Saving Pepper Seeds: How to Harvest Your Chillies

If you have some chillies, you can save those pepper seeds for the next year. You just need to know how to pick the right chillies to harvest, and then how to dry pepper seeds so you can plant them.

It’s a lot of fun to have the freedom to start new plants from your homegrown varieties, or share extra seeds with other people.

Best of all, you can be sure that the seeds are high quality because they come from your own garden.

Harvesting The Right Pepper Seeds

Before picking a method for saving your seeds (below), you’ll want to make sure you’re selecting the right pepper. Otherwise, your seeds may not germinate or the resulting plants will disappoint.

harvesting pepper seeds

Don’t Save Hybrid Peppers

The issue with hybrid plants is they likely won’t grow true to the original parent plant. In other words, all those desirable traits (e.g., colors, heat levels, etc.) may not transfer to the new plants.

Different seed types like heirlooms or open-pollinated varieties are a better choice for harvesting seeds.

Harvest Mature Peppers

Ripe peppers have the mature seeds you want for planting. Essentially, don’t pick chillies in the green stage.

Instead, wait for peppers to turn the color they’re supposed to be. This way the seeds are more likely to be viable.

Lastly, make sure the peppers you select are the best ones of the bunch. Don’t use disease-ridden or infested pods.

If you’d like help growing your pepper plants from seed, be sure to check out The Pepper Seed Starting Guide. This ebook steps you through all of the processes of starting seeds inside and growing them into strong plants that are ready for the outdoors.

How To Dry Pepper Seeds for Planting

Below, are three options for harvesting your chillies. You’ll want to select the option that makes the most sense to you.

For example, if you’re harvesting a bunch of peppers at once, use a blender so you don’t have to process chillies one at a time. (How tedious!)

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means I earn a small commission if you make a purchase using my links. This is at no additional cost to you. The products are only being recommended to make this article as helpful as possible.

Harvest Dried Peppers

  1. Position your fresh chillies on paper plates or towels taking care not to overlap them. Single layers works best for allowing the airflow that speeds up the drying process.
  2. Place your plate or towel in a warm, dry location. Let them sit for a few weeks.
  3. Wait for the chillies to have a dry, leathery feel. Dried pepper skin is often wrinkled, and some chillies, such as cascabel, make a rattling noise when the seeds get loose.
  4. Label a small, ziplock baggie, seed envelope (Amazon link) or small container with the name of your pepper and date.
  5. Cut open the peppers and dump the loose seeds into the container of your choice. The seeds should be dry at this point and ready for storage.
saving pepper seeds by drying peppers

Harvest Ripe Chillies

  1. Put on a pair of gloves to keep the capsaicin from burning your hands. If you’re harvesting a super hot one, such as a Trinidad Douglah, you might want to put on a face mask too because those fumes can make you cough!
  2. Cut the chile pepper down the middle to expose the seeds on both sides.
  3. Position the pepper over a plate or cup and then scrape the seeds out with the knife. Leave the seeds out for a couple of weeks to let them dry. You can test the seeds for proper drying by pinching them with your fingernail — if you don’t see any indentation marks, they’re ready for storage
saving pepper seeds by cutting open a pepper

Use a Blender

  1. Cut the tops of your peppers off just under the stems.
  2. Place your peppers in a blender and add water. I usually pour enough water to cover the tops of the chillies.
  3. Blend slowly and for a few seconds at a time. You’re looking for the seeds to settle at the bottom. Once the pepper debris and immature seeds float to the top, scoop them out.
  4. Carefully pour the remaining mixture over a strainer to catch your seeds. Lay them out on a towel or plate for a couple of weeks to dry.
blender graphic

How To Save Pepper Seeds After Harvesting

After harvesting, keep your seed containers in a cool, dark place. Your pepper seeds should last for about 3 years.

Again, you can use small envelopes like seed envelopes (Amazon link) to hold your seeds. More popular is the small, Ziplock-style baggie, which you can get in a craft’s store like Michaels and sometimes Walmart. I often order mine directly from Amazon because you can get hundreds or thousands for a few bucks.

Happy seed saving!

pepper seeds

How to Save Pepper Seeds (3 Ways)

Additional Time: 14 days
Total Time: 14 days
Difficulty: Easy

You can harvest pepper seeds to plant them next year. This step-by-step guide shows you how to save pepper seeds using three different methods.

Materials

Tools

  • Ripe Chillies Method: Knife
  • Blender Method: Blender and Strainer

Instructions

Harvest Dried Peppers

  1. Position your fresh chillies on paper plates or towels. (Single layers work best for better airflow and faster drying times.)
  2. Place the plate or towel in a warm, dry location. Let it sit for a few weeks.
  3. Wait for the chillies to have a dry, leathery feel. (Dried pepper skin is often wrinkled.)
  4. Label a small container or envelope with the name of your pepper seeds and date.
  5. Cut open the peppers and dump the loose seeds into the container. They are now ready for storage.

Harvest Ripe Chillies

  1. Put on gloves to keep the capsaicin from burning your hands. (If you're harvesting super hot peppers, you might want to put on a face mask too.)
  2. Cut the pepper down the middle to expose the seeds on both sides.
  3. Position the pepper over a plate and then scrape the seeds out with a knife.
  4. Leave the seeds out for a couple of weeks to dry.

Use A Blender

  1. Cut the tops of your peppers off just under the stems.
  2. Place your peppers in a blender. Add water so that it covers the tops of the chillies.
  3. Blend slowly for a few seconds at a time until you see the seeds settling at the bottom. Scoop out any pepper debris or immature seeds that float to the top.
  4. Pour the mixture (carefully) over a strainer to catch your seeds. Lay them out on a towel or plate for a couple weeks to dry.

Notes

  • Test for seed dryness by pinching the seeds with your fingernail. No indentation marks means they are ready for storage.
  • Store your seeds in a small envelope or container. (Make sure it's labeled with the name of your pepper seeds and the date.) Keep your container in a cool, dark place.

More Posts On Pepper Seeds


And for those of you looking for the ideal setup to grow out your seeds… Make sure to check out ​this mini hot house (Amazon link) that I use to consistently germinate seeds and grow them into healthy seedlings. By the way, the link above is an affiliate link, which means that I earn a commission if you do end up purchasing this product. It’s at no extra cost to you, and if you have any questions related to this item, I’d be happy to answer them for you!


Saving Pepper Seeds: How to Harvest Your Chillies

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