Food Myth Debunked: Peppers, Bumps, and Their Seeds

Food Myth Debunked: Peppers, Bumps, and Their Seeds
Food Myth Debunked: Peppers, Bumps, and Their Seeds

I recently read an article about peppers, the advice was to choose a red (or green or yellow) pepper based on the number of bumps on the bottom of the pepper.  It said that peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom (the male pepper) have fewer seeds than peppers with 4 bumps (the female pepper), making it easier to clean when chopping – and you’d be paying less by pound if you’re not paying for all those seeds inside!

I thought this sounded great!  I never knew the difference between the 3 and 4-bump peppers before, I guess that was it! Yay!!

The next time I was at the grocery I was picking up a pepper and decided to search for one 3 and one 4-bump pepper to see for myself.  I found 2 red peppers that fit the bill, went home, and cut them in half…

Male & Female Peppers

The 3-bump pepper is on the left and the 4-bump pepper is on the right.  The one on the right is slightly larger and had slightly more seeds, but that’s just due to it’s larger size.  This myth is DEBUNKED!

Upon further research I found that there is no male or female pepper, the different number of bumps on the bottom is due to the variety, not the sex.  Fruits have no gender AND peppers are a fruit!  Fruit comes from a flower and flowers have both sexual parts, something-something-something, it’s here that I get somewhat confused so I’ll just go back to my previous statement that: fruits have no gender.

Go ahead and buy a 3-bump or a 4-bump pepper, I think the amount of seeds is truly hit-or-miss, but generally the larger the pepper the more seeds you will encounter.

Also, I read that one is sweeter than another, but again that has to do with variety – some varieties are sweeter than others, but you’ve got to know your varieties to be able to confidently choose a sweeter pepper.


6 Responses »

  1. I have noticed a difference between 3 and 4 bump peppers. One is tougher – good for cooking. One is more tender, good for salads. However, I always forget which is which when I'm at the store. LOL.

  2. The terms "male" and "female" are not meant to be taken literally. It's simply to help remember which is which. The ones with four lobes generally have more seeds, therefore they are labelled female. They are better raw. The ones with three lobes are better cooked. The male/female thing helps me remember which is supposed to have more seeds, but I had to write a note to keep in my purse to remember which was better raw.

  3. It's a myth that a bigger pepper has more seeds. Different varieties would have more or fewer seeds but the number of seeds is fixed from the beginning. The seeds just get bigger as the fruit gets bigger.

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