How to Pick Peppers


Peppers come in a wide variety of colors and flavors. The sweet green bell peppers in the grocery store are young versions of yellow and red peppers that have not ripened. Hot peppers and sweet peppers have vibrant color and strong aromas. Picking peppers from the vine is the same regardless of the variety. Peppers should feel firm in the center without any sponginess. A spongy pepper is too ripe.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean, sharp knife
  • Pruning shears
  • Container with lid
  • Wait for the coolest part of the day to pick peppers. This allows the stem time to heal without burning or wilting. Pick peppers in the early morning, evening or on cloudy days whenever possible.

  • Cut peppers from the vine with a clean, sharp knife. This helps prevent damaging the vine of the pepper plant. Cut the stem 1 inch above the pepper with the knife. Alternatively, use clean pruning shears to cut the cut from the plant.

  • Choose peppers that are the size and color you want. Green bell peppers are immature yellow and red peppers. Pick dark green peppers before they have had an opportunity to ripen on the vine if you want green peppers.

  • Allow peppers to ripen to the desired color on the vine before picking. Pick red peppers before they become soft in the middle for best flavor. Soft outside centers indicate peppers that are overripe. Alternatively, pick peppers just as they begin to turn from green to yellow, or yellow to red and allow them to ripen in a windowsill.

  • Store peppers in cool temperatures but not below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Store in containers with tight-fitting lids.

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