Hot Banana Peppers - when to pick?

paulster2626(4-5)July 9, 2007

I'm growing some hot yellow banana peppers and a few of them are pretty large now. One in particular is looking pretty yellow and is about 5" long. Since it is now about 5mm from the ground I was wondering if it would be okay to pick it before it gets too close to the soil - I want to make sure that my first hot pepper ever is actually... hot.

Does anyone have a photo of a nice, ripe, yellow hot banana pepper that I can compare it to? Sadly I'm at work a LOT over the next couple of days so I can't take a photo for you guys...


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I believe they turn red when ripe. save the seeds for next year from a red ripe one.

The longer you leave it on the plant the better it will taste and the hotter it will get. Pick immediately before eating.

for the ultimate in freshness eat while still attached to the plant.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 8:38PM
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ardnek710(z6 stlouis)

is this the one you have?

Here is a link that might be useful: banana hot

    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 9:06PM
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Those are the ones - so they turn red huh? Hmm I will try to wait it out then!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 12:31AM
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I just picked some yesterday, most were yellow and very HOT. I'm in Southern Indiana and it seems the longer I leave them on, the tougher they become. I'd say, pick one and see if you like it. Just my 2 cents worth.
Mary Ann

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 9:06AM
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I have one Hot banana pepper plant and i really dont know when they need to be ready. About a week ago i picked one not knowing if it was ripe and it was unbarably hot and it wasnt as usual as the ones you would eat in a resturant. Today i was reading up on it and it said they get a waxy coat and are yellow. Also 5-6" long and 1-2" in width

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 4:06PM
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I have two varieties of banana pepper plants... hot hungarian wax banana and sweet banana. I have no clue when to tell if the sweet banana are ripe. I have picked a few at different stages of yellow and they have absolutely no taste to them. They almost tasted like a green bell pepper. Are they supposed to turn red like the hungarian variety and maybe you just have to catch them RIGHT before they start blushing? I know that they aren't supposed to be 'hot' since they are the sweet variety, but they should have some type taste to them and shouldn't taste like a bell pepper... should they? Which variety are the ones used at restaurants or sold in jars at stores?

Thanks from a first time gardener!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 1:48PM
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I love Hot Banana/Hungarian Wax. They're good when they are bright yellow and just start to soften up, but they are absolutely delicious when they turn bright orange to red. They are well worth the wait until red. They are hot when they are yellow, but it seems to me that most of the heat stays up near the stem where there are more seeds and rib. When they turn red, the heat seems to spread throughout more of the pepper. The taste is much sweeter then too.

On another note, I have had my share or the "sweet banana" pepper as well. I've yet to find one that I liked. They have NO flavor. Less flavor than a bell pepper in my opinion. They taste like eating nothing to me.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 10:14AM
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I am growing hot and sweet banana peppers for the first time. I picked a couple of the sweet ones to soon and they were very bitter like a green bell pepper. The first 2 hot ones I picked also tasted more like green bell peppers. But I finally picked one that was hot, I waited until it was starting to turn from yellow to reddish. It had a good amount of heat that didn't linger for to long and was less bitter.:)

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 1:52PM
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I have no personal experience growing hot bananas but we have successfully grown quite a few sweet bananas this season. I like the taste of the sweet bananas, especially when they turn red. I put them in omelets and in sandwiches. They are very good pickled. I agree with Andy, they are worth the wait until red. For the benefit of those asking here are a couple of pictures:

Here is a link that might be useful: The pool garden

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 2:46PM
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Here are a couple of images of my Hungarian Wax, which I think is the same thing. I had one pepper that had sunken in and there were no seeds in it. All the other peppers seems to be doing fine. Even though I have some nice yellow ones, I want to wait till they go red.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 2:35PM
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Ok folks, lets give Sweet Banana a break here. Its a sweet pepper. If your taste buds are scorched off from eating too many Scovilles maybe you can't taste a Sweet Banana, but they do have flavor and its just fine, although maybe not to everyone's taste. They of course are sweeter when red or orange.

