Harvesting the First Big Batch of Habanero Peppers

Okiedawn OK Zone 7July 22, 2010

Yesterday afternoon I harvested the first big harvest of habanero peppers. So, today I'll be making Habanero Gold with fresh peppers. (Last week I made two batches with peppers frozen last year.)

Last night I made Cherry-Habanero Jelly and it does have that sweet fruity/hot pepper flavor blend that tricks you by starting you with the sweet flavor followed by the sudden realization that it is hot! I made this particular batch because of friend of ours has a birthday this week and she like Cherry-Pepper jellies.

I harvested enough habs to make a few batches of jelly, and many more are half-ripe and will be ready in a few more days. I'm trying to stay on top of the pepper harvest by using them fresh, jellying them, drying them or roasting/freezing them pretty much daily so that I don't end up with a big pile of peppers on the counter......

So far, it is working out perfectly. I've had two huge jalapeno harvests and have canned about 3 or 4 dozen jars of them so far, and now the habs are ripe when I've just finished processing a large batch of jalapenos. I hope they manage to keep ripening at opposite times so I'm not overwhelmed with too many at once.

Is anyone else harvesting many hot peppers yet?


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You have Habanero and other peppers?

I still have NONE. Last year, mine started producing after the heat of the summer broke. That's the only reason they are still in the ground.

I am jealous.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 8:31AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I believe all that rainfall in May has slowed down your plants???? I can't help thinking the roots were waterlogged and then the severe heat set in and that has really affected your tomatoes and peppers? I hope the situation improves for you. I imagine you are very frustrated and the thing is that you cannot control the weather so it has to improve before the plants will start producing well.

I have been harvesting jalapenos since sometime in June. We eat a lot of them as grilled poppers, and I have made 3 batches of salsa so far and have canned about 40 jars of Candied Jalapenos, which really is just pickled jalapenos using a Bread and Butter Pickle recipe but substituting peppers for cucumbers. I have frozen a couple of gallons of jalapenos...some were roasted first so they are, technically, chipotles, and the rest were just frozen for use in winter.

The habaneros have surprised me somewhat because it seems they went from half-sized and green to full-sized and orange in about a week.

I also have Fish Peppers that are ripening and I hope to have enough of them harvested in a day or two that I can make a fermented pepper sauce. I only planted a couple of Fish Peppers, and they are in containers, so they are not as productive as the peppers that are in the ground.

The Sweet Peppers are producing well. I harvest them once or twice a week. Some of them go into salsa, some are eaten fresh, and others are sliced or chopped and frozen for cooking in the garden's 'off-season'. I am leaving all the sweet bells on the plants until they turn to their mature color of red, orange or yellow. That way, I can smirk when I walk by the produce display at our Wal-Mart where they sell red, orange or yellow bell pepers for 2 to 3 times the price of green bell peppers. The only difference? It takes about 2 weeks longer for the peppers to mature from green to orange, red, or yellow.

I'm about to pick the first couple of Zavory peppers today. They look like red habaneros, but are very low heat (about 500 Scoville units) so they should be perfect for me.

My poblano peppers aren't doing much yet and it looks like it will be fall before they produce much of anything.

I grew two different varieties of low-heat jalapenos (I think I grew Delicias and Senorita) and thought I'd like them, but they have too little heat--they're pretty much no-heat instead of low-heat, so I won't grow them again.

We use tons of peppers in cooking and eat a lot ourselves, so I plant a lot of them. Tim also gives salsa, canned peppers and pepper jellies to about 100 people at work for Christmas and this year he wants to be sure we give all the members of our local volunteer fire dept. the same type of gift bag that he gives his fellow officers at work, so I need to can even more than I canned last year. At our house, with the exception of last year's harvest, there's never too many peppers no matter how many we have. I could (and do) can and roast them endlessly.

Because I noticed last week that the habaneros were ripening rapidly, I stocked up on the dried apricots needed for the jelly and bought a large bag of sugar and large bottles of vinegar at Sam's. Everything else...onions, sweet peppers and, of course, the habaneros, are from our garden. I expect to make at least 120 jars of Habanero Gold. Since one Big Batch is 5 or 6 jars, that's a lot of batches.

I hope you get a good pepper harvest soon. I bet in Sept. or Oct. you'll have peppers coming out of your ears.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 8:54AM
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Our peppers did terribly this year. I finally pulled out about 10 plants last week because I couldn't stand to look at the spindly old things anymore. We have three that are really growing and have blossoms/peppers, but the rest seem stunted. Oh well, maybe they'll start producing AFTER the tomatoes and be a blessing in disguise. I don't know where I'd put them right now anyway since every surface in the kitchen is piled high.

