For those interested in gardening, it’s important to know when to plant and harvest your plants. Things can get complicated, however, because different plants develop at different paces, and some are ready for harvesting earlier than others.
Banana peppers are one of the tastiest vegetables you can incorporate into your garden. If you’re thinking about adding these to your garden, you’ve come to the right place. This article will focus on when to harvest banana peppers, but we’ll also look at the right way to harvest and store them for future use. Let’s get planting!
Types of Banana Peppers
Part of what makes knowing when to harvest banana peppers so difficult is that there are many different types. While most banana pepper varieties have similar planting and harvesting schedules, others are slightly different. Knowing what type of banana pepper plant you have is important if you hope to harvest it at the right time.
To help keep things simple, we’ll break banana pepper plants into two categories.
When to Harvest Banana Peppers That are Spicy
There are several different types of spicy banana peppers, but the harvesting time is similar for all of them. The longer you let spicy banana pepper plants grow, the more mature they become and the spicier they get. Therefore, if you want super spicy banana peppers, you should wait longer to harvest them. You should harvest them sooner for a slight bite but not unbearable spice.
When to Harvest Banana Peppers That are Sweet
Sweet banana pepper plants are the polar opposite of spicy ones. Rather than waiting patiently, you want to pick sweet banana peppers before they are fully mature. Sweet banana peppers are okay to pick as soon as they turn yellow. You can even pick them before they fully yellow if you want to give it time to ripen after picking. If you wait until they turn red, they will lose the sweetness that makes them special.
Things to Keep in Mind When Harvesting Banana Peppers
There are several things to keep in mind in terms of knowing when to harvest banana peppers.
When They Were Planted
In most cases, banana peppers are ready to pick 70 to 85 days after you planted them. This includes if you started your peppers indoors and moved them outdoors at a later date. However, time alone isn’t the best way to know when to harvest banana peppers. Depending on the weather, where you live, and how often you watered them, banana peppers can take more or less time to mature.
Instead, you should use the 70 to 85 days as a general timeframe to give you a decent idea of when your peppers will be ready to harvest.
Color is the best indicator to use in terms of when to harvest banana peppers. When they first bud and start to grow, banana peppers will be various shades of green. They’ll stay this color for most of the season until they slowly mature around days 65 to 70. Eventually, they’ll start to turn yellow, which is when you should start thinking about picking them.
For sweet banana pepper plants, you can pick them anytime after they turn yellow. The sooner you pick them, the sweeter and crunchier they will be. For hot banana peppers, the longer you wait to pick them, the spicier they will become. You can even wait until the pepper turns a reddish color if you want them to be super spicy.
Outside of color, size is the best way to know when to harvest banana peppers. While size may vary slightly from year to year, banana peppers are fairly consistent with how big and long they get. Sweet banana peppers will usually be around four to six inches long, and hot banana peppers will be around six to eight inches long.
However, because there are different types of plants within each subcategory, you should research the specific type of banana pepper you’re planting. Several varieties will only grow two to four inches long, which is important to know because your peppers can go bad if you wait too long to harvest them. They’ll rot on the vine while you wait for them to get longer, even though it’s never going to happen.
When it comes to knowing when to harvest banana peppers, the texture is an indicator you’ll learn to use with experience. For beginners, it’s hard to tell the difference between a mature banana pepper and an immature one. Veterans, however, can tell if a banana pepper is ready to harvest based on how firm or soft the pepper is.
Banana peppers tend to soften ever so slightly when they’re ready to harvest, but they’ll be very firm when they’re not quite ripe. If they’re too soft, however, it means you waited too long to harvest them, and they’ve gone bad.
When to Harvest Banana Peppers
By using each of the above four indicators, you can know when to harvest banana peppers. Color and size are the easiest and most obvious indicators to use, while texture is something you learn with experience. Time should only be used as a general timetable to know when to harvest banana peppers because it can vary from year to year.
What Time of Day and Year is the Best Time to Harvest Banana Peppers?
In order to know when to harvest banana peppers during the year, you have to know when to plant them. You should wait until the last frost of the season to plant your banana peppers outside. If you want your banana peppers to be ready in early to mid-summer, you can optionally start them inside in pots and move them outside in the spring.
In terms of the best time of day to harvest banana peppers, it depends on where you live. Early morning is usually the best time if you live in hot areas because picking banana peppers is sweaty, back-breaking work.
However, you never want to pick banana peppers when they’re wet. If you live in the midwest or other areas with heavy morning dew, you’ll have to wait until mid-morning or early afternoon to harvest your banana peppers.
How to Harvest Banana Peppers
The hardest part about banana peppers is planting and caring for them. Once they’re full-grown and ready to harvest, the actual picking process is fairly easy.
- Make sure that your banana peppers are ready to harvest based on the color, texture, and size of the plant. Use 65 to 75 days as a general timetable for sweet peppers and 75 to 90 days for hot peppers.
- Wait until the morning dew has dried so that you don’t harvest any wet banana peppers. Harvesting wet peppers can spread pathogens, mold, or mildew if you seal the peppers before they’re dried.
- To pick the peppers, you have the option of using pruning shears or picking them by hand.
- For pruning shears, you’ll want to cut the banana pepper around the middle of the stem. The stem connects the body of the pepper to the plant, and you should try to leave at least a quarter of an inch of stem left attached to the plant.
- To pick banana peppers, take hold of the pepper at the base of the stem where it attaches to the pepper.
- With your other hand, hold the plant in place.
- Give the pepper a slight tug, and it should pull free fairly easily.
- Using pruning shears is recommended when you’re harvesting sweet banana peppers, and picking by hand is preferred with hot banana peppers.
How to Store Banana Peppers After Harvest
Depending on how many banana peppers you’re harvesting, there’s a good chance you won’t consume them all at the same time. Instead, you’ll want to put some away for storage so you can enjoy them throughout the winter. Make sure to start the storage process within a week of when you pick them because banana peppers will start to go bad after that timeframe.
- Immediately after picking your banana peppers, rinse them off.
- Give them adequate time to air dry before you store them. Storing wet banana peppers will cause them to become moldy and gross.
- Once they’re dried, you should store banana peppers in airtight containers or bags.
- You can store them in your refrigerator for a week or two before they go bad.
- Banana peppers will last in the freezer for up to a year.
- Canned or dried banana peppers will last for up to a year but no longer.
- Pickled banana peppers will stay good for around one to two months.
- Once again, the key to storing banana peppers is making sure they’re completely clean, rinsed, and dry.
In terms of importance, learning how to store banana peppers should come last. After all, if you don’t know how and when to harvest banana peppers, you won’t have any to store.
Wrapping Up When to Harvest Banana Peppers
There you have it, everything you need to know about harvesting, storing, and picking banana peppers. While there are many important steps throughout the process, it all starts with knowing when to harvest banana peppers. If you pick them based on their size, type, color, and texture will ensure you harvest them at the right time year after year.
For more about harvesting veggies from a survival garden, check out Everything You Need to Know About When to Harvest Acorn Squash.