Knowing when to harvest vegetables will help you get the best quality vegetables from your garden. Many gardeners allow produce to pass their prime when vegetables are less tender and more fibrous. Below is a guideline to help you determine the best time to harvest vegetables. Pepper and tomatoes are listed first with the Get Real Vegetables information below that.
Peppers (bell and chile) can be harvested in three stages.
Mature green: Pepper is firm and fully sized. The fruit color is completely green to light green, with no red color showing. These peppers will store approximately one week in the refrigerator.
Pinto: Fruit is partially red and green in color. At room temperature, these peppers will ripen in about 3 days.
Red: Pepper is fully red (or mature color) and may be partially dry. Red chile and bell peppers that are still succulent and firm should be used immediately. Partially dry red chile should be fully dried for storage or grinding into flakes or powder.
Tomatoes can be harvested in three stages.
Mature green: Tomato is firm and fully sized. The fruit color is green to light green, with no pink color showing on the blossom-end.
Pink: Pink color on the blossom-end of the fruit. At room temperature, these tomatoes will ripen in about 3 days.
Ripe: Tomato is fully red (or mature color) but still firm. Ripe tomatoes should be used immediately.