What do you do with pepper jelly? I remember my grandma making it when I was little, but I've never had it and don't remember what they put it on. I like spicy and sweet, but I'm just not sure how I'd use it.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 9:20AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

It can be used in many ways.

It is especially good when eaten with the cracker of your choice and cream cheese. Some people place a block of cream cheese on a serving dish and then remove the jelly from the jar and put a layer of jelly on top of the cream cheese. People use a cheese spreader to place a 'smear' of pepper jelly/cream cheese on a cracker and then eat it.

It also is especially good when served in the 'thumbprint' (cavity) of Cheddar Thumprints.

Some people like pepper jellies on cornbread muffins and some people like pepper jellies on biscuits and even on sandwiches (especially ham sandwiches).

You can melt some of the pepper jelly in a skillet or in a dish in the microwave and use a basting brush to baste meat with it when you're grilling....it is especially good as a top layer on anything barbacued....especially chicken, pork or ribs. Some people melt it down and use it to glaze a ham.

I know some people who dip fritos into it and eat it like a dip.

Some people eat it from a spoon, but any pepper jelly with habaneros in it is too hot for me to eat it straight...I need crackers and cream cheese or something to help make the pepper's heat bearable for me.

There are plain pepper jellies, like Jalapeno Jelly, that don't have the fruity flavor and there are many versions of a fruity pepper jelly. With Habanero Gold, the fruit used is Apricot. The jelly I just made was Cherry-Habanero. One of the batches I make today is going to be Apple-Habanero. It is fun to experiment with it and find interesting ways to use it.

I googled and found a list of ways to use hot pepper jellies and linked it below. There are a lot of ideas on that list that I want to try...and I notice they mention thumprint cookies and link to a recipe for them.


Here is a link that might be useful: Uses For Pepper Jelly

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 10:43AM
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How are the Mammoth jalapenos doing? They are starting to kick butt here in the last 10 days.

All of my peppers are about two weeks behind last year, which I think is because of the cold weather we had until late May. Mine didn't start growing well until the very end of May even though many had been in the ground since the end of April. They all look really good right now.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 10:52AM
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crm2431(7 -Tahlequah)

My peppers were doing soooo bad, so 10 days ago I moved them out of the raised bed and put them into pots and now they have straightened up that quick and are blooming and putting on peppers. I know this time of the year is not the reccomended time to pull up plants in this heat and transplant but I did and am so glad I did.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 11:02AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Scott, Did I mention earlier this month that I do not think the two Bonnie Plant peppers I purchased that were labeled as 'Mammoth Jalapeno' actually are Mammoth Jalapeno? They continue to produce the smallest peppers in my garden, far smaller than Mucho Nacho and Grande', and even the two no-heat jalapeno varieties are larger than they are. I don't know what they are, but they don't fit the description and/or size range of Mammoth.

I didn't look at those plants yesterday because I just harvested jalapenos last week and shouldn't have more that are ready yet. I just harvested Habaneros from that bed yesterday and ran quickly back inside (it was 3 p.m. and rather toasty). So, I'll run out to the garden right now and see if the Mammoth Jalapeno plants have suddenly begin producing the large peppers I was expecting.......I'll be right back......

OK, I looked at them, and they still are the smallest peppers I have, but they're larger than they were the last time I picked some of them. When I picked them a couple or three weeks ago, they were wide but short. Now they are longer, but not nearly as wide. It is a really peculiar variation to note on peppers ripening maybe one month apart from one another. Also, it appears that I do need to go out to the garden and harvest jalapenos this evening when the temperatures cool off a little. Appararently they are really ripening quickly in this heat.

My pepper plants are producing very well in terms of setting and ripening fruit, but last year's plants were both taller and wider. Of course, last year's plants had a lot more rainfall and milder heat indices.

Charlie, I have found pepper plants are more forgiving than many other veggies. In the fall, I dig up a few and put them into pots and overwinter them in the garage. I do try to remember to drag the pots out into the sunlight on warm days. This year's overwintered red bell pepper plant bloomed in January and I harvested those first few red bell peppers in late April from that overwintered plant. I'm going to try overwintering more of them this year since it worked out so well last year.

I'm glad your plants perked up and are flowering and setting fruit. Sometimes being transplanted or pruned shocks a sluggish plant into production.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 11:39AM
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That's too bad about the Mammoths. They are so far superior to the other two varieties that I tried last year, and the three others I tried this year, that I may only plant mammoths next year. If only they were not so hot.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 1:52PM
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I didn't plant habaneros, but I will next year. I have jalapenos, two kinds which have produced enough for all of the salsa I have made, both fresh and canned. I have a couple of pepperoncini plants and I pick 8-12 a week off of them, but they almost don't qualify as hot.

