Among the most famous hot chilies in the world is the cayenne pepper. You can use them for cooked dishes, spicy cayenne powder, or hot sauce. If you love spicy foods, you can grow cayenne peppers in your yard.
Cayenne pepper plants are commonly around 2 to 3 feet tall and have a bushy structure. If you want to grow the plant, you should know when to pick cayenne peppers.
Usually, cayenne peppers are ready to be picked from 70 to 100 days after planting. Once the pepper is ripe, it will turn red.
When is the best time to harvest your cayenne peppers?
You can pick cayenne pepper if it reaches mature size and is ripened to red color. Don’t pick the pepper if it is still green. Meanwhile, some variants can ripen to other colors, including orange or yellow.
Another factor that your cayenne peppers are ready to harvest is when the skin has a waxy appearance and firm flesh. Remember that when the pepper begins to soften, it may start to rot. It means it can be too late to harvest them.
Tips for picking cayenne peppers
I will share with you some tips when harvesting your cayenne peppers.
Wait for the color of the pepper to change
Pull the stem using one hand and hold the branch with your other hand to prevent damaging the plant
Wait for a few days if you want to save the seeds
How hot is the cayenne pepper?
Cayenne peppers have various types, and their heat levels also vary. Most hot cayenne peppers are 30,000 to 50,000 SHUs on the Scoville scale. It is quite spicy, making it ideal for making spicy salsa or hot sauce.
What are the types of cayenne pepper?
Red cayenne pepper is the most popular type of cayenne. However, there are other types of cayenne pepper, including the following:
- Purple cayenne
- Classic cayenne
- Red ember
- Long hot thin
- Sweet thing (no heat)
What are the health benefits of cayenne peppers?
Cayenne peppers come with many medicinal properties. It has a lot of health benefits. According to studies, cayenne pepper can boost metabolism for weight loss, lower blood pressure, curb your appetite, relieves pain, aid digestion, and lower cancer risks.
How can you use your cayenne peppers?
There are many things you can do with your cayenne peppers. These include:
Cayenne pepper powder
Like red pepper flakes, you can throw them in your food processor and grind them down to powdered form.
Red pepper flakes
Dry your cayenne peppers and crush them to flakes.
Homemade hot sauce
You can make a homemade hot sauce with your cayenne peppers. Most brands of hot sauce use cayenne peppers.
Chop your cayenne peppers and put some slices on your pizza.
Cook your cayenne peppers with brown sugar and garlic. Add ketchup to a pot and cook on low heat for about 2 to 3 hours.
Keep animals out of your garden.
You can also use cayenne peppers to keep animals out of your garden. Sprinkling the pepper around your garden can protect rabbits, deer, squirrels, and more.
How to store your cayenne peppers?
Some options exist if you want to preserve or store your cayenne peppers. You can grind the peppers to red pepper flakes or powder.
Freezing cayenne peppers
You can freeze the cayenne peppers whole. It is food for making dried cayenne powder. Make sure to dehydrate and thaw them once you remove them from the freezer.
Drying cayenne peppers
Air dry your cayenne peppers for about 2 to 3 weeks. Then, pop them into the dehydrator for about 6 hours.
Growth stages of cayenne pepper
If you plan to grow cayenne pepper at home, you should know its growth stages.
In planting cayenne pepper seeds, gently push the seeds to the seed-starting mix. Ensure the soil is warm and moist. Make sure not to overwater the cayenne seeds.
Cayenne pepper seeds can germinate about one to two weeks after planting. The temperature should be warm and nice, about 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
The first life stage is sprouting. After the seeds germinate, you can observe green stems that emerge from the soil.
The sprouts will begin developing leaves.
As the seedlings grow, they may develop a strong root system. It means they may require more space. You can move them outside if the weather is warm.
The plant may produce white and yellow flowers. The flowers should be pollinated before the cayenne pepper appears. Unlike other plants that rely on insects, cayenne peppers self-pollinate.
After the flowers pollinate, you can see green peppers popping up. You only need to wait for the peppers to ripen.
Can you eat the leaves of cayenne pepper?
The leaves of cayenne pepper are also edible. It has a mild flavor, like white pepper. You can stir and boil the leaves for stir-fries and soups.
Why isn’t your cayenne pepper aren’t turning red?
Remember that cayenne pepper will turn red a month or once it reaches full size. If it doesn’t occur, there are some reasons behind it.
Bigger pepper takes longer to ripen
If you see a few green cayenne peppers, you can wait for another week or more.
Another culprit is the weather
If there’s a heatwave or frost, it may damage your cayenne peppers. The best daytime temperature for growing cayenne peppers is 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
As the pepper begins to ripen, its leaves may create fluids, a food source for aphids. The bugs can damage your cayenne peppers and prevent them from fully ripening.
Can you pick cayenne pepper if they are still green?
Cayenne peppers should be red as you pick them. However, it is possible to pick your cayenne pepper when they’re still green. You can enjoy consuming green cayenne peppers, which can also be very hot.
Additionally, harvesting green cayenne peppers can encourage your plants to continue producing more fruit.
What will happen if you don’t pick cayenne peppers?
If you don’t pick your cayenne peppers on the plant, it will stop producing new flowers. It can also cause stress cracks like tiny brown lines on the fruit. It will dry out the peppers and will be rotten. So, you should harvest your cayenne peppers at the right time to make the best of them.
Should you wash the cayenne peppers after you pick them?
You should wash your cayenne peppers if you cook or eat them immediately after picking them. However, it still depends on your choice.
You can also store your cayenne peppers without washing them. If you store the peppers in your refrigerator, wash them and pack them loosely in a plastic bag. You can also keep them in a plastic container or sealed glass.
Check your peppers regularly to avoid mold buildup. Thus, the peppers come with a short storage lifespan. The average lifespan can be around 1 to 2 weeks. If you wash the peppers, gently rub the peppers under cold running water. Then, air dry them.
Can you eat cayenne peppers immediately after picking them?
Yes, you can eat your cayenne peppers immediately after you harvest them.