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Pepper tasting in the Solomons

Taste, color, texture: all are important when introducing a new pepper variety to the market.

An organoleptic test was conducted at the Solomon Islands Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Research (MAL) on 16 January 2015 to identify the best capsicum lines with good taste for further evaluation in on-station and on-farm trials. Fourteen evaluators—farmers, NGO representatives, Rural Training Center staff, a representative from the Taiwan Technical Mission, and MAL research officers—sampled fruit from eight AVRDC capsicum lines and a local check variety harvested from a trial at St. Joseph Tenaru School. This was a blind test, so selected fruits from each variety were cut into small pieces and whole fruit samples were placed on different plates. Each line was identified only by a corresponding alphabetical letter. The varieties were evaluated based on fruit appearance (shape, size and color), smell, feel and taste (pungency and flavor). The evaluators ranked each parameter on a 1– 6 scale, with poor = 1 and excellent = 6. The scores given by each evaluator were recorded on a prepared standard recording form.

Based on the evaluators’ comments, most of the varieties were described as having good taste, shape and size. Several expressed a preference for the dark green varieties. Out of the eight lines, it is highly likely that five (C05483, AVPP9814, AVPP1114, AVPP1115 and AVPP0121) will be selected for further evaluation; however, the yield of these lines as well as their tolerance to pests and diseases in the field will also be considered before the final selection is made. During the next selection exercise, we hope to bring in more farmers, consumers and hoteliers to canvass a wider opinion on the taste of the pepper lines.