I have a lot of Pablano plants and haven't had one pepper yet. I can see a few on the plants, but they aren't very big so I haven't picked any. They seem different than most peppers in my garden, and seem to grow and grow until they reach there mature size before they produce peppers. I really like the pepper tho, so I am hoping that I have a lot in the fall. I planted heavy, maybe a dozen plants.

I have a hot pepper that I haven't picked yet although the plants have dozens of small peppers in the top of the plant. I am hoping that they will turn red and I can dry them for chili powder. I keep thinking I will dig around in the mulch and find the name, but I haven't done it. I think they are Frank's Thai Hot from George.

The sweet peppers have been producing for a long time now and I have had dozens. I just sent about half of a Wal-mart bag home with my DIL this morning, along with squash and a bag of tomatoes and another of cherry tomatoes, and many eggs. She lives in Texas and had been visiting a friend in Missouri, and was driving their truck to Texas for them because their next military assignment is in Texas and the woman has difficulty driving long distances because of a back problem. So they will have one vehicle waiting for them in a few weeks when they arrive in Texas (Burleson), and then only a four hour drive away from their new home in San Antonio.

I was happy to send lots of produce home with her because I wasn't looking forward to processing it today and they will love having it fresh. She took a lot of what I had already picked, but we added a couple of squash and a couple of big tomatoes from the garden this morning. After she left, I went back to sleep and when I woke up, I knew it was hot but that I still needed to harvest. I still got a bag full of tomatoes and peppers this morning, almost too heavy for the Wal-mart bag. That will not be the case for very long tho, because my tomato plants are all starting to look bad. They are paying the price for the high temps and the miserably high humidity.

I hope I can keep a few hanging on so that I have fresh tomatoes through-out the season, but I can't complain about the production if I lose them all. Almost all have produced very well and I have gotten lots of tomatoes.

I have especially enjoyed the non-bell types of sweet peppers this year. My favorite way is to split them in half, remove the seeds, and just lay them on the grill. Yum

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 3:21PM
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wolflover(z7 OK)

My peppers are doing great this year, and Dawn, I think it was your tip I read here about not letting the plants get below 50* or that would cause them to be slow to produce. I carried my babies inside every night that the temps dropped below 50*, which seemed to be very late this spring. I didn't get them planted in the garden until the end of May. But, they never got too cold, and they produced peppers very quickly once planted. The pepper plants I purchased, I bought from a greenhouse where I knew they'd never been allowed to get cold. That seemed to do the trick, because in past years I have had pepper plants that didn't really produce much until fall, I assume because I planted them too early and they got cold. This year I am overloaded with peppers, but then again, I have about 50 plants, too. :)

Dawn, have you ever grown a habanero type pepper called Aji Dulce? I grew several plants for my DH who can't eat regular habs. They are very good. They look and taste like orange habaneros without the heat. I gave away several plants to family members who can't handle the heat of habaneros, and they've been very much appreciated. I am addicted to habaneros, and eat them year 'round with every single meal. I guess you'd say they are my very favorite food since I eat them with every meal. :) These Aji Dulce peppers are great for sharing with people who have never experienced the wonderful taste of habanero peppers because they can't handle the heat. I have made almost 100 jars of salsa so far and used a lot of Aji Dulces in it so my family and friends can experience that great habanero taste without the fire.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 3:29PM
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I'm not into habaneros, but glad to see what you posted for uses. My 10 yo has been begging me to buy some so I let him get one at Reasors to taste yesterday. I've warned him several times that they are hot. He cut it open and I think licked it. He drank several glasses of milk and several pieces of homemade bread after that.

My peppers finally started producing and dh picked several this week. Not sure what kind they were, but they had a little heat. Dh roasted them on the grill, but didn't like them. He said they were too sweet. My bell peppers are starting to produce, but don't have any ready yet.

I've been dropping my ashes from the fireplace and grill out in the pepper bed. My mom said that was good for them. Not sure, but they don't look unhappy.

I think I'm going to get some chile peppers when we go through New Mexico in a few weeks. I may pull out a few seeds to see if I can grow them next year.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 3:38PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


It is so wonderful to see you here! I know you're there, but you don't post as often as you used to and I miss you when you aren't posting.

That was an important pepper tidbit I learned shortly after moving here, and I did find, too, that not letting the plants be exposed to cold temps below 50 degrees did make a huge difference in how well/how early they produce. I wish I'd learned it 10 or 15 years earlier. My peppers are a lot more pampered...carried in and out just like yours...but they don't seem to mind being planted later. Even though I plant them about a month later than I used to, they produce earlier than they used to. Seems odd, doesn't it, but I'll keep doing it since it works.

