Jimmy Nardello Pepper
Sweet, flavorful, and extremely productive pepper great for frying, freezing, or drying. Fiery-red, 10"-long fruits. Truelove Seeds founder Owen Taylor grows this variety to connect to his heritage, and it has become an instant favorite due to its taste, productivity, and story.
Here is what he wrote about it: Jimmy Nardello’s parents Giuseppe and Angela Nardiello grew these peppers in the mountainous Basilicata region of Southern Italy, in a village called Ruoti - which is a couple hours through the mountains from my great great grandparents’ village of Salento, in the Campania region. In 1887, the Nardiellos moved to Naugatuck, Connecticut - just 15 minutes from Shelton where my family, the Lauriellos moved shortly after. The Nardiellos became Nardellos, and Vincenzo and Angelina Lauriello became James and Julia Laurella. Jimmy Nardello was born in Connecticut and was the only one of 11 siblings to keep up the gardening. My great greats and greats did grow lots of food in Connecticut, but their children and grandchildren did not. Jimmy passed this pepper - his favorite of hundreds that he grew in his terraced gardens - on to Seed Savers Exchange before he died in 1983. It is a delicious and prolific sweet frying pepper, and it is perhaps one of the seeds I feel most connected to now since I’ve had to reclaim my Southern Italian food heritage due to my family’s assimilation and disconnection from the land. Thank you to Kurt Michael Frieze’s article “Who is Jimmy Nardello?, The Story of the Jimmy Nardello Pepper”
Days to maturity: 80-90 from transplant
Seeds per pack: 40
Planting / harvesting notes
Start seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before the last frost and transplant into garden well after the danger of frost. Keep seedlings moist but do not overwater. Transplants should be initially watered in well, and plants will be most productive with regular irrigation and full sun. These abundant plants may have to be staked.
Seed keeping notes
Peppers are generally self-pollinating, though we isolate different varieties of the same species by at least 50 feet, in hopes that flying insects will not cross pollinate them unexpectedly. There are several important species of peppers, so check your scientific names! Pepper seeds are ripe when the fruits have turned their final fiery color - in this case, fiery-red. Cut the fruit, scrape out seeds, and lay them out to dry on a labeled screen or paper product in a ventilated place away from direct sunlight for a week or two. Drying the peppers before seed extraction can slightly lower your germination rates, but works fine for home seed saving as long as the peppers do not rot.