I feel stupid posting about what is mostly common sense, but there are a few little picky things I've been wondering about. So first of all, I've always read you should save the seeds from the first pods to reach maturity. Is there really anything to that? Any idea what kind of differences you could expect from an early seed plant vs a late seed plant?
Another thing, my friend swears that the best way to go is to cut out the placenta of the pepper and let the whole thing dry out, then separate the dried seeds and save them. This seems unnecessary to me so I usually put on some rubber gloves, cut open the peppers, and use my fingers to scrape the seeds off the placenta. This does equate to me manhandling them a bit while they're fresh and soft. Could that be causing harm? I haven't really had any problems germinating them later doing it my way.
And one more. What's the best way to store the seeds? I've been keeping them in the fridge in an airtight jar with a little paper satchet full of dry rice to absorb any excess moisture. Is it better to store them in the fridge, or even the freezer? I'm concerned mainly about longevity, but if the colder temps could just result in the seeds growing into crappy plants, that would obviously be something to consider as well. I have way too many pepper varieties that I'll probably never get around to growing, but it would be nice to keep my options open for as many years down the road as possible. I wonder how they store the seeds in those doomsday vaults, like do they replace them with new ones once they get to a certain age?