when-to-pick-banana-peppers

When To Pick Banana Peppers

Banana peppers are long, medium-sized yellow peppers. There are spicy and sweet versions of the banana pepper, but the sweet pepper is the most popular. Hot varieties will take longer to fully mature. They are excellent when eaten fresh, but are often preferred canned or pickled. Ripe banana peppers have waxy yellow skin and few seeds.

Peppers and colors

All peppers start out green and eventually ripen to their final colors. Some peppers go through multiple shades before settling into a mature red, brown, or orange. Banana peppers are no exception. They begin life green before maturing to a light canary yellow color. If left longer on the plant they will eventually turn a light red color.

Peppers are edible at any stage. Pick them green for a crisp and mild version of the fully mature pepper. Banana peppers are the most flavorful during the yellow stage. Green banana peppers have a young flavor, and red banana peppers can be tough skinned. Commercial producers will harvest them when they are green but showing hints of turning yellow. At this stage, they will turn color off the plant giving them a longer shelf life.

Days to Maturity

Banana peppers typically take 70 days to reach maturity. That number refers to the days from transplant to harvest. If you are starting pepper seeds, you’ll need to add a few weeks to account for the germination and seedling time.

Conditions that can affect the rate of a pepper plants growth include:

  • Cold Temperatures
  • Poor Soil
  • Underwatering

If plants are well cared for, there shouldn’t be any delay in growth. Plants exposed to stress factors will take longer to produce fruit and reach maturity.

Continuous Harvest

Pepper plants begin producing around mid-summer but will continue to produce until the season cools or the days shorten. Continuous picking will encourage more pepper production. There will be different stages of fruit on the plant all at one time. You can leave some peppers to ripen to a yellow or red stage and harvest others when they’re green.

Storage and Preservation

Part of good practice gardening is making good use of your harvest. Ripe banana pepper can be stored in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to two weeks. They are more often canned or pickled to preserve them for much longer.

Canned sweet banana peppers are often called peperoncinis and enjoyed in salads and on sandwiches. Ripe peppers can also be frozen or dried. Peppers are one of the few vegetables which does not require blanching before freezing. Peppers tend to retain much of their flavor and texture in the freezer. Try drying your garden harvest and tying peppers into decorative rista.