I usually wait until they are fully yellow and not yellow-green before I pick the first ones. Not a lot of them turn red in our cool climate.

Also, the photos of the Hungarian Wax posted by Jbailey227 are curious. Every Hung. Hot Wax I've ever grown had upwards-pointing (or mostly so) peppers. Has anyone seen a Hung. Hot Wax with fruit which all point downwards?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 3:30PM
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Well, they started out pointing straight up. The smaller ones are pointed up. I just figured they started to hang down from the peppers weight. Then again, this is my first garden.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 3:38PM
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shermthewerm(8 PNW)

I was just wondering the same thing. Although it's a great looking plant, it doesn't look like the Hungarian wax pepper that I have because my peppers are also growing upwards. Also, I'm glad to hear that sweet bananas are not bland (I have some growing for the 1st time this year), and for the advice not to bother waiting for them to turn any color but yellow in the PNW. I'm in Portland, OR.

I have 4 banana peppers that are 5-6" & 3-4 Anaheims which are as long & I'm planning on stuffing them as soon as they're's so hard to make the call as to when that is!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 3:42PM
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Hi shermthewerm, (great name!)

If you have peppers on the Banana Pepper plant already you will almost certainly get them to turn red. They are really pretty and a bit sweeter so worth the wait. I usually get at least a few red ones, although last year was a real dud of a summer.

The Anaheims can probably be picked any time they seem full-grown. When the peppers stop getting bigger you can pick them although leaving them on longer will most likely cause the flavor to get richer and hotter. One thing I've noticed with my hot peppers is the variability in heat even from one plant. Many of the early ones are very, very mild (esp. the Jalapenos) but occasionally one scorches. A little maturity and stress, such as witholding some (not all) water helps.

Part of the excitement I guess ;-)

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 7:00PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

The Hungarian and the Hot Banana are closely related.
My Hungarian peppers also start out growing upright, then they hang once they've gotten heavy;
whereas, the Hot Banana starts out growing downward. The Banana pepper also has a different
texture to the skin, and the pods will curl up more readily than the Hungarian (although I do get a
few malformed pods per season).


    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 11:06AM
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This year I've been producing about 10 different varieties of hot pepper, and snuck in a sweet banana for variety. So far, I've noticed when they are in the yellow stage, they are virtually devoid of flavor. Harvested one when it was a nice, solid orange, and the taste difference was incredible. Allowing a few to turn red, and they look awesome so far. The sweet banana in the orange stage seems to truely capture the fruity flavour. So far I've used them in stir fry, sandwiches, and straight off the vine. Definitely appears to be the best producer thusfar.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 9:04PM
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Good thread. I've been picking mine a tad bit prematurely. I'll probably wait for the red from now on. I only have one plant of them, so I probably won't get enough to can. Here's a pic from this morning of one off the plant (prob a bit over 4 inches long...maybe closer to 5). It has only 3 growing on it right now.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 1:07PM
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my banana peppers, both sweet n hot, are bruising before turning ripe. The bruising isn't caused by rough handling or contact, it seems to be caused by something else. Anyone ever had this happen? the plants too stressed or something? Some are bruising before they ever reach 3-4 inches and should be about 6, and also they're all still bright green no yellowing or color change

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 8:57PM
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johnweh(10 Boca Raton FL)

Sun scald. Try to shade your plants if possible.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 9:31AM
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Hi all :D I just started gardening this year and I bought a "Hot Banana Pepper" (yes, that's all it reads) plant and it seems like I have had small, upright, greenish in color peppers sitting there forever. I get a few red babies here and there but my question is all hot banana's get approx. 5 inches long and will they eventually go from upright to hanging? It seems they are not changing and taking FOREVER to do anything other than sit and smile at me! lol

Thanks a bunch for any info....I truly appreciate it!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 11:17PM
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they start out pointing upward like this. Then they sag downward once they get some weight to them.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 7:39PM
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