the pepper is well-lit and clearly visible in the image.
  2. Open Google Photos: If you have an Android device, open the Google Photos app. It comes pre-installed on most Android phones.
  3. Access Google Lens: Look for the “Lens” button in the Google Photos app. It usually appears as a small square icon with a dot in the center.
  4. Select the pepper: Tap the “Lens” button and select the pepper fruit in the photo as the focus area. Google Lens will analyze the image.
  5. View visual matches: After analyzing the photo, Google Lens will present you with visual matches that closely resemble your pepper plant.
  6. Choose the best match: Examine the visual matches and click on the image that most closely resembles the pepper you are trying to identify.
  7. Explore information: Once you click on the image, Google Lens will take you to a website that contains valuable information about the identified pepper variety. Here, you can learn more about its flavor, spiciness, growing habits, and other relevant details.

iPhone users have two options: download the Google Lens app from the App Store or use the Google image search function. Regardless of your chosen method, capturing a clear, focused photo of the pepper fruit is crucial for accurate identification.

There are also apps based on AI technology that can help identify photos of your peppers. My favorite free plant app is PlantNet (download it on Android or iPhone). Again, the results and accuracy can vary significantly.

How do I know if the pepper is sweet or hot?

Determining whether a pepper is sweet or hot can be tricky, especially when dealing with unidentified varieties that might look similar. Until you have a positive identification, it’s challenging to know for sure if the pepper is sweet or hot.

If you’re unsure about the spiciness level of the pepper and you happen to be sensitive to spice, consider enlisting the help of friends or family willing to do a taste test for you. By having someone with a higher spice tolerance sample the pepper, you can verify its heat level without subjecting yourself to any potential discomfort.

Identifying mystery peppers in your garden may pose challenges, but it also offers an exciting opportunity to explore something new. By following the practical steps outlined in this article, you can confidently determine the pepper varieties in your garden. 

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