Viral video about male and female peppers confuses the internet

A food influencer confused the internet with a statement about “male” and “female” peppers.

The clip was shared on TikTok by ShiftPixy Labs (@shiftpixylabs), a technology company that supports food brands and content creators.

The footage shows a woman approaching several shelves of peppers at a grocery store, while the clip’s caption reads, “Did you know that male and female peppers are meant to be eaten differently?”

He then takes a chilli pepper and turns it upside down, so that the underside is facing the camera.

A stock photo of a woman’s hand cutting a red pepper. TikTok users were confused by the concept of “male” and “female” peppers.Image source/iStock/Getty Images Plus

“Three bumps mean it’s male and they’re better for cooking,” the poster states, before switching to a four-bump chili.

“Four bumps indicate it’s female. They’re sweeter, but have more seeds and are best raw,” she continues.

While the video has received over 11 million views, it turns out there is no such thing as “male” and “female” peppers.

“It’s pure urban legend and based on a misconception that’s been around for a long time,” said Sherri Holzer, food strategist, cooking instructor, and integrative nutrition coach. Newsweek.

“The flowers of a pepper plant are indeed a gender, but neither ‘male’ nor ‘female,’ they are both.”


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According to Reuters Fact Check, pepper blossoms grow with male and female reproductive parts. The fruit of the pepper is actually the “ripe ovary,” which is why it contains the seeds.

The number of lobes or “bumps” on a pepper actually depends on the variety, degree of ripeness, and growing conditions.

“Bell peppers can vary in taste, heat level, and texture,” Holzer said. “The best pepper for cooking depends on personal preference and the desired flavor profile of the dish.”

When it comes to amazing facts about peppers, Holzer said many people are shocked to discover that green peppers can turn into red, orange or yellow peppers as they ripen. Color actually indicates maturity, with red being the ripest.

A stock photo of a bunch of different colored peppers. The number of “bumps”, taste and texture depend on the time of year and growing conditions. terex/iStock/Getty Images Plus

“Green peppers are typically harvested while still unripe, while red, yellow and orange peppers can fully ripen on the vine,” he said.

When it comes to quality, take the season into consideration, as this is the biggest indicator of taste and texture.

“Seasonal peppers are more likely to be locally sourced, which can support sustainable and environmentally friendly practices,” Holzer said. “Besides cheaper.”

TikTokers has had a lot of thoughts on the concept of male and female peppers, with the ShiftPixy Labs video receiving over 3,700 comments.

“I find it indescribable…” joked Dave Blessing.

“Do they procreate?” she wondered now.

“And they/them peppers?” D91 asked.

“He proceeds to make them kiss like Ken and Barbie dolls,” Jo said.

“Pepper is pepper,” wrote NOVA.

“I once had a pepper with 5 bumps, does anyone know what that means?” asked user203298.

“I don’t care,” commented laurenhyde606. “I still use them the same way.”

Newsweek contacted @shiftpixylabs for comment via email.

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