|This is my favorite variety of peppers. I started with seed from Cook's Garden but the variety has changed over time to a pepper that is not as "pointy" in shape, yet thick wall and very sweet, actually "super sweet"!|
|On this web page you will learn how I save seeds for this unique variety: Corno di Toro Rosso Troncato.|
|Select the best fruit and harvest the seed
I've started in 1999 with seed from Cook's Garden. The pictures below show how the fruit has changed in my garden creating a new variety.
True to the new variety preferred shape (listed as Non-Bell Sweet Pepper), I select peppers for seed saving purposes that are both long (between 8 and 9 inches) and slim. I do find some peppers that are stockier and larger - those could be confused with a bell pepper, and some that are small (3 - 4 inches long) - also, in 2008 particularly, I found more fruit reverting to the "pointy" shape. I only save seed from fruit with the "non-pointy" characteristics.
|Original fruit shape (on the left) compared to my fruit (above). The blue tape is 9" long. The first fruit on the left is a little shorter than the desidered lenght - but I always save the very first fruit that I picked in mid September. There are more pictures of that fruit on this page.|
|As I mentioned above, I find some fruit that is stockier or shorter on the vines but I only save seed from fruit that grows long and slim (as in the picture above and not such as in the picture on the left).|
|A feature that makes this pepper my favorite is the small amount of seeds that are found scattered inside - very quick to clean. This is an other picture of my first pick of September. The seed saved is in the glass of water.|
|The glass of water test
I drop the seed in a glass that I fill with water. The seed that flow is discarded and the rest will dry out on a sheet of paper towel.
|The seed will quickly dry on the paper towel and it must be stored in a dark and dry container.
I counted approx. 300 seeds in this first pepper picked in September 2007, but sometimes I find as few as 120 seeds.
|Fruit stores up to 14 weeks
An other great feature of this pepper is how long I can store it on my kitchen counter. Notice how the skin wrinkles - but the flavor is outstanding - even if picked green before the first hard frost.
|Monitor them to avoid a total spoil
If the fruit spoils ... there's a culprit. Monitor the fruit for spoilage and find the maggot. Cut the part that is spoiling and enjoy the rest!
Don't discard the whole fruit just because a part has spoiled! In this picture the maggot came out and posed for me as I was snapping it.
|I recommend to store the fruit on your kitchen counter on old newspapers. Last year I had several peppers spoil (collapse - releasing smelly fluid). I guess that this fluid would get other peppers to spoil as well - like a bad apple spoils the bunch!
Examine the fruit frequently on each side. As soon as you recognize a trace of a maggot, use the fruit immediately. Cut the spoiled part and find the maggot. It may be curled up on fruit that is still good to eat.
If you cannot find the maggot, don't worry! Eating a maggot will not kill you. But the poisons that farmers spray on peppers to avoid maggot infestation will give you cancer! Therefore, celebrate the maggots.
|How long can you keep fruit on your kitchen counter?|
|Picture taken after Christmas day. Notice some peppers don't turn dark red anymore.
The "very pointy" fruit is one of the last that I used in my kitchen this winter (Jan 20) - the very top of the fruit was starting to spoil.
I took pictures of this pepper whole and cut.
|This is my breakfast dish cooked the morning of Jan 20 with all vegetables from my garden. Peas are kept frozen, onions and potatoes in the cellar. While the red peppers keep best on the kitchen counter.
At the end of January there will be more spoiled fruit to discard ... but still delicious.
A couple of pictures of the pepper shapes which I have selected for seed saving.
|Fruit saved for the length - almost 10"||Fat and trunkated - saved seed to monitor if the fruit keeps this shape or reverts to the longer, slimmer shape.|
|Fruit saved for shape and length - almost 10" - this is the shape that I like the most|
|A yellow standard Corno di Toro ... wondering if the yellow and red will cross-pollinate with surprise colors in the future.|
As I have been saving these seeds for 11 years now and noticed how some fruit contains a remarkable low seed count. Please be aware that this variety easily reverses to the "pointy" shape of Bullhorn peppers, BUT starting in 2011 I have only been saving seed from fruit which display these two features: 1) "truncated" tip, and 2) few seeds - I've found peppers with as few as 13 seeds.
|These four pictures show a comparison of fruit with Low Seed count vs. regular. The attachment of the stem on the left picture measures about 5/8 inch across vs. the picture on the right with almost 1" 1/4 -- and below are pictures of the inside, where the much smaller stem has a seed appendix with just 13 seeds vs. the hundreds attached to the larger seed appendix.
It seems relevant for seed saving purposes that the Low Seed count strain of this pepper develops larger seed. Larger seed may grow into stronger vines.
Future seed generations are being tested for these desired features: strong vines, long fruit, thick walls, low seed count, and most importantly "super sweet" flavor.
|Share your seed
Once you are satisfied with the quality of your plants and keep saving seeds for several years, the time comes to start sharing seeds.
Become a member of Seed Savers Exchange. www.seedsavers.org/membership
By becoming a member ($35 per year membership fee) you can order seed from 700 plus sources. Unfortunately there are only 35 seed savers in Wisconsin and 33 in Illinois ... but none in Kenosha and Racine Counties.
We need to change that and have more local gardeners listed in Seed Savers Year Books to make seed available to other local gardeners.
This page lists all cultivars that I save - some are available to all (HAS), most are reserved to "listed" SSE members - click here to review the list of cultivars.
Please call Seed Savers, become a "non-listed" member (support this no-profit organization) and eventually join me in offering seed as a listed member. Call (563) 382-5990