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Pepper Plants...

Pepper plants are a long-time favorite in flower and fruit gardening guides home gardens and for use as ornamental plants. There?s something very cheerful in the look of a bright red chili pepper as it peeks out from its glossy-leafed hideaway!

Peppers are sliced, diced, frozen, cooked, stuffed, and pickled. The fruit of the pepper plant makes a great addition to pasta salads, green salads, main dish salads, and entr?s as well. In addition, a slice of sweet red pepper, green pepper or the hotter jalapeno or chili pepper make an excellent and tempting garnish to an entr?.

However, did you know that pepper plants have been cultivated for centuries for their medicinal value? Pepper plants, although thought to originate in Mexico, also were grown by ancient Peruvians who frequently offered hot peppers to their Gods. The first pepper plants were brought to Europe by Columbus. It?s interesting to note that his ship?s physician used peppers both as a condiment and as a medicine on the trip back to Spain.

Pepper plants belong to the genus capsicum and all but green peppers contain measurable amounts of the chemical capsaicin, which is the stuff that makes them hot. Capsaicin is the main ingredient in many over-the-counter remedies that provide relief for sore and strained muscles. In fact, user-friendly manufacturers will often list cayenne pepper as the first active ingredient of pain-relieving ointments. In addition to use as a liniment, capsaicin is also used in medicines to improve digestion and to increase blood circulation and metabolism.

Easily start pepper plants indoors from seeds for later transplanting into a larger container or garden. Pepper plant seedlings for transplanting are also available from local nurseries.
The pepper plant is a small shrub. It doesn?t take up much space. If well cared for, a single plant will bear enough fruit during a season to both spice up your summer time menus and preserve for winter use.

Depending on variety, pepper plants bear fruit in colors that range from crimson to sunny yellows and emerald greens to deep purples. Eat healthy and add diversity to both your garden and your menus by growing several varieties of pepper plants.


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