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How to Harvest and Save Carolina Reaper Seeds

The best method for harvesting and storing Carolina Reaper seeds is selecting a fully mature pepper pod to remove the seeds from and storing them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

The Carolina Reaper chili pepper is one hot vegetable.

The hybrid offspring of habanero and ghost peppers, the Carolina Reaper scores an average of 1.6 million Scoville Heat Units, with the hottest recorded Carolina Reaper measuring 2.2 million Scoville Heat Units.

For many hot pepper lovers, the Carolina Reaper is a must-have addition to their garden, and growing this chili pepper variant requires having viable seeds on hand.

Thus, in this article, we will teach you how to: 

  • Choose the best Carolina Reaper peppers from which to harvest seeds
  • How to harvest the seeds from the plant
  • The best way to store your Carolina Reaper seeds

Choosing the Best Carolina Reaper Parent Plant

It is crucial to select a Carolina Reaper that has fully matured from which to harvest your seeds.

At maturity, the pepper should have attained full color, which is typically a rich, bright red.

If you use a pepper that is still yellow or orange, the seeds have not had time to develop and will not produce a viable plant when sown.

Another good indicator that the Carolina Reaper is ready for seed harvest is the complete development of its little tail and a slight wrinkling of the skin.

The wrinkling may be hard to tell apart from the characteristic bumpiness of the Carolina Reaper, so relying on color will be your best bet.

Additionally, avoid harvesting seeds from peppers that are rotting, diseased, cracked open, or have sustained insect damage.

All of these conditions will significantly affect the production and viability of the seeds.

Read Also >> Why Save Seeds?

How Do I Harvest the Seeds From My Carolina Reaper?

First of all, remember safety. 

Like all chili pepper varieties, the Carolina Reaper pepper harbors capsaicin oil in its peppers, which you’ll mostly find in the internal membrane to which the seeds cling.

Thus, before harvesting your seeds, it is a good idea to put on disposable gloves as well as eye protection to avoid getting the capsaicin oil on your skin or in your eyes where it will burn.

While capsaicin oil will not inflict any actual damage, it will hurt immensely, and you will have a hard time removing all the oil from the affected area. 

However, if you do come into contact with the oil, the effects do fade with time.

Now that you’ve adequately prepared yourself, you can now harvest the seed. 

To begin, cut the pepper in half and remove the seeds inside by scraping them out with a knife.

And remember, at this phase, to only keep undamaged seeds. 

Then, lay your viable seeds out in a single layer on a paper towel to dry out.

Next, turn the seeds over every couple of days to ensure they are drying out completely.

A good way to check if your seeds are ready for storage is to test their flexibility.

If the seeds bend or dent when you try to bite into them, they need to dry out for a little bit longer.

Overall, you’ll find that wholly dried seeds are hard and brittle.

How Do I Store My Carolina Reaper Seeds?

You should store Carolina Reaper seeds inside an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Clear plastic bags that can tightly seal are usually a good option.

Another alternative is using clear glass containers as long as they have a good seal.

But, if you do use glass, you should add a desiccant such as rice, silica gel, or powdered milk to the container to avoid moisture from seeping in and damaging the seeds.

You can then store these containers on the bottom of your refrigerator which provides the cool, dark environment the seeds need.

But, if you don’t use your fridge, make sure to place your seeds in an area between 35 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit (1 to 10 degrees Celsius).

Furthermore, don’t forget to label your seeds, especially if you are storing seeds from other pepper plants, as they all look the same.

It is also a good idea to mark the date you harvested the seeds. 

Carolina Reaper seeds can only remain viable for two to five years, so you’ll want to know when they expire.

Read Also >> How to Store Seeds Long Term?

Conclusion

The Carolina Reaper pepper is one of the hottest on record, and, luckily, you can easily grow this interesting plant from harvested seeds.

To harvest and save the seeds of this remarkable pepper, you need to: 

  • Choose a pepper to harvest seeds from, and be sure the pepper has wholly matured so that the seeds are viable.
  • Wear gloves before handling the pepper and cut it open to scrape out the seeds inside.
  • Let the seeds dry on a paper towel for several days to ensure that all of the moisture is gone.
  • Store your dried seeds in an airtight plastic bag or glass container and place them in a cool, dark place.
  • When you’re ready to start planting, take them out, sow the seeds, and enjoy the spicy fruits of your labor.

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