Good books pertaining to peppers

These are some books pertaining to peppers that I have found to be worthwhile. I have many other books that are not so worthwhile, or perhaps just so-so, they are not mentioned here.

Most of these are available at I’m a long time customer of Amazon, and recommend them highly.

Books On Pepper Gardening

The Pepper Garden
Dave DeWitt & Paul Bosland
Ten Speed Press

This is the best single source I’ve seen for all types of pepper growing. It spans the whole subject from seed germination through harvest. Also includes sections on Container Gardening, Cross Pollenation (both prevention of and deliberate), Pests and Diseases, Species Identification, and Commercial growing.

Pepper Diseases, a Field Guide
Black, Green, Hartman, Poulos
Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center, 1991

This is an inexpensive book with lots of pictures of sick pepper plants and descriptions of their symptoms. Its worth having this book just to drive home the absolute futility of diagnosing any disease your plants without having a bio-lab at your disposal. The sad fact is that many diseases have symptoms that are the same, but the needed treatment is quite different. Many diseases can only be indentified by autopsy on an uprooted plant using a microscope.

The Seed Starters Handbook
Nancy Bubel
Rodale Press, 1988

This book is for starting seeds for all plants and not just peppers. Still, it has good info for germinating seeds, caring for seedlings, hardening off transplants, and saving seed for the next season.

Pepper Identification/History/General Info

Peppers of the World, an Identification Guide
Dave DeWitt, Paul Bosland
Ten Speed Press, 1996

This book is almost entirely pictures of very rare to the more common peppers. There is around 600 photos with a short description for each photo, organized into groups by species. Most of the photos are of varieties in the five domesticated species, but there are some photos of others as well. This is a great aid in indentifying an unknown pepper type, or verifying the ID of one that you have but aren’t sure of its accuracy.

Peppers, the Domesticated Capsicums
Jean Andrews
Texas University Press, 1995

A classic reference book, covering the orgins and history of peppers from ancient times to the present. Also has a great deal of info on the biology of the capsicum genus. There are color plates of some peppers plus descriptions but they are paintings of peppers rather than high quality photos.

The Great Chile Book
Mark Miller
Ten Speed Press, 1991

A smaller and earlier book along the same line as peppers of the world. Also includes pictures of a wide selection of dried chiles. The back of the book contains some recipes. The one for making Chipoltles en Adobo from dried Chipotle peppers is quite good – even though it has catsup as one of the ingredients.

Amal Naj
Vintage Books, 1991

This book is a compendium of several different aspects of the chile world. It covers social patterns of chile eating, the commercial side of pepper production (including the infamous Tabasco wars), the history of chile plants, and their spread throughout the world. It is a very interesting book that is hard to put down.

Pepper Recipe Books

A Taste of the Tropics
Jay Solomon
The Crossing Press, 1991

This is an absolute “must have” book. Jay’s Jamaican Jerk Chicken is one of the best recipes of all time. Also the Island Roasted Chicken with Thyme Mustard Sauce. Its filled with recipes that I haven’t tried yet but they sound very delicious. I’m trying a new one every weekend. Its also a great deal at just $10.95 list.

The Great Salsa Book
Mark Miller
Ten Speed Press, 1994

Many of the recipies in this book take liberty with the term “salsa” (some are more like a salads) but there are quite a few delicious sauces included. The Chipotle Tomatillo Salsa has become a regular dish in our family. Also very good is the fresh Kim Chee salsa, though I like to use a little less ginger.

The Fiery Cuisines
Dave Dewitt & Nancy Gerlach
Ten Speed Press, 1984

This book has recipies from around the world. Some of the recipies are not very practical. I doubt anyone is going to make the “Jamaican Curried Goat” or “Romanian Chicken Livers” – but there are a lot of other very good dishes to try. I especially like some of the curry recipes.

The Cuisines of Mexico
Diana Kennedy
Harper & Row, 1972

This is an old but classic book containing many traditional Mexican recipes many of which are quite different and interesting. One of my favorites is Chiles Rellenos en Nogada, which is poblano chilies stuffed with pork and fruits, covered with a walnut sauce.

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