So, you have peppers sitting in your refrigerator or countertop and you want to use them before they go bad. You get your fixings out, your veggies chopped, your meat sizzling, and you reach for the bag of fresh peppers and…the seeds are moldy.
Unless you know they’re edible, you don’t want to put bits of rotten peppers in your food. You’re looking for that fresh heat, for a kick of spice, not a kick to the gut that’ll leave you bent over a toilet seat because you ate rotten peppers.
So, how do you know if peppers with moldy seeds are safe to eat?
Peppers with moldy seeds can be used if the moldy seeds are discarded. However, avoid using peppers with mold growing on or inside the pepper. If you’re unsure whether you can save your pepper with moldy seeds then just discard it. It’s better to play it safe.
The easiest way to remove moldy seeds from a pepper is by using a deseeding tool. Here is the deseeding tool that I purchased from Amazon that makes removing seeds easy from peppers.
So what even causes moldy seeds? Why did my fresh-looking pepper have moldy seeds?
What Causes Moldy Seeds In Peppers?
Molds are microscopic fungi that help decompose older plant or animal matter such as peppers. Mold will develop on most food when given enough time such as fruits, vegetables, yogurts, and jams.
The reason why you might cut open a bell pepper and be greeted with moldy seeds is due to the age of the pepper. There are a few reasons why a pepper might be older such as the time it was left to ripen, transit time, and storage conditions.
However, just know that it is not uncommon to cut open a fresh-looking pepper and see brown, black, and even moldy seeds.
How To Use A Pepper With Moldy Seeds
If your pepper has moldy seeds throughout the pepper then throw that pepper away!
It’s simply not worth risking your health to try and save a pepper.
However, if the pepper only has one or a few moldy seeds then you can salvage it if you want. Per the USDA’s recommendation – cut 1 inch around and below the moldy areas. The rest of the pepper should be ok to use.
Personally I only use these salvaged peppers in a cooked dish since it gives me more piece of mind that I’m killing any remaining bacteria by cooking it.
How To Store Peppers So They Don’t Go Bad
A good method to prevent peppers from drying out is to store them in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator in clean, dry, and airtight plastic containers or bags.
You will notice the difference between a properly stored pepper in the fridge versus one left on the counter. The peppers in the fridge will have more firm skin and the seeds will remain closer to white compared to the pepper on the counter.
In fact, a study published in the Journal of Food Protection found that whole jalapeno peppers stored at 44°F did not grow any foodborne pathogens like salmonella. This only emphasizes the importance of storing your peppers properly in the fridge.
I’ve found that placing a folded paper towel inside the container will draw out moisture, and keep the pepper seeds fresh and light coloured and delay the browning process.
Can I Use A Soft Pepper With Moldy Seeds?
You cannot use soft or mushy pepper that contains moldy seeds. The USDA strongly advises against consuming any soft fruits or vegetables that contain any mold since they can spread more quickly.
Molds have branches and roots that are very thin threads that can spread in a soft produce item. This is why it’s critical that your fresh pepper still be firm if you plan on removing the moldy parts and still using the rest.
So, to sum it up, you can eat firm peppers with moldy seeds if you take the necessary steps to remove the moldy areas.
Peppers with mold can be used if there are only small mold areas. The USDA recommends cutting off at least 1 inch around and below the mold spots on firm fruits and vegetables such as peppers. However, you do not want want to use a pepper if it’s covered in mold. If you’re unsure whether you can save your pepper with moldy seeds then just discard it. It’s better to play it safe with mold and remember: when in doubt, throw it out.
Just err on the side of caution and throw away any pepper if you’re uncomfortable with the mold growth.
However, if you decide to, now you can salvage those forgotten peppers and include them in some delicious cooked meals to give it that extra oompf!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are Peppers With Brown Seeds Bad?
A: Peppers with brown seeds have not gone bad just yet. You can usually just remove the bad seeds and use the rest of the pepper presuming the skin doesn’t show signs of mold or slime. Check out this article for more information on using peppers with brown seeds.