Sex And Vegetables – What’s The Real Story?
Wow, that's a disturbing headline isn't it? But it's not what some of you may be thinking. This is about a statement that was made to me as I was shopping at a local produce stand.
Let me explain,I love Louisiana Farmer's Markets. I try to buy as many fresh and locally grown products as I can. I think it's important we support Louisiana Agriculture and if I am being honest, fresh produce tastes better.
I was perusing the bell peppers yesterday with the proprietor of the stand approached me and pointed to my bag of bell peppers and said, " I see you have one boy and three girls". I guess my expression of "What you talkin' 'bout Willis?" suggested to him that he explain what he had just said.
According to him, bell peppers have different sexes. The peppers with four lobes on the bottom are said to be female. The peppers that have three lobes are said to be male. I must admit, he had my attention.
According to Old MacDonald, not his real name, the female peppers tended to be heavier and sweeter. Therefore if you enjoy eating your bell peppers raw, this would be the pepper of choice.
The male peppers allegedly taste better when cooked. I can't say I noticed the difference. I usually just chop them up and throw them in to complete the holy trinity of Louisiana cooking.
Are you ready for some science? It turns out the bell peppers belong to the nightshade family of plants. These kind of plants have what is called a "perfect flower". That means the bloom of the plant has both male and female reproductive organs. So the plant can reproduce within the confines of its own bloom.
The truth is that the number of lobes are not so much about gender as they are about variety. Different varieties of pepper have a different number of lobes. I noticed that some peppers in the farmer's bin had five lobes. When I asked him about those peppers he mentioned something about liberal government policies. I decided to pay for my peppers and leave the vegetable gender rights protest for another day.