when to pick peppers

When to Pick Peppers

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately on when is the best time to pick peppers.  At first I thought “isn’t it obvious?”, then I remembered something that happened at the grocery store a few years back.  So I retract the thought, and here’s why.

Shopping for Peppers

One day David (hubby) and I were grocery shopping and were looking at the peppers.  I was putting some green peppers in my cart, and was debating some red and some yellow peppers.  Then David mentioned to get the red peppers, because they were a different variety from the green.

I looked at him funny and said, “The red and the yellow peppers are just the ripe version of the green peppers .”  He hadn’t realized that the green ones were just not ripened, not a different kind altogether.

When to Pick Peppers

Peppers are great because you can pick them at any point of the growing process.  Now I do like them to be pretty much fully grown (i.e. as large as I think they are going to get), but I pick them green, partially ripened and then fully ripe — it all depends on what’s for dinner!  (And what kind of pepper, as you’ll read below.)

What’s also neat about peppers is that you can pick them green and they will ripen on the kitchen counter (or wherever you put your tomatoes to ripen).  However, if I am picking them to ripen, I like to wait until they are just starting to turn color before I pluck ’em from the plant.

Ocassionally, I do leave my peppers on the plant until ripe, but usually those are my non-bell-type peppers.  For my bell peppers, I like to pick them earlier.  The heat and humidity of where I live can sometimes let mold into the bell pepper’s interior, and when I cut open the pepper — yuck!

However, I don’t usually have that problem with other pepper types — banana, horn-shaped or hot.  It’s just the bells that seem to want to mold on me.  So I either pick them green or when they are just starting to ripen.  That might not hold true for everyone, for for you folks in less humid climates, you’ll have to experiment.

Hmmm, I think I hear some peppers calling me from the vine!  I’ll make like Peter Piper and pick some peppers.  Catch you later!