The Q&A Archives: Harvesting Hot Peppers

Question: This is my first year with a garden, and I must confess that I am really enjoying it. My question concerns hot peppers. I enjoy hot foods and have planted about 4 different varieties of peppers, but I am not sure when to pick (harvest) the peppers to obtain the best results. I planted habaneros, bell, jalapenos, and yellow peppers. I hope you can help me. Confused and hungry for heat.

Answer: Most sweet peppers become even sweeter when mature as they turn from green to bright red, yellow, or orange. Mature hot peppers can be any color, so don't expect to judge their ripeness solely by color. It's important to keep peppers picked during the season so your pepper plants will continue to set fruit. Habaneros should be ready to harvest 90 days after sowing, and jalapeneos are ready in 75 days. Harvest when they're green - if left on the plant, they'll turn red. Yellow peppers (Hungarian Wax, and similar varieties) will lose the greenish tint and become light yellow when mature. The color will change to a deep yellow and then to an orange-yellow if left on the plant. Experience will be your best guide when harvesting peppers.

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