when-to-pick-anaheim-peppers

When To Pick Anaheim Peppers

Anaheim peppers (Capsicum annuum) originated in New Mexico. They are 6-10 inches long and usually seen green in supermarkets but can also ripen to a bright red. They are mostly sweet peppers with occasional hints of spice, particularly in the seeds. Grow Anaheims for an all-purpose pepper that can be both sweet and spicy.

Days to Maturity

Anaheim seeds take approximately 70-90 days to reach maturity. Keep in mind that this number does not include how long it takes them to germinate. If germinated in cooler conditions, it can add up to a month of growth time to your expected harvest date.

Keeping track of how old your pepper plants are will help you determine when they are ready to harvest and how healthy their growth rate is. A slow growth rate can indicate stress and may require transplant or feeding.

Green Peppers

Most Anaheim peppers you can find will have been harvested green. They are fully developed, with a pepper between 6 and 10 inches in length. But, they are still green as opposed to red which they turn in their final mature stage.

Green Anaheim peppers will be sweeter and less spicy. Harvest these when they reach a mature length. Picking peppers green will encourage the plant to fruit more frequently. If the plant seems to slow or stop in production, fertilize with a bucket of compost tea poured at the base.

Red Peppers

If allowed to reach the fully ripe stage on the plant, Anaheim peppers will turn a deep shade of red. These fruits will have quite a bit more spiciness to them than their green counterparts. Letting them ripen on the vine is the best approach for gardeners wanting red Anaheim peppers.

They will have a fuller flavor and more nutritional value. This isn’t recommended for market growers who require a longer shelf life for their produce. Vine-ripened Anaheim peppers will have a shorter shelf life in the fridge or cellar than green peppers.

Saving Seeds

Seed saving is easy to do with peppers. In order to save viable seed, your fruits will need to be fully mature:

  • 6 inches long
  • Preferably red or dark green
  • Developed seeds inside

Plants that have ripened to a red stage will definitely be mature and will almost always contain viable seed. Even darker green peppers can be used to save seed, but smaller lighter green pepper may be too young.

Cut open the pepper, use gloves if it is spicy. You can remove the stem and most of the seeds at once and set the fruit aside for eating. Then, separate the seeds from the fiber of the plant and place them on a cheesecloth or paper towel for drying.