Will Ghost Peppers ripen off the Plant?

Posted on 30 October 2020

Will Ghost Peppers Ripen off the Plant?


What can you do with peppers that didn't have time to ripen? If I pick peppers when green, will they ripen off the plant?

Do Peppers Ripen off the plant?

If you have to pick your hot peppers early – including Ghost Peppers or the Yellow Carolina Reapers or Habaneros – due to impending cold weather, don't worry! Often, peppers do continue to ripen on their own on the counter after being picked. It can take a week or so, but it's possible if the peppers are close enough to ripe when picked. Check them to make sure they aren't getting soft (you don't want moldy insides!) Often, peppers picked at the end of the season will ripen to their final color in a few days at room temperature on a countertop or bowl. 


Will Ghost Peppers ripen off the Plant?

This Yellow Carolina Reaper, shown above, was totally green when we picked it before an early snowstorm. It was likely close to getting ripe, but the early cold cut off the opportunity for it to stay on the plant. We thought it would just stay green, but over the week it turned completely yellow, starting with the shoulders, and then working it's way down to the tail. Check out the final yellow color below, we ended up drying it in our dehydrator for future salsa use. When cutting it, it had a juicy sweet spicy aroma, so despite ripening fully off the vine, it still has the burning heat and flavor we were hoping for! 

Will peppers ripen off the plant? This Carolina Reaper did!



Alternatives to Picking Peppers before a Frost:

You can also pick peppers early by cutting the stems long enough to place in a bucket with water. Trim all the excess branches and leaves, and watch the peppers ripen on the vine indoors. 



Grow Peppers in Containers


Grow peppers in containers and move them in!

Growing peppers in containers or pots is a great way to grow in short-season climates so that you can easily move them indoors or to a protected location if cold weather, frost or snow is expected. Most peppers don't like temperatures below 50˚F, so it's wise to move them indoors if you have cold nights in the spring or fall. And, if a frost is expected, all peppers will suffer and perish under 32˚ F – so growing peppers in pots allows you to move them indoors to a warmer location to spare them from an early demise.

Here are our favorite hot peppers to grow in containers »


Green Peppers still taste good!

Green chile peppers can still taste good in hot sauces or dried and used as powder. In fact, green chiles and green peppers are often eaten this way. Most peppers will eventually turn red (or the color of their full ripened state, including whites, yellows, oranges, reds, purples, browns!) Colored peppers that are picked green won't have the full normal ripe flavor as if it ripened on the plant, but they usually still have plenty of heat and enough flavor that we always use them up! If you're picking peppers at the end of the season, and they've been on the plant for several weeks, they are likely close to ripe and full of flavor, so don't despair!


Ripen peppers off the plant


Here are a few ideas of what to do with unripe peppers:

• Make green sauce or salsa verde
• Chop peppers and add the to stir fries or fried potatoes
• Add to chile stews or soups
• Make a spicy salad dressing
• Make Fermented Hot Sauce


Can ripe bananas help ripen peppers? 

Unlike tomatoes, putting a ripe banana in with unripe peppers will not help them ripen faster. Bananas emit a plant hormone called ethylene which can aid green tomatoes to ripen off the vine, but the closely related chili peppers show no such effect. 

Fastest Growing Peppers - Grow these so Peppers Ripen before the Cold Weather!


Looking for the fastest growing peppers or short-season peppers

Sandia Seed has some of the fastest growing pepper seeds, check out our top fastest growing pepper list of seeds we carry.  We also carry a wide variety of short-season tomatoes, too, for those of you gardeners who are growing in short-season climates.

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