LEMON DROP PEPPERS (Capsicum baccatum), or Aji Limon, are very special Peruvian chili seasoning heirlooms. Prolific producer - you simply won't believe it. And despite a very harsh winter here in North Carolina, I had no fewer than a dozen volunteers pop up around the original plant the following spring. Bright yellow, conical, crinkly fruits are 1/2" wide by 2-1/2" long. Very few seeds. The shrub-like plants are 2' high and 2' wide and covered with these brilliant fruits. Intensely hot, citrus flavor and fragrance. 90-100 days from transplant. Does very well in pots, so start a bunch of small pots and give as gifts to friends! They will love it! String loosely when fresh to make bright yellow ristras. Dry spread out on paper sheets and turn every few days so they retain that bright yellow color without browning. Then, when completely dry, gently pull the peppers together (wearing gloves of course) to tighten spacing on the string, loop and tie. Multiple strings (which you can easily achieve from one plant - they are that prolific) can create a truly impressive kitchen wreath. 10 seeds.
HEALTH BENEFITS: According to the American Heart Association, "Regular chili pepper consumers could have longer lifespans due to the fruit’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer and blood-glucose regulating properties. These factors play a role in reducing a person’s risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease or cancer."
ABOUT GROWING PEPPERS: Whether Sweet or Heat, peppers must be started indoors and really appreciate bottom warmth (80 degrees) and grow lights for vigorous starts. Be sure to pick varieties that will have sufficient time to complete their growth in your area. Also, hot peppers will be hotter as the temperature rises, so if you want heat and live in the north, buy the hottest varieties available so you won't be disappointed. Vice versa for the south. Use gloves when handling hot pepper seeds and some of the hot peppers themselves. Start peppers indoors 8 weeks before transplanting. Sow seeds 1/4" deep. Keep soil moist. Peppers may take up to two weeks to pop up. When weather warms (daytime soil near 80 degrees and nighttime temps above 50 degrees) you can transplant into rich prepared soil in a sunny position, about 18'' apart and, if in rows, about 24'' apart. I like to give my peppers some support, usually a stake or cage, as productive plants can keel over from the weight of their fruit. Consider spacing your peppers around your vegetable garden, as they can be helpful in warding off furry invaders of your greens and such. Use organic mulch to fend off weeds and keep soil moist in hot dry summers. Peppers need regular moderate watering, but water from below to avoid spreading blossom end rot. Peppers are so versatile. You can use fresh, cook them in a variety of ways, dry many varieties easily, and freeze many varieties for later cooking.