Drying chilli seeds
You should save seeds from particularly beautiful chilli peppers for next year. To preserve fresh chilli seeds, first dry them. If the seeds are dried carefully, they can germinate for at least two years. After that, the germination rate drops slightly, year after year.
If you plant seeds from fresh chillies straight away, drying them beforehand is not necessary. Only if you want to save them for a next season, chilli seeds are better dried and thus preserved.
When drying chilli seeds, it is important that you remove the moisture slowly. If the seed remains moist, without sun and heat, it will gradually start to decompose or become mouldy. It is ideal if there is 8 % moisture after the chilli seeds have dried.
To obtain fresh chilli seeds, first put on disposable gloves. Capsaicin has the highest concentration on the tissue that forms seeds. Take ripe chillies. Cut the chilli in half and scrape out the seeds with your fingernail. Scatter the seeds on paper. Blotting paper or typing paper are good.
Spread the chilli seeds evenly on the paper and place it in a place where there is high air circulation. The place should also be dark, at least no direct sunlight. Over the next few days, change the paper from time to time and turn the seeds as you go.
Drying chilli seeds correctly
To keep the germination rate of the seeds as high as possible, you should pay attention to the following:
- Spread generously on paper
- Even temperature between 20 - 30 °C
- Good air circulation
- Little sunlight
You can also dry the seeds in the oven or dehydrator. Remember that the temperature should not get above 35 °C. At 43 °C protein is destroyed and at the latest here the seed loses its germination capacity. While a dehydrator is a good help in preserving chillies, you should think twice about the oven idea.
You can dry the halved chillies better in a dehydrator. To store dried chilli, bags for tea or coffee filters, among other things, are suitable.
Try to bend individual seeds; if this succeeds, the chilli seeds are not yet dry enough. If individual chilli seeds discolour, sort them out.
Label film canisters or small bags with the chilli varieties. Put the seeds and a few grains of rice in them. This will keep the humidity down in the airtight bag. You can store the seeds in a drawer for several years. The longer they are stored, the lower the germination rate. There are more than 100 seeds in many chilli peppers. You will probably get over a 75% germination rate.
So far we have stored our chilli seeds in a wooden box. Each variety individually packed in pressure seal bags. These were stuck with labels, with variety name, how well that chilli has borne and year. You may still feel like keeping a record of each chilli: Harvest quantities, location, pungency, presumed pollination. Indispensable for professional cultivation.
Dried chilli seeds can be exchanged, given away and used for your own cultivation in the following years.
This might also interest you: