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People always* ask me the following question:

Should I pick my peppers when they are green or wait till they turn red?

Actually, it’s entirely up to you and your preference. Peppers at different stages of maturity will have varying tastes and heat levels. Pick some when they are green while leaving a few on the plant to mature to red (or yellow, orange, purple, whatever color you’re going for).

There are advantages to both methods so here’s some info to help you decide whether to pluck or play the waiting game:

Advantages to picking chiles while they are green

  • Enjoy your peppers sooner, screw patience and the horse she rode in on.
  • You’ll get more pods if you pick while green, they will keep producing all season (I’ve picked over 200 Sport Chiles from one plant this summer, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down).
  • Some peppers just taste better when they are green.

Advantages to letting chiles mature

  • Colors! what looks better than a big bushy chile plant covered with bright red pods!
  • Taste – most peppers fulfill their full flavor destiny when they are red (sweeter too).
  • Seeds – Always harvest seeds from the biggest, ripest and most mature peppers.
  • You don’t often see red Jalapenos or Serranos at the grocery stores because of their shorter shelf life.  Grow your own and finally taste what these famous chiles really have to offer.

Growing your own peppers gives you a chance to try varieties you would never otherwise come in contact with and lets you experiment with maturity so you can see for yourself which color you prefer.  That red Biker Billy Jalapeno (pictured below) is blazing hot and really flavorful, especially when picked fresh.

3 Serranos and 1 red Biker Billy Jalapeno

*Nobody has ever asked me this question