Do you love the amazing flavor of poblano peppers? Then you’re probably wondering – when exactly is the best time to pick these delicious peppers for maximum taste and heat?
The short answer: 65-80 days after planting your poblano pepper seeds, when the peppers turn a deep, dark green and feel firm yet tender. This is when they reach peak ripeness.
Pick too soon, and poblanos will be small and bitter. Wait too long past the prime stage, and they lose that perfect sweet-spicy kick.
Trust me, after growing countless poblano plants, nailing the harvest timing is key!
In this article, I’ll share when poblanos are ready for picking, signs to look for, growing tips, and how to keep your peppers fresh long after harvest. Let’s get to it!
First up, what makes poblano peppers so darn good?
What Are Poblano Peppers Anyway?
First, what makes these little green dudes so special? Poblano peppers are a popular kind of chili pepper used in Mexican cooking. They pack a mildly spicy punch.
When ripe, poblanos turn a deep, dark green that’s nearly black. They can also turn red or brown later on. These heart-shaped peppers grow around 4-6 inches long.
Compared to other peppers, poblanos have a richer, sweeter flavor. They add a roasted, earthy taste to dishes like:
- Chili rellenos
- Mole sauce
And that’s just the start! Grilled or stuffed poblanos are also amazing.
Growing Your Own Tasty Poblano Peppers
I don’t know about you, but I think homegrown veggies just taste better. It’s easy to grow poblano pepper plants in your own backyard or containers.
Here are some growing tips:
- Start seeds indoors: Plant seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before your last spring frost date. Use seed starter mix and keep soil warm.
- Transplant outside: Move seedlings outdoors after all danger of frost passes. Space plants 18-24 inches apart in a sunny spot.
- Prep soil: Make sure soil drains well but holds moisture. Mix in compost or organic fertilizer.
- Water: Give plants 1-2 inches of water per week. Avoid soggy soil.
- Harvest: Start picking peppers when they turn dark green!
Growing your own lets you pick peppers right at peak ripeness.
When Are Poblano Peppers Ready to Pick?
Now for the juicy stuff – when should you start harvesting those beautiful poblanos?
Here are the signs your poblano peppers are ripe and ready for picking:
They Turn Dark Green
Ripe poblano peppers will transition from a light green to a very dark, almost blackish green hue. This usually takes 65-80 days after planting.
Once peppers reach their mature dark green color, use scissors to snip them off the plant, leaving about an inch of stem attached.
They Feel Firm
Give those babies a gentle squeeze. Ripe poblanos will feel very firm and solid.
If the pepper is mushy or has soft spots, it’s overripe. Pass on those.
Peppers Lose Their Shiny Look
Young unripe poblanos have a smooth, shiny exterior. As they mature, this glossiness fades to a matte finish.
Pepper Stems Look Dry
Check where the pepper stem meets the plant. Ripe peppers will have a dry looking stem.
Peppers Grow 4-6 Inches Long
Mature poblano peppers reach their full size potential when ripe, typically 4-6 inches in length.
If you pick too early, they’ll be smaller with less flavor.
Different Phases = Different Tastes
The ripeness of a poblano pepper determines its taste:
- Unripe: Light green with bitter, grassy flavor
- Color Break: Turning color with tangy, mild
- Ripe: Dark green with full sweetness and medium heat
- Overripe: Wrinkly with pruney texture but intense flavor
For the best balance of sweet and spicy, harvest your poblanos when they reach that perfect dark green ripe stage.
Red Ripe Poblanos – An Added Bonus!
What if you leave your ripe green poblano peppers on the plant even longer? Keep waiting and they’ll turn red!
These fully mature red poblanos are sweeter with a more mellow
So if you want to mix things up, let some of your green poblanos ripen to red later in the season. More flavors to enjoy!
How Long For Poblanos to Turn Red?
I mentioned earlier that leaving ripe green poblano peppers on the plant even longer allows them to turn red. This adds sweetness and changes up the flavor profile.
But exactly how long does it take for green poblanos to mature into red peppers?
On average, it takes 1-2 months after the initial ripening for poblanos to fully develop from green to rich red.
The timeline depends on your climate and growing conditions. Warmer weather tends to speed things up.
Monitor your plants closely once green peppers reach optimal ripeness. It likely won’t happen overnight, but red coloring will gradually develop over several weeks.
Look for these signs your green poblanos are transitioning to red:
- Small red streaks appearing on the skin
- Peppers turning more orange/brown hued
- Deepening to a rich, bright red color
Allowing this extra ripening time lets you enjoy a whole new flavor. Roast up some red poblanos or use them for making hot sauce and salsa.
Harvesting Pro Tips
Follow these pro tips when picking poblanos for maximum freshness:
- Use clean, sharp scissors or garden shears to snip peppers off at the stem.
- Try not to handle or bruise peppers, which shortens shelf life.
- Leave the stem and top cap intact to keep from rotting.
- Pick early in the day when peppers are most crisp.
- Avoid picking wet peppers which may mold faster.
- Place unwashed peppers in paper bags in the fridge.
Store Peppers Right to Enjoy Longer
With proper storage, your harvested poblano peppers will stay fresh longer:
- Store unwashed peppers in breathable paper bags in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.
- Don’t overcrowd the bag – this causes faster spoiling.
- For longer storage, freeze whole peppers in airtight bags for 4-6 months.
- Pickled or canned poblanos also last months in the pantry.
Now you can savor those delicious homegrown poblanos even when your plants finish producing!
Ready, Set, Grow Those Poblanos!
Armed with this knowledge, you’re ready to grow your own poblano pepper patch and pick them at their peak.
- Start seeds indoors about 2 months before planting out.
- Transplant seedlings when day and night temps stay above 50°F.
- Water plants regularly and prep soil with compost or fertilizer.
- Harvest peppers when they turn dark green and feel firm – about 65-80 days after planting.
- Store freshly picked peppers properly in the fridge or freezer.
Growing poblanos is super rewarding. I hope these tips help you enjoy their amazing flavor! Now who wants to join my homemade enchilada party?