When Are Banana Peppers Ripe? (Color, Size, Days)
Sweet banana peppers are the ideal plant for people who don’t like their chili peppers hot. Instead of a spicy kick, these peppers have a slightly sweet and tangy taste. Then, there are also hot banana peppers that do have a spicy kick. These are similar in heat to jalapenos. But have you wondered when banana peppers are ripe?
Banana peppers are ripe 60 to 75 days after planting them. Sweet banana peppers should be yellow and 4 to 6 inches long. A fully ripe hot banana pepper should be red and around 6 to 8 inches long. Hot banana peppers will get hotter as they change from green to red.
Unlike most other chili peppers, sweet banana peppers do not get hotter as they change color from green to red. They will just get tastier and sweeter. However, hot banana peppers will get hotter as they continue to change color from yellow to orange and finally to red.
Let’s discuss the ripeness and harvesting of banana peppers in more detail.
When are Banana Peppers Ripe?
Sweet banana peppers are ripe for picking once they’ve turned a pale yellow color. Ideally, they should be around 4 to 5 inches long at this stage. This usually occurs around 60 to 75 days after planting.
After they turn yellow, sweet banana peppers will go through a gradual color change to orange and finally red. Once they develop a dark red color, they are fully mature and ripe. At this stage, the seeds inside the peppers will be fully developed.
For banana pepper to reach their red color can take an additional 2 to 4 weeks from when they first started turning yellow.
Although hot banana peppers are ripe once they turn yellow, they will continue to ripen and become hotter as they change color from yellow to orange and red. This eventual maturity can take from 90 to 100 days.
How Many Days after Planting Are Banana Peppers Ripe?
Both sweet and hot banana peppers will be ripe enough to pick after around 60 to 75 days after planting. This refers to the number of days after transplanting the seedlings into the garden or into large pots. Bear in mind that you will have to start your seeds indoors, and these can take from 4 to 7 days to germinate.
Then it will take another 4 to 5 weeks for the plants to be large enough to plant in the garden. From this, we can calculate that your first banana peppers should have reached their first harvesting stage around 90 to 100 days after the seeds are planted.
Banana Peppers Color when Ripe
Both sweet and hot banana peppers are ripe enough for picking when they reach a pale yellow color. However, if left on the plant, they will continue to change color as they mature further.
Sweet banana peppers will develop more flavor as they continue to change color. Plus, they will become sweeter.
On the other hand, hot banana peppers will get hotter as they continue on to full maturity. They will be at their hottest when they finally turn red.
Banana Peppers Size when Ripe
Hot banana peppers should be around 6 to 8 inches long when they reach the yellow stage. This is the time that they can be picked.
Sweet banana peppers should be around 4 to 6 inches long at the yellow stage. They can also start to be picked at this stage.
Don’t be tempted to pick your banana peppers if they turn yellow but have not reached the optimum size. They will continue to grow in size if you leave them on the plant a little longer.
Banana Peppers Texture when Ripe
When both hot and sweet banana peppers turn a yellow color, they will have a lovely crisp and crunchy texture. This is a great time for picking if you want to use them in salads or crunchy stir-fries.
However, when either hot or sweet banana peppers are fully ripe and have turned red, they will have softer skin and will have lost much of their crunch.
How to Tell the Difference Between Hot and Sweet Banana Peppers
Both hot and sweet banana peppers belong to the capsicum genus. Both have the common name of Hungarian peppers. They are very similar in appearance, so it can be difficult to tell which is which when it comes to harvesting.
To avoid this confusion, don’t plant them next to each other or even in the same area of your garden. You also want to ensure that you label your plants so that you don’t get them mixed up.
Once the fruits have started to grow, there is a subtle color difference between hot and sweet peppers when they’re still green. Hot peppers will be a dark green color, while sweet peppers will be a lighter green.
Another way to tell them apart is after you harvest them and cut them open. Sweet banana peppers will have a sweet smell, and there won’t be any evidence of spiciness. On the other hand, hot banana peppers will have a pungent, spicy scent when you cut them open.
If all that fails, you can just simply do the taste test. Sweet banana peppers will be sweet and crunchy, especially if you pick them early. On the other hand, hot banana peppers will have a spicy bite to them.
Hot banana peppers are considered moderately hot and measure around 3,500 to 4,000 in Scoville units. This is similar in heat to jalapenos.
When to Pick Banana Peppers?
Both hot and sweet banana peppers can be picked at any stage during their ripening process. The first harvest is ready once the peppers turn a pale yellow color and are around 4 to 6 inches long.
After this, your banana peppers can be picked at any stage during their continual ripening process. As they continue to change color, their flavor will further develop. Sweet banana peppers will become sweeter, while hot banana peppers will become hotter.
It’s a good idea to pick your banana peppers at various stages of color to see when you enjoy their flavor and texture the best.
How to Pick Banana Peppers?
Both hot and sweet banana peppers can either be picked by hand and by using a pair of kitchen scissors or pruning shears. Because these fruits have quite thick stems, they can sometimes be difficult to remove from the plant. Here’s what to do:
- Hold the stem of the pepper firmly with one hand.
- Hold the stem of the plant itself firmly with the other hand.
- Gently lift the pepper stem upwards while keeping the plant stem steady.
This should give you a clean break and will not damage the main plant.
If you’re having trouble removing the peppers from the plant in this way or are worried about damaging the main stem, use a pair of scissors or pruning shears to cut the pepper stem from the plant. Take care not to accidentally snip any part of the plant itself.
You should try and harvest your banana peppers in the morning before the sun gets too hot. Try and wait until the morning dew has dried, though. This ensures that there’s less likelihood of spreading pathogens through your plants.
Once you’ve harvested some peppers, your plant will continue to produce more right throughout the growing season. This is why it’s important to harvest the fruits on a regular basis if you want a continuous supply.
How to Store Banana Peppers?
Once you harvest your banana peppers, you can store them for about a week at room temperature. Make sure you wash them first and then also dry them. However, be prepared for harvested peppers to continue to change color while they’re on your kitchen bench.
If you’ve picked too many banana peppers, there are ways to store them longer. Here’s how:
- You can store them in the crisper section of your refrigerator. Placing them in a plastic bag will keep them fresher and stop them from going too soft.
- Banana peppers can be frozen and stored in the freezer.
- If you have a dehydrator, you can even dry them and store them in a clean and dry jar in the pantry. You can even make your own chili powder by grinding the completely dried peppers using a coffee grinder or food processor. Be sure to condition the powder in a warm oven for around 15 to 30 minutes if you intend to store your powder for a long time. This conditioning will remove any excess moisture.
- You can also pickle your peppers and store them in clean jars in the refrigerator.
- If you’re familiar with preserving techniques, you can even can your banana peppers and keep them in the pantry.
What if your Sweet Banana Peppers are Bitter?
If your sweet banana peppers taste bitter, it’s often an indication that they lack water. Banana peppers need to be kept moist right throughout the growing season. Otherwise, they will become bitter, and their skins will become thinner.