What you see: A pepper that looks, well, deflated
What it is: A pepper that grew up in cramped conditions
Eat or toss: Eat! This is a perfectly fine pepper; it just looks weird.
The story: This pepper may look something like a deflated kickball, but there’s no reason to kick it to the bin. Just keep in mind that it had some growing challenges and give it a chance.
According to Chris Gunter of North Carolina State University, this pepper probably found itself at an odd angle while it was growing. Likely it was pressed against a stem or a branch, which didn’t give it the space it needed to balloon out like most bell peppers.
“What I’m guessing is if we could go back to the field and look at this pepper it would have been growing on the main stem at an angle or where the fruit formed pressed up against a branch, instead of hanging free and expanding downward,” said Gunter, who serves as the vegetable production specialist for the state commercial vegetable industry at NCSU.
While Gunter said this pepper was most likely showing signs of a growing in a tight space, peppers can also get a similar partially deflated look if something goes wrong during pollination. In those cases you’ll probably find that one side of the pepper has seeds and the other side doesn’t—this too is nothing to worry about.
Added bonus—peppers like this can pull off a great side eye: