When to Pick Peppers
Posted on 08 August 2018
When are chile peppers ready to harvest?
If you're not sure when to pick peppers, here is our advice:
Hatch chiles usually take about 85 days before ready for harvest, so be patient as they ripen. Immature Hatch chiles will taste "green" and will be less flavorful and not as thick compared to a chile that has been allowed to ripen longer on the plant. some Hatch chiles are picked green like the Hatch Green Hot Doublecross Chile, and some, like the Hatch Red Medium - Joe E. Parker chile are picked when they mature to red. In Hatch, New Mexico, the harvest season runs from August to September, though some seasons we harvest earlier in mid July or as late as October – it all depends on the weather and conditions where it's grown.
Other chile peppers can be harvested sooner, and, depending on the pepper, you could be harvesting within 4-8 weeks. Many peppers are harvested at an immature green stage. The traditional bell pepper, for example, is harvested green, even though most varieties will mature red, orange, or yellow. Shishito peppers are an earlier harvesting sweet pepper variety that are usually harvested green though they also turn red if left on the plant longer.
Our advice is to pick one and taste it, if it tastes “green” wait a few days or a week or two and try again until they taste more flavorful.
Like tomatoes, peppers appear on plants relatively early in the season but they're unripe for several weeks before they start to mature. If picked early, like unripe green tomatoes, they have less flavor than when they're ripe, and will have a "green" flavor. Chile peppers will develop more flavor and sweeten as they ripen to their mature color, which can be in a variety of colors: red, orange, purple, even black!
Don't overwater peppers!
Make sure not to overwater your peppers, let the soil dry between watering. This helps improve the flavor of the peppers and most chile pepper plants actually like it a little on the dry side. If their roots get waterlogged, the plants can drown and suffer, so make sure not to overwater and make sure their planted in well-draining soil.
WANT PEPPERS SOONER?
For earlier harvests, pick a chile pepper variety like the Early Jalapeno which are ready earlier than other peppers.
Shishito Peppers are also an early pepper that you can harvest sooner than most.
Fushimi Peppers can be harvested earlier than most other peppers.
The Sweet Banana Pepper is a great plant for short season climates because it produces so quickly.
The Cayenne Ring of Fire hot pepper also matures very quickly and is hotter than a regular cayenne if you like it spicy!
Learn more about How to Grow Peppers »