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Sweet Peper Grading Guide

Horticulture & Landscape Architecture > Fruit and Vegetable Connection > Sweet Peper Grading Guide
Grading Guide: Sweet Pepper
Illustrated Criteria for USDA Fancy Sweet Pepper

A USDA Fancy Sweet Pepper is:

 
or
 
Mature Green
Similar in varietal characteristics to others in the box (unless specified on container)
Firm
(not shriveled, soft, or pliable)
 
 
Well Shaped
At least 3 in. in diameter and 3.5 in. long
If not green, showing color specified on container

A USDA Fancy Sweet Pepper must not have any of these defects:

 
 
Sunscald
Freezing Injury
Decay
(affecting calyx, walls, or stems)

Photos below illustrate categories of defects specified in USDA Fancy criteria. Check criteria for allowable limits.

 
 
Scars
Sunburn
Bacterial Spot
 
   
Hail Damage

C. Gunter and E. Maynard, Purdue University. 2006. Based on US Standards for Grades of Sweet Peppers, 11-17-05. Page last revised 07-25-06.

This project made possible by financial assistance from Indiana's Office of the Commissioner of Agriculture, Value-Added Research Grant Program.

 

 

Grading Guide: Sweet Peppers
Definitions of Criteria for USDA Fancy Sweet Pepper

Characteristics of a USDA Fancy Sweet Pepper:

Mature Green
Similar Varietal Characteristics
Well Shaped
  • Has reached the stage that will withstand normal handling and shipping
  • If not green, showing color specified on container
  • Peppers are the same general type, unless indicated otherwise on container
  • Example: thick and thin-walled types are not mixed
  • Not more than slightly curved
  • Not more than slightly indented
  • Not more than slightly misshapen
Diameter at least 3 in.
Length at least 3.5 in.
 
  • Diameter is the greatest dimension measured at right angles to the longitudinal axis.
  • Length is the greatest overall length measured parallel to the longitudinal axis, not including the stem.
 

A USDA Fancy Sweet Pepper does not have any:

Sunscald
Freezing Injury
Decay
  • Sunscald occurs when pepper fruit is exposed to excess heat from bright sunshine. The skin is bleached and sunken.
  • Freezing will cause pepper flesh to become soft and water-soaked after thawing.
  • Decay occurs when bacteria or fungi break down the flesh of the pepper.

Sweet peppers with damage worse than described below do not meet USDA Fancy criteria. Measurements are based on a pepper 3 inches in diameter and 3.5 inches long.

Scars
Sunburn
Bacterial Spot
  • Scattered scars aggregating more than a circle 5/8 in. diameter
  • Single scar more than 3/8 in. diameter
  • Discoloration affecting more than 5% of the pepper surface
  • Aggregating more than a circle 5/8 in. diameter
Hail
Other Injury
  • Skin is healed and affected area aggregating more than a circle 3/8 inch diameter
  • Any defect(s), which more than slightly detracts from the appearance, or the edible or shipping quality of the pepper
 

C. Gunter and E. Maynard, Purdue University 2006. Based on US Standards for Grades of Sweet Peppers, 11-17-05. Page last revised 08-02-06.

This project made possible by financial assistance from Indiana's Office of the Commissioner of Agriculture, Value-Added Research Grant Program.

 

 

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