Mexibelle

  • Sun: Full sun
  • Harvest Size: 5 inches long, 4 inches wide
  • Days to Harvest: 75
  • Plant size: 18 to 24 inches tall, 12 to 18 inches wide
  • Scoville heat units: 100 to 1000 (mild)

Mexibelle is a stepping stone between sweet bell and hot chile peppers. The large, wide bell pepper has a dash of heat. Peppers are green at first, but turn red (and hotter) if you leave them on the plant longer. If too strong for your palate, remove seed core and white ribs inside the pepper before serving. Mexibelle is a 1988 All America Selections winner, which means these peppers grow well from coast to coast.

Plant in spring to early summer starting anytime about two weeks after the last spring frost. If you like to plant a little early to start harvesting earlier, be prepared to protect plants from possible frost and keep them a little warmer with a row cover.

Plant spacing: 18-24 inches apart in rows 30 inches apart; 12 to 18 inches in intensive gardens. One plant per 18-inch container. Plants per person: 2 for fresh use; 4 to 6 for freezing or canning salsa.

Secrets to Success »

Water regularly, as peppers need plenty of water to reach full size. This mild pepper will be hotter when drought stressed, too. To help soil retain moisture, mix compost into planting holes, and mulch soil around plants. Pepper branches are brittle. Stake plants as fruits start to form, tying pepper-laden branches to stakes, or use small tomato cages for support.

Harvest and Use »

Snip peppers from the plant with a sharp knife or clippers, leaving a small portion of stem on the pepper. Rinse and dry peppers; store in the refrigerator. The more peppers you pick, the more you’ll get. Pick at any stage—from green to red. Just remember that red is hotter.

Peppers are packed with Vitamins A and C—twice the vitamin C of an orange. Mexibell’s short, wide bell shape is ideal for stuffing with your favorite meat-based or vegetarian blend. Or slice peppers into salsa, stir-fry, and salads. Chopping these peppers into soups, omelets, and chili adds spicy pepper tang. Mexibell peppers also freeze well.

Capsaicin, the compound that produces the heat in a hot pepper, is concentrated in the veins, ribs, and seeds. Personal sensitivity to it varies so use caution until you know how you’ll react. If pepper juice gets in your eye or nose, flush immediately with cold water. When the fire is in your mouth, grab ice cream, milk, or yogurt to counteract the burn. Wash towels that may have capsaicin on them to avoid spreading it.

Try These Garden Companions »

  • Sweet onion, Thai basil, squash, and cherry tomatoes for stir-fry.
  • Different types of peppers to taste the flavors and types available: sweet, hot, mildly hot, pickling, and stuffing types.
  • Cilantro, tomatoes, and onions—all the ingredients you need for creating garden fresh salsa.
  • Low growing flowers such as petunias and marigolds—colorful-fruited peppers look great tucked into flower beds.

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