New Mexico Big Jim

  • Sun: Full Sun
  • Harvest Size: 10 to 12 inches long, 2 inches wide
  • Days to Harvest: 76
  • Plant size: 18 to 24 inches tall and wide
  • Scoville heat units: 500 to 2,500 (mild)

Grow record-breaking peppers and serve giant chile rellenos with New Mexico Big Jim. These peppers can grow up to a foot long. Plants yield many mildly hot, thick-walled green fruits perfect for roasting and stuffing. The compact plants make a terrific choice for containers.

Big Jim peppers are also delicious fresh in salsa and salads. Although peppers will turn red, most New Mexico type green chiles are tastiest when harvested green. Dried, the red fruits make beautiful strings of peppers called ristras.

Plant spacing: 18-24 inches apart in rows 30 inches apart. One plant per 18-inch container. Plants per person: 2 for fresh use; 3 to 4 for drying and canning.

Secrets to Success »

Peppers are very cold-sensitive. Begin planting two weeks after the last frost. If you plant early, cover with a row cover for frost protection and extra warmth. Water regularly for the plants to produce the most peppers. To help keep the soil moist, mix compost into planting holes, and mulch around plants. Stake plants as fruits start to form, tying pepper-laden branches to stakes, or use small tomato cages support the brittle branches.

Harvest and Use »

Snip peppers from the plant with a sharp knife or clippers, leaving a small portion of stem on the fruit. Rinse and dry peppers; store those for fresh eating in the refrigerator. The more peppers you pick, the more you’ll get. Let them turn red if you are making ristras. Heat varies by pepper, even on the same plant. For drying, allow peppers to ripen fully.

Peppers are packed with Vitamins A and C—twice the vitamin C of an orange. Use Big Jim peppers for roasting, frying, stuffing, or canning. Chop fruits to season salsa, salads, or stir fry.

To string red peppers, thread through pepper stems and hang in a warm spot with low humidity until fruits dry. Red peppers dry best.

Try These Garden Companions »

  • Cilantro, tomatoes, and onions—all the ingredients you need for creating garden fresh salsa.
  • Different types of peppers to sample the variety of flavors available.
  • Petunias and marigolds—colorful-fruited peppers look great tucked into flower beds.

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