Red Peppers

Here’s When To Harvest Those Tasty Red Peppers

Wanting to know the perfect time to pick ripe, flavorful red peppers? The ideal timing is 70-100 days after transplanting, when peppers fully turn vibrant red and feel crisp and firm. Picking too early means less sweetness and color. Waiting too long leads to soft, mushy peppers.

Getting your red pepper harvesting schedule right ensures your peppers reach their full delicious potential!

In this article, I’ll share tips on identifying peak ripeness, growing your own red peppers, proper harvesting technique, and storing your bountiful harvest. Let’s dive in!

Why Grow Red Peppers?

First, what’s so special about red peppers anyway? Some perks:

  • Vibrant red color brightens up any dish
  • Sweet, fruity flavor perfect for stuffing
  • Nutrients like vitamins A, C and antioxidants
  • Range from mild bells to hot habaneros

Compared to unripe green peppers, fully ripe red peppers contain more concentrated sugars and antioxidants.

Fun fact: All peppers start out green! As they ripen, they turn red, orange, yellow, purple or even chocolate brown. Each color has its perks, but I love the candy-like sweetness of ripe red varieties.

Identifying Peak Red Pepper Ripeness

Now for the juicy stuff – how do you know your red peppers are fully ripe and ready for picking? Watch for:

Vibrant Red Skin

Ripe red peppers will turn from green to a rich, deep red. Look for full red color without major streaks of other hues.

Firm, Crisp Texture

Give those beauties a gentle squeeze. Ripe red peppers should feel very firm and solid, not mushy or wrinkled.

Pepper Reaches Ideal Size

Mature red peppers achieve their full size potential. Bell peppers ≈ 4 inches long. Chili peppers ≈ 2-3 inches.

Dry Pepper Stems

When ripe, the stem end will look shriveled and dried out where it attaches to the plant.

Full Flavor

Bite into a chunk! Ripe red peppers burst with sweet, robust flavor.

Growing Your Own Tasty Red Peppers

For the freshest, most flavorful red peppers, I recommend growing your own! Here are some tips:

  • Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before your last spring frost date.
  • Transplant seedlings outside after the danger of frost passes.
  • Amend soil with compost and fertilize plants.
  • Place in full sun and water 1-2 inches per week.
  • Allow 70-100 days for most red pepper varieties to fully ripen.

Why Aren’t My Peppers Turning Red?

You’ve been patiently waiting for those green peppers to ripen into vibrant red. But the skin remains stubbornly green. What’s going on?

Here are some common reasons your peppers aren’t turning red:

Weather Too Cool

Peppers need hot temps of 80-90°F to fully ripen. Cool weather can stall color change. Move pots to warmer areas.

Not Enough Time

It takes 70+ days for most peppers to fully turn from green to red. Be patient and allow more time to ripen.

Insufficient Sun

Peppers need at least 6 hours of direct sun daily. Increase sunlight exposure to encourage reddening.


Too much moisture prevents ripening. Let soil dry between waterings.

Low Nutrients

Peppers need certain nutrients like calcium to ripen fully. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer.

Heavy Crop Load

Too many peppers divides resources and inhibits ripening. Thin some unripe peppers to help others redden.

Plant Stress

Stress from pests, disease, overcrowding etc. can stall ripening. Control stresses and properly care for plants.

How to Harvest Red Peppers Perfectly

When your red peppers reach their peak, it’s go time! Follow these pro tips:

  • Use clean, sharp scissors or pruners to snip peppers at the stem.
  • Gently twist/wiggle peppers to remove without damaging plants.
  • Leave about 1/2-1 inch of stem attached to prevent rotting.
  • Handle gently to avoid bruises. Bruises shorten shelf life.
  • Pick in dry conditions to avoid introducing rot-causing moisture.

Storing Your Bountiful Red Pepper Harvest

With proper storage, freshly picked red peppers will retain texture and flavor for months:

  • Store unwashed peppers loose in the fridge crisper for 3-4 weeks.
  • Freeze diced peppers in airtight bags for 6-8 months.
  • Pickle peppers in jars to enjoy for up to 1 year.
  • Dehydrate and grind into red pepper powder.

You’ll be enjoying garden-fresh peppers all year long!

Let’s Get Growing Some Tasty Red Peppers

I hope these tips will help you grow and harvest bushels of flavorful red peppers!

Use this guide to start growing your own and pick them at peak ripeness.

Key tips:

  • Start seeds indoors about 2 months before your last spring frost.
  • Transplant outdoors when nighttime temps stay above 50°F.
  • Allow 70-100 days for most red pepper varieties to fully ripen.
  • Harvest when vibrantly red and firm. Store properly to maximize shelf life.

Now who wants to join my stuffed red pepper dinner party?

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Bill Kalkumnerd
Bill Kalkumnerd

I am Bill, I am the Owner of HappySpicyHour, a website devoted to spicy food lovers like me. Ramen and Som-tum (Papaya Salad) are two of my favorite spicy dishes. Spicy food is more than a passion for me - it's my life! For more information about this site Click

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