Ornamental Pepper – Edible

Q: We have ornamental peppers in a planter. I know they aren’t hardy outdoors in winter but can we eat them before they freeze?

A: If you have not sprayed them with pesticides they are eminently edible! Be sure to taste them first though, some are quite hot. PanAmerican Seed has developed a less pungent ornamental pepper named ‘Chilly Chili’. It was named an All-America Selections Ornamental in 2002. If you decide not to eat them, you can bring the peppers indoors in a pot for the holidays. The red fruit are quite eye-catching. Keep in mind that not all holiday plants are edible: Jerusalem cherry has round, bright orange fruit but they are poisonous in the extreme.

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