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Pepper Freaks from My Small Kitchen Garden

When I cut open this perfectly ripe California Wonder pepper from my small kitchen garden, I found several pepper-like fruits inside of it.

For the first 49 or so years of my life, bell peppers held no surprises. Even after I’d established my small kitchen garden in rural Pennsylvania, peppers were peppers. But then, last season, I grew and gutted a pepper that was full of surprises… and since then I’ve discovered three or four of these gems.

This Year’s Red Pepper Freak

When I cut open one of the few stunted but well-ripened California Wonders from my kitchen garden a month or so back, I found it packed with what might pass for pepper babies.

Have you ever found these in your peppers? Each is a hollow shape, apparently grown of bell pepper flesh. While the pepper babies are entirely inside the parent pepper, they fall out easily (once you cut the pepper open)—as if not attached to the parent in any way. Of course, these oddly-shaped gems must grow connected in some way, so I imagine a tiny bell pepper umbilical chord that connects each one to the inside of the parent pepper.

Please let me know whether you’ve ever cut open a pregnant pepper. I’m curious to know how common is this little phenomenon.

The pepper freaks shook out of their parent easily as if they weren’t attached in any way. Each seemed to be a small “pepper fruit” having the same texture as the flesh of a typical bell pepper.


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9 Responses to “Pepper Freaks from My Small Kitchen Garden”

  • Sue:

    That IS odd! I think that would have almost “scared” me. So, did you eat the babies??

  • Mark:

    I recall finding a roundish one inside a green bell once. I wonder if it has something to do with incomplete or improper or double (?!?!) pollination of the flower.

  • Daniel Gasteiger:

    Sue: Yeah, a little scary. Still: Seemed like peppers. Hate to waste food…

  • charlotte:

    I have gotten a few over the past couple of years.

  • Jennie:

    I thought these were pretty normal – I’ve had it happen a few times with homegrown ones, and many times with storebought ones. I like it – it’s like a bonus pepper with no seeds!

    I do wonder why it happens, though.

  • Yes, I’ve had it happen with homegrown bell peppers. It always seems alien. I’d love to know what causes it.

  • Lisa:

    I’m sure since you said it was “well ripened” these are a seed that has germinated inside the “parent “. I have seen them lots of times. Especially in a late pepper I have picked.

  • LOL I just opened one of these alien wonders myself tonight and it was a first for me and I make Stuffed Peppers all the time. I found mine inside an orange pepper and there were 5 what looked like brightly colored gummy worms, 2 all green, 1 all orange and 2 that were part green and part orange. I have been reading other peoples funny stories about their first encounters with these things. LOL I read somewhere where this is called Internal Proliferation.

  • Our small homestead business grows and sells peppers. Business has let us ship them all over the country. Locally we process them into salsa, sauce n what not. We have cut into a half dozen or so and observed the pepper freaks. But want to share that it is not just sweets or bells. Our mail order peppers are chili peppers like ghost peppers, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers, Carolina Reapers and the other super hot peppers. I have received more than one email commenting about the phenomena.

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