When to Harvest Chili Peppers

When To Harvest Chili Peppers

Are your peppers ripe and ready to pick and do you know when to harvest chili peppers no matter their variety or you have no idea?

Knowing when peppers are ripe for harvest is the first step to enjoying a good harvest.  There are many different types of peppers and each has its own growth and harvest period. But you can follow some general rules when it comes to picking your peppers although they may not apply to all of the classes.

So How Do You Determine When To Pick Chili Peppers?

The one best idea to figure this out is to review your planting information or the seed packet information.  Most gardeners tend to throw away their seed packets but we advise you to keep them until you harvest your plants.

The seed information has all the details that include how the peppers should look like, the size and color, and the number of days to maturity.  The peppers normally take between 75 to 90 days from planting to maturity.

So How Do You Determine When To Pick Chili Peppers

When To Harvest Your Chili Peppers

Because peppers come in a variety we will look at each pepper type and the right time to harvest.  We start with the not so hot peppers and finish off with the very hot ones

  • Bell Peppers.  They are ready to harvest when they are firm to the touch and full in size, about 3.5 to 4 inches.  However, for colored peppers, you should wait until they turn into the expected color.   Once they begin to change color, they do so quickly so keep watch.  Harvest them as soon as they turn to encourage the pepper plants to keep producing.

  • Banana Peppers.  These are ready for picking when they are 6 to 8 inches long and fully developed. You will know they are fully developed when they change in color from pale yellow to darker yellow, then to orange, and finally red. They are ready to eat once they reach their mature size but many people prefer to let them turn red for better flavor.   You can choose to pick them at various stages to test their taste.  Remember banana peppers are either hot or sweet and they look pretty the same.  Hot banana peppers grow up while the sweet ones grow down – this is an easy way to tell them apart.

  • Cayenne Peppers.  Cayenne are some of the favorite chili peppers for most people.  They have a very strong flavor that is strong even when they are small.  They grow to about 6 inches long and just 1.25 inches in diameter when they are ready for harvesting.

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  • Cherry Peppers. These are named so because of their shape and appearance.  When ripe and ready for harvest, they resemble a tree cherry.  These peppers have a sweet mildish taste and turn bright red when ready.  When mature they grow up to 2 inches in diameter about the size of a cherry tomato.
  • Habanero Peppers.  These peppers turn orange or red when fully mature.  They grow up to 1 to 2.5 inches long when they mature and get hotter as they mature.

  • Jalapeno Peppers.  These peppers are harvested as soon as they are deep green in color and about 3-inches long.  They are crisp when green and not too hold.  When they ripen, they go from green to dark green and finally red.  When fully mature and ready for harvest they are red and have a hot/sweet flavor.

  • Poblano Peppers. They are larger peppers in size about 4 inches long and 2.5 inches wide. They have a dark green color until they become fully mature and turn reddish-brown in color.

  • Serrano Peppers.  These peppers have thin walls and ripen to red, orange, brown, or yellow colors.  They can be eaten while green or fully ripe.

How To Harvest Your Chili Planting

Now that you know how your peppers look like when ripe, let’s learn how to harvest them.

Use a knife or clippers to remove the peppers from the plant.  This helps prevent any damage to the plant.  When peppers are fully mature, they will pull off the plant easily, if you notice they are tough to come off they could be still growing.

Protect your hands when picking hot peppers as they can irritate sensitive skin.  Be sure to wash your hands after harvesting before touching your nose, face, or eyes.  Any pepper residual can burn your eyes.

Harvest peppers when the plants are dry to avoid spreading the disease if any.

Chili Gardening Conclusion

We not only know when to harvest chili peppers but we now know when each type is ready and how it looks.  This is the knowledge that will go a long way in helping you grow your peppers.  Happy growing and harvesting your peppers.