Tiny scratches all over your pepper?
What you see: Little lines or scars on your bell pepper. What it is: The result of a sudden, unexpected growth spurt. Eat or toss? Eat! These are just harmless blemishes.
Call these stretch marks of the pepper kind. When the pepper grows too fast, possibly because it just got a nice big glug of water, its skin can’t keep up and cracks appear.
Chris Gunter of North Carolina State University explains that when the pepper is in growth mode, its cell walls are loose and easily expand as the fruit develops. But once something in the environment cues the pepper to stop growing—say a temperature drop or decrease in water supply—then those cell walls firm up and are less pliable. That can be just fine until a fresh influx of water comes in and triggers sudden growth. The pepper’s cells can’t keep up and voila, we get those cracks. The pattern is called “corking.”
“It’s not going to hurt anybody. It’s not going to affect taste or flavor,” said Gunter who is the Vegetable Production Specialist for the commercial vegetable industry of North Carolina.
Corking is common in jalapeño peppers. In fact, in some parts of the world people actually prefer jalapeños with corking, which is associated with hotter peppers. Gunter said it’s possible that jalapeños with corking are spicier, but he hasn’t yet seen any science to back up the claim.