If you’re growing green bell peppers, you’re likely wondering – when should I start picking them? Well, hold off on harvesting until 55-80 days after transplanting seedlings.
This ensures green bells reach full maturity for the sweetest flavor and crispest texture. Picking too soon results in bitter, grassy taste and thinner walls.
In this article, you’ll discover:
- How to identify clear signs your green peppers are ripe
- Expert tips for harvesting without damaging plants
- Ways to enjoy and store your green bell bounty
Understanding the ideal timing for harvesting green bell peppers is key. So let’s dive in and get you ready for green pepper picking success!
Why We Love Growing Green Bells
Before we get to the harvesting how-to, let’s start with why green bell peppers are so popular to grow…
Green bells have a nice sweetness while also being:
- Crunchy and juicy with thick, sturdy walls
- Milder in flavor than other pepper colors
- Absolutely gorgeous ripening on the vine
- Available earlier – green comes first!
They are super versatile in recipes like:
- Salad or veggie tray sliced up
- Fajitas and stir-fries
- Stuffed peppers
- Adding color to any dish!
Now let’s get into identifying when those beauties are ready for harvest…
How to Know Your Green Bells are Ripe for Picking
Timing is key for green bell perfection! Too early, and they are bitter with thin walls. Too late, and they get soft with poor texture.
Look for these signs your green peppers are at peak ripeness:
Green bells should be 3-4 inches long and 2-3 inches wide when ripe.
Ripe skin is smooth and shiny with no wrinkles, spots or blemishes.
Give It a Gently Squeeze
Mature fruits feel firm and rigid with no soft spots.
Watch the Shoulders
Peppers fill out and shoulders broaden when ripe. Should feel full vs. narrow.
Are the Walls Sturdy?
Test thickness by gently pressing – walls should be rigid and not bendable.
Sniff for Sweetness
Give those beauties a sniff! Ripe green peppers have a sweet, grassy smell.
Got those signs down? Now let’s look at when to start checking…
When to Start Harvesting Your Green Bell Peppers
Here’s a timeline for when your green bells transform from immature to ready for picking:
- Days to maturity: 55-80 days from transplant date.
- First signs of size: Around 45 days after transplanting.
- Ready for harvest: 55-80 days from transplant, when fully green and matured.
- Peak season: Aim for peak ripeness in mid-late summer for highest yields.
- Harvest window: Green bells can be left on the vine past peak ripeness for increased sweetness.
- Final harvest: Before your first expected fall frost, collect any remaining peppers.
Now that you know when green bells are ready, let’s get into the actual harvesting…
Expert Tips for Picking Green Peppers Like a Pro
When harvest time comes, use these pro tips for collecting your green bell bounty:
- Use clean, sharp scissors or shears – don’t tug peppers off.
- Pick in dry weather to keep peppers dry after harvesting.
- Handle gently to prevent bruises and damage.
- Use both hands – support plant with one, pick with the other.
- Harvest in the morning when peppers are cool and crisp.
- Check plants every few days once peppers start maturing.
- Place immediately into vented basket or bag after picking.
- Store freshly picked peppers in the shade or indoors to maintain cool temp.
Now comes the best part – enjoying your green bell bounty!
Enjoying Your Harvest of Green Bell Peppers
Once picked, enjoy your green peppers:
- On veggie trays or salads for their crunchy sweetness
- Grilled, roasted or sauteed
- In fajitas, stir fries, omelets and more
- Stuffed with meats, cheese, rice, etc.
- In colorful fresh salsas
- Pickled for longevity
- Added to pasta dishes, pizza and sandwiches
The possibilities are endless! Now let’s discuss how to store them…
Storing Your Harvest of Green Bell Peppers
Green peppers retain optimum freshness when you:
- Store unwashed peppers in the crisper drawer of your fridge. They’ll last 7-10 days.
- Keep them whole with stems attached, and don’t overcrowd.
- Place in perforated plastic bags to allow airflow and reduce moisture.
- Rinse just before eating for longest life.
- Pickle in jars using vinegar to enjoy for months.
Now you’ve got the inside tips for growing and harvesting the tastiest green bells around. Happy pepper picking!
How do you know when green bell peppers are ready to pick?
Signs green bell peppers are ripe and ready for picking include: size of 3-4 inches long and 2-3 inches wide, smooth shiny skin, firm flesh, sturdy walls, and a sweet, grassy aroma. Allowing peppers to fully ripen on the vine results in the best flavor.