I haven't tried Aji Dulce. I'll have to put it on my list. The habaneros I grow are for DH and his friends. I barely survive inhaling the fumes when I'm cutting them up, and I don't eat them at all except in pepper jellies. Aji Dulce probably would be just right for a 'pepper wimp' like me.

You've made a lot more salsa than I have, but I've been bogged down in fruit. Now that the fruit is over, I can spend more time on peppers, pepper jellies and salsa. I canned about 85 jars of salsa last year and it wasn't enough, so I'm shooting for 120-130 this year. I still have a long way to go to reach that goal though.

Adellabedella, I can see why several glasses of milk and lots of bread would be required. I grew a yellow habanero type pepper called 'Fatali' (beware any pepper with the word fatal as part of its name) for several years and thought all our friends knew it was really, really, really hot. DH gave some Fatali peppers to a coworker who took them home. Before he could even warn his wife "Watch out, they're really hot", she'd taken one out of the bag and popped it into her mouth. It made blisters in her mouth. Blisters! She could laught about it later, but she was in all kinds of misery at the time. She thought it was one of those sweet squash peppers or mushroom peppers and never dreamed it was a habanero type.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 5:08PM
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I'm just glad to hear that there's still hope the peppers will produce after the summer heat breaks, because my peppers are doing almost the same thing as Moni's. Out of 4 plants (2 green peppers, 1 jalapeno, and 1 habanero) they have put on 1 jalapeno and 1 green pepper. That relatively cooler weather we had around July 4th did seem to give them a little life and they seemed to start growing and blooming again, but we're back in the oven and they are just sitting there. I'm not giving up on them yet!


    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 10:19AM
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Dawn and I have exchanged results and our experiences with growing peppers. In my opinion humidity must make a big difference. As I've stated I've also read that. Because here during the last 10 days of heat my peppers(especially my chile and jalapenos) have really grown and set well. I have one purple jalapeno that has set 8-10 at least during this time. On my chile and jalapenos I let the soil and air temps get even warmer that Dawn does. I was raised that way. Then tried pushing them in earlier here and ended up stunting them for most if not the whole season. I don't transplant my NM chile types and jalapenos before I plant okra. And both crops have enjoyed the heat and really growing. Again different climates require different growing methods and I feel humidity is the big factor between my results and what most of the rest of you experience. I do plan on planting my sweet pepper types a little earlier next year. Although they have done fine. They haven't exploded like the Chile types. I only grew a habaneros one year. And can't remember much about how they performed. Growing Aji Dulce this year. Hungarian Volcano although due to germination problems transplanted very late will be one of my first to eat again. It has done well for me. Jay

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 11:01AM
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If I understand correctly then, the humidity rather than the heat is the culprit for many of us with pepper growing problems, and you are getting good production up there due to your lower humidity? I didn't put my peppers in the ground until it had warmed up really well, but the humidity has been over the top this summer in the central part of the state.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 10:15AM
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For me, the jury is still out on the humidity question, because we have had high heat and terrible humidity and I have plenty of peppers producing. Nothing about this year has been normal, but USUALLY I get tremendous amounts of peppers in the fall after the weather cools down some. That was how I happened to discover that I didn't need to buy peppers to cook with all winter. I had so many in the fall, I couldn't keep up with them, so I just started cutting them up and freezing them. I had enough to last until spring, but this year I plan to have enough to last until pepper season again, and have already started freezing some.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 11:13AM
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This was my first year growing habaneros, a last minute addition after I tasted Dawn's Big Batch Habanero Gold with a spoon. Despite Dawn's caution I planted 14 of them. I was quite surprised when the first fruit set, looking an awful lot like a banana pepper.

I was expecting something more in my own image: short, stocky and gently wrinkled. My remaining 13 plants now have what I know are true habanero fruit. My first plant suggests there was a banana in the wood pile!

Dawn, I grew Fooled You jalapenos for the first time this year. Initially I was very disappointed because they were exactly what they promised to be, a NO heat jalapeno. But then I treated them like a sweet pepper and put rings on our twice a week home made pizza. Oh Wow! Now I've decided I'll grown them again next year. After did a mental realignment, I decided they were quite delicious.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 12:19PM
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crm2431(7 -Tahlequah)


What are some non-bell types of sweet peppers that you were talking about?


    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 2:40PM
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Charlie, I especially like the Marconi's, but here is a good selection. I didn't plant Carmen, but I have heard good things about it, and also Lipstick. I like a lot of them except that I don't care for Banana.

Here is a link that might be useful: Non-bell sweets

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 3:54PM
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crm2431(7 -Tahlequah)

Sooner or Whomever,

Has anyone ever had the Cubanelle pepper, i was wondering about taste?


    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 5:18PM
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