I have some itty bitties on my plants about 2" long. I am wondering how large they should get before I harvest them. I am a total pepper novice.
Sweet Banana Peppers usually get 6" to 8" long and their color changes from a slightly greenish/pale yellow to a deeper yellow to orange to red. You can harvest them anytime you want once they are close to their mature length. Many people harvest them while they are still a pale yellow but I think the longer you leave them on the plant the sweeter they taste.
Sometimes, though not always, you will see very faint, very pale purple streaks on your peppers and those streaks go away as the peppers ripen too.
If you can remember when the fruit first set, you should have "ripe" banana peppers 70-85 days later, depending on whether you have the standard Sweet Banana pepper variety or Banana Supreme or whichever.
I am just an average fan of peppers, and have grown a few banana peppers in the past because of how nice they produce and look (I give them away). I have never cared for the taste. Last year I let the last ones turn totally red and they were excellent when I tasted them. It's kind of expensive to buy them and wait until they are red to eat, but the taste to me is worth it.
I agree that the red ones taste best, and I feel the same way about bell peppers--I like to let them turn orange or red before I harvest them, although sometimes I'll harvest the lilac, purple or chocolate colored ones while they are that color just to add that specific color to a salad.
I have no idea why we, the American public, buy and eat sweet bell peppers in their green stage....except we have been "taught" (erroneously) that to do so is "normal". We don't (usually) buy tomatoes green and eat them. (Unless you want to make green tomato chow-chow or fried green tomatoes). I think that the American agricultural system must have figured out decades ago that they could harvest bell peppers in the green stage and sell them as normal to the American public....and that way, they are turning over product two weeks earlier, instead of letting them get fully ripe. (sigh) I refuse to buy green bell peppers in the stores....and won't hardly pay the astronomical prices for yellow, orange or red ones, so my plants had better produce enough this summer for me to freeze a ton of them!
Thanks, Dawn! I'll let them turn red then. I really am not much of a pepper fan, but I thought I'd try them in a salsa (conjured up by me).
I too like to let my peppers, both the bell and banana, turn red. They really do have the best taste that way. However I do harvest a few green ones to add to salsa. But I like to pick my poblanos when they are just big enough to stuff with cheese for chili rellenos. But mainly that's because I get impatient and can't wait. Dorothy