Cayenne Peppers - When should I harvest?

Nels(Z4 MN)June 29, 2005

I have a small plant that has about 5 peppers growing. 3 of them are about 4-7 inches long but still very green. are these supposed to turn red before I cut them, or shall I cut them now to reduce the weight of the plant. This is my first time growing Cayenne Reds. My Banana's and Jalepeno's are all growing in the same pot, if that makes a difference. Both are also growing well, but I have experience with those.

Thanks, Bob

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opqdan(z5 NE OH)

Pick cayenne peppers when they are red.

All three plants are in the same pot? How big is this pot?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 1:07PM
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lil_rhody(z6b RI coast)

Depending on what you are going to use them for, full maturity for crushing is when they turn red. They can be eaten or used in cooking at any time but may not offer much heat until they reach maturity.
If you want to harvest them in the green state b/4 they turn red, the flesh should appear firm to the touch and somewhat "waxy" looking. They may also have started turning color (orangey) towards the tip.
This maturity indicator holds true for many types of peppers.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 1:08PM
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Nels(Z4 MN)

Pot is very big probably about 4 foot diameter. 3 feet deep.

Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 1:16PM
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opqdan(z5 NE OH)

That's a big pot.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 2:13PM
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UncleJohn(z4 NH)

You may want to pick your early peppers before they are ripened. Peppers will stop producing once their fruit starts to reach full maturity.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 2:43PM
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Todd_In_Texas(Zone 8A Dallas)

I wait until mine turn red. I just brought in a big bucket full of the red ones yesterday after work and strung them up do dry. Good stuff.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 3:54PM
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I'm glad someone else asked about when to pick. I am also growing cayenne for the first time. I can't wait for the little buggers to mature. I have a friend who loves hot peppers so we're going to have an eating contest when they're ready. lol I'll make sure I have plenty of antacids on hand.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2005 at 5:58PM
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Ognyen(z5/6 MO)

Check 'em out green, too. I've read, and experienced, there's not much heat or taste difference with cayennes --only a color difference. If you don't have to have traditionally-red pepper, go for the green!

Jalapenos, however, take on a great fruity taste if they're allowed to turn red. I love to sweet-pickle 'em. Pickle only the meat. Save the cores and seeds for drying and powdering. Makes great cookies!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2005 at 4:53PM
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opqdan(z5 NE OH)

Many people falsly believe that hot peppers cause heart burn or indigestion. In fact, capsaicin can actually be good for the gastrointestinal system. The reason that most people believe that hot peppers cause indigestion/heartburn is due to the foods that they are eaten with. This occurs especially often with jalapenos and banana peppers that are picked in a high vinegar content solution. In these cases it is the vinegar rather than the pepper that causes the problems. In other dishes like chili, other ingrediants can cause the dish to have a low pH (eg tomatoes).

That being said, if you already have an ulcer from eating to much acidic food, or other stomach problems, then there is a possibility of the peppers causing some sort of problem.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 2:46PM
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A little niece once challenged me to eat a wiri wiri pepper. I fooled her by faking chewing motions but swallowed the pepper whole. She brought a few friends to witness repeat performances! Needless to say,I had a most uncomfortable night and next morning.(It burns you twice!) And no, I do not have a stomach disorder of any kind.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 7:13PM
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My cayennes are turning reddish/purplish/orangish (sort of) but are quite soft, almost mushy. Is this normal? I see no evidence of rot or mold and they smell OK. Thanks

    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 7:44PM
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drb323 after reading the above comments from this post, I still have a couple more questions - I've picked a couple dozen red cayenne peppers. I understand that I should now hang them up to dry. How long? Also, when I crush them to powder, do I do the entire pepper or just the skin and/or seeds? I plan on making salsa with them. TKS!!!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2006 at 5:06PM
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This is my first experience with the cayenne peppers question is if drying when they are red is the only way to preserve them. Can you take the green ones and put them in a jar of vinegar and seal them up for later? Just a thought.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 3:36PM
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I don't think Cayenne's are edible while green

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 8:36PM
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Cayenne's are very edible when they are green. This is also the best time for pickling them. Place a few in with green quartered Roma or Plum tomatoes and you have part of my grandmother's pickled tomatoes recipe. The other part is a family secret :-)

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 7:09AM
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I have been planting Cayenne peppers for the last 15~20 years for fresh use. The best time to harvest for us and with a lot of heat is just before the fruit starts turning red. Initially the pepper fruit is light green and soft. As it grows and approaches maturity the colour becomes dark green and the pepper becomes hardish and waxy and sometimes the dark green colour showa a sign of red tint. That is the time to harvest for fresh eating with good heat and taste. I find it less hot when it over-matures on plant compared to the last stage of dark green.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 9:38PM
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I too have been growing chiles from all over the world for over 20 years, All cayenne type peppers including Jalapeno and cerrano turn deep red to orange red when ripe. Though the cerrano and Jalapeno are traditionally consumed green, they should be avoided when green and eaten only when fully matured. The unripe chiles, like all unripe fruits should be avoided because they can cause ulcers and other damage to your digestive system. Fully matured chiles will heal ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems if used properly.

Cerrano and Jalapeno chiles are the most flavorful with a well rounded heat when eaten ripe... red

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 7:14PM
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Myself...I pick peppers when the color "turns" a little bit.

The intense green tends to fade a bit (but noticeably) before the red/orange/yellow/etc. kicks in. At that point I know it's time to keep an eye on the pepper or it's ready to harvest for off-plant ripening. If I'm going to have "green" peppers I pick them at this stage if I just can't wait for them to ripen properly. The astringent (strong/bitter) qualities of many peppers mellows out dramatically once the color breaks. This isn't an issue with some peppers, but it's a noticeable difference in many.

Generally, I like to wait until the color has reached 1/4 to 3/4 it's ripened color before picking depending on my own personal harvest surplus. I tend to pick most at the 1/2 way stage and ripen them indoors (not in direct sunlight) for a few days to finish up...then to the fridge.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 4:25AM
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I just now noticed the age on this thread. I was just adding to the knowledge base anyway, but I totally missed this was a 2005 message.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 4:56AM
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Cayenne is the best natural treatment for weight loss.

See the blog beow on howto user cayenne


Here is a link that might be useful: lose wight naturally

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 12:32PM
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i am also a first time cayenne plants are full.i have one that is 6 inches in length .it is still green .do i wait til it turns red ? and how big do they get?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 1:42PM
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This is my first time growing cayenne peppers. Is it okay to pick and freeze them for later use?

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 6:37PM
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So what I've taken away from this is try them green and try them red. Then decide for yourself. lol!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 4:48PM
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esox07 (4b)

Personally, on a Cayenne, I would let them go red. More for aesthetics than for taste. But that is what I would do, unless I was trying to rush the harvest for some reason.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 4:52PM
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Cerrano = Serrano

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 8:27AM
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I just picked a few dozen that are red but wayyyy too darn hot for me! Lol so I pulled off the few dozen green and they are milder and better for me. I am going to freeze some and pickle some in the fridge.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 5:54PM
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