New to gardening and wondering when to pick bell peppers? We've got all the details you need and then some.
I have really gotten into gardening over the last few years and nothing makes me happier than harvesting fresh veggies grown in our own garden.
We always stock our garden with tons of bell pepper plants and tomato varieties since that's what we tend to consistently use up each year with no issue.
If you're new to gardening and wondering when to pick bell peppers, this guide covers everything about the best time and the best way to pick bell peppers.
How Should Bell Peppers Be Planted?
Before you can pick bell peppers, you have to actually grow peppers. They are so much tastier than the ones you might buy at your local grocery store!
The good news is, growing bell peppers in your backyard garden is easy. You can buy vegetable plants at a local nursery or start them from seed packet.
I typically like to start with starter pepper plants depending on the pepper variety. It costs a bit more, but it's a great option for newer gardeners.
Members of the nightshade family, bell peppers should be planted after danger of frost 18 to 24 inches apart in a sunny area with good drainage.
Pepper plants need several hours of direct sunlight (at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sun per day) to grow to their full size reach maxium yield potential.
For best results, consider mixing a bit of peat mosss or compost into the soil - peppers love loamy soil making it an ideal texture for gardening.
Give your new plants a deep watering and continue to water them regularly throughout the long growing season until it is harvest time for your ripe peppers.
When To Pick Bell Peppers
When peppers first appear on your new plants, it's cause for great excitement, but you still have to wait until the right time to harvest peppers.
On healthy plants, bell peppers will typically take 10 to 14 days to reach full size once the first miniature peppers start to form on the plant.
For the best, most flavorful bell peppers you'll want to wait a few days to even a week to pick green bell peppers once they have reached maximum size.
Doing so allows green peppers to achieve the ideal flavor and texture, but the ripening process is not done yet!
Left alone to continue ripening on the plant, green peppers will eventually ripen into red bell peppers. (This longer growing is why red peppers cost more!)
While there are always variables with fresh produce, these tips will help you determine when to harvest bell peppers grown in your home garden.
- Green bell peppers - If you're looking to harvest green bells, you'll know they're ready when they are fully grown at roughly 3 - 4" in diameter with a rich dark green color.
- Red bell peppers - Wait for the color change from green to red and observe when the bell pepper fruit has gotten much darker indicating a sweeter flavor.
- Orange bell peppers - Similarly, orange bell peppers are ready when they are a vibrant, bright color and the flesh has softened ever so slightly.
- Yellow bell peppers - Mature bell peppers come in a variety of colors - yellow are my favorite! When the yellow is rich and saturated, it's time to pick.
How To Pick Bell Peppers
Now that you know when to pick bell peppers, here are our best tips for how to pick bell peppers:
- While not always needed, you may want to grab a pair of sharp scissors or even a sharp knife. A basket or bucket of some kind will also be useful for collecting your peppers.
- Check out your pepper plants and choose the ones to pick based on the type of pepper and their respective shape and color.
- For green bell peppers, picking them is generally as easy as giving them a little twist. If they come off easily, they're ready to be picked and you can carry on.
- When it comes to fully mature peppers, such as red peppers, you'll likely want to use your scissors or kitchen shears to make a clean cut leaving behind a short stem.
- For the best flavor and texture, home gardeners should avoid being overly rough with your peppers to avoiding bruising the fruit or damaging the plant.
Can You Pick a Bell Pepper Too Early?
If you're looking for yellow or red bell peppers, you'll want to make sure you don't pick your bell peppers too early or your pepper won't fully ripen.
Depending on the variety of pepper you're looking to grow and enjoy, this can be be a disappointment. If you like sweet peppers, let them go for longer!
With ripe bell peppers the color of the fruit will be deep in color while boasting a sweet flavor. Those picked too early will be noticeably firmer and less sweet.
Do Green Peppers Ripen After Picking?
Typically speaking, the majority of peppers do not continue to ripen after picking although there is a slight exception to this rule.
Some pepper varieties will continue to ripen a bit after they've been picked, but only if your green pepper has has started to change color before picking.
In general, it's a good idea to allow your peppers to continue to ripen on the plant for the sweet peppers you're likely after.
Our Favorite Ways To Eat Bell Peppers
One of the best parts about gardening is getting to enjoy the fruits of your labor! Bell peppers are not only delicious but also good sources of vitamin C.
Planning a dinner party and need some inspiration?
How about looking for a new slow cooker dinner idea?
We’ve got you covered in our ever-growing Facebook group! If you’re not a member yet, why not?!
We’re chatting cooking techniques, dessert ideas, and everything in between. If you’re already a member, invite your friends to join us too!
Cyd is a native of Upstate New York, born to a family of women who love to cook and host parties. She shares her love of all things food, home and entertaining on her blog, The Sweetest Occasion and on Instagram.Tags: Peppers, FAQ