Can you pick green habaneros / are they as hot?

OhioHerb(z5OH)September 2, 2005

Hi. This is my first year growing habaneros. Can you pick them while they are still green? I'm wondering if they can ripen like tomatoes after they're picked.

Are green habaneros just as hot as ripe ones?

And if you can pick them while green, are the ones that ripen off the plant just as hot as if you waited to pick them ripe?

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byron(4a/5b NH)

>>Can you pick them while they are still green?

Yes but they won't be as good as if they were vine ripened

>>Are green habaneros just as hot as ripe ones?

>>And if you can pick them while green, are the ones that ripen off the plant just as hot as if you waited to pick them ripe?


    Bookmark   September 2, 2005 at 1:13PM
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opqdan(z5 NE OH)

Byron is correct.

Where do you live in OH?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2005 at 1:39PM
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This is my first year with habaneros too. I was wondering the same questions myself. My plants (I have six) have only yielded six peppers so far but they are loaded with blossoms. What's up with that? My cayennes have swamped me and I have had to resort to giving them away. btw I live in NCO, Ashland to be specific.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2005 at 1:17AM
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Thanks for the info Byron and opqdan.

I'm from Ohio. I have about 30 peppers that look the size to be picked (haven't turned orange yet). I have had a few orange ones. I was just wondering about whether or not to pick the green ones because the weather is starting to get colder at night. I wasn't sure if they'd die off before ripening. I think I'll wait to see what happens because I'd rather have hotter ones! :)

    Bookmark   September 5, 2005 at 6:06PM
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jenterra(z5 CO)

This is my first year also. We picked some green ones only because the wind knocked a plant out of the ground. My husband and brothers each ate a slice, (this was a large habenero, although still green) and they were in pain. Can't wait until they are orange.

Ours was loaded with flowers forever it seemed. Now we have probably 50 peppers on 3 plants and the smaller plants are flowering and peppering pretty well. I am hoping they hurry before frost! We are swimming in cayenne and jalapenos also. I can't wait for next growing season so I can fix my errors and try even more types of peppers! I am lovin having a garden.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2005 at 11:26PM
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EvesApple(z5 KS)

Habs seem to take a long time to mature. I just pulled one lonely hab off my plant last week. It seems like I waited all summer for it to turn orange, even though there are tons of blossoms (and only blossoms) now. I rememeber the same thing last year. I wouldn't worry too much. Any greens you have on there will probably turn orange before frost. The worst that could happen is a frost ruining your soon-to-be bumper crop. Peppers are not cold weather plants but I swear mine was going until the end of October, and by that time I had more habs than I knew what to do with! I'm taking this as a hint to plant earlier next year. I stuck mine out pretty late...late May or early June. Finals always get in the way of the perfect planting time.

(The jalapeno that went out at the same time is acting the same way. One ripe pepper, loads of blossoms. I just hope I still have tomatoes by then. :D )

    Bookmark   September 9, 2005 at 11:23PM
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dilbert(z5 IL)

I have an abundance of ripe orange habaneros. My question is how late can I pick them and how can I tell when they are almost ready to go bad?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2005 at 12:24AM
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SmokyDogJoe(northwest ohio)

i too live in Ohio (and i haven't posted for a long time) and it seems like my "Habby"s" also do not want to turn... until i pick them. i pick one harvest and leave them out in the garage in a wal-mart box that their water comes in...VOILA'!!! not only do i get orange "habby's" but about half of them also turn a deep red! after the first batch of reds i canned me about 6 little jars of the potent red sauce. now, everytime i pick my habby's i let them sit out in the garage for less than two weeks and they turn, and then i dry them and grind them to powder.
i have tasted the green habby's and i have tasted the difference...NOW WHEN THEY TURN RED...WOW!!!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2005 at 12:34AM
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I have had great luck with my "scotch bonnet" peppers. Extremely hot. They won't stop growing and they are really hard to give away. My neighbors call it the "Hab Tree". People love to look at them because they are truly beautiful, but can't give them away. Does anyone know if I can preserve a whole pepper in oil or something and then use for cooking later on.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2005 at 10:13AM
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UncleJohn(z4 NH)

Oil will NOT preserve them, in fact it makes it easier for botulism. Your main options are:
pickling or storing in vinegar
I tend to dry most of my leftover peppers as long as they are not too fleshy. Habs dry well.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2005 at 2:37PM
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Picking green seems to be a sin for most American people but you can quadruple your harvest be doing so with almost any pepper plant, including ornamentals. The plants will produce fewer new blossoms when they contain fruit. By picking green Habs along with the orange you stimulate the plant to produce more fruit and also help with size of the fruit that remain on the plant. When you have something that has heat in the 300,000+ Scovile units who is going to argue over 50,000 +/-. When I pick Habs for market I look for orange but grab a handful that includes 5-6 green peppers on the same branch. I mix the Carribean Reds in the same boxes and the mixed colors seem to appeal to everyone. I don't quite understand why but my customers from India only want green hot peppers while most Americans prefer them ripe.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 3:58PM
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This may be too late to be of help, but here's my two cents worth. Yes, you can pick the habeneros while they are green. No, they won't be as hot, but you will be able to taste the flavor of the pepper better compared to just being able to feel the burn. I tried this for the first time this year, and will be picking more of them in various color stages because I like hot, but also like peppers with taste. It convinced me that it is okay to pick them early, and for the first time, I have tasted the flavor, not just the burn!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2005 at 1:10AM
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If you like the habanero taste without heat, grow the mild C. chinense peppers. I grew Trinidad Seasoning, Trinidad Perfume, St. Lucia Yellow Seasoning and Aji Dulce this year and I just love their taste and mild heat. I will definitely keep them on my growing list, since I can eat them on a sandwich, compared to Red Savina, which I can use only as seasoning.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2005 at 7:20PM
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I grow the orange variety of habaneros, and I cannot tell the difference between heat levels when they are fully mature and green or when they change over to orange. Like bmoser said, who's going to argue a few SHU's here and there.

There is however a huge taste difference between green mature and ripe. The sugar content in ripe is higher and the other flavor overtones come to bear, whereas it seems a green is refreshing and crisp tasting.

I like them both ways, for a quick and easy salsa i use an onion, lime juice and a green habby. Put in the blender and let it go till its chunky and enjoy. The green seems to capture more of the crisp fresh taste for salsas, whereas the fully ripened pod seems to go better with meats, or powdered and on everything.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 12:39PM
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shelbyguy(z5 IL)

el yucateca makes a rockin' hot sauce from green habaneros. and its hot like any other el yucateca habanero sauce. but its green.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2005 at 8:40AM
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reeldoc(7 NC)

FWIW, at the end of the season and before the first frost I pick all of the habs left on the plants no matter what color. Now I don't eat hot peppers, I just like to grow them and give them away.

I have several people who really enjoy the green ones. As mentioned above they say they aren't as hot and have a better taste. I have one person that likes to make a green hab paste to put on crackers and stuff.

I wish I could eat hot stuff but it isn't in the stars, or my gut.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2005 at 7:41PM
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Another way that sauce gets green is with tomatillos.

I have had red ripe chiles in a green sauce w/tomatillo and I have had green chiles in green sauce w/tomatillo.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2005 at 12:27AM
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