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Two Risks & One Alternative To Letting Peppers Plant-Ripen

All peppers start green, but eventually change color as they ripen. The changing of color happens progressively with warm, sunny weather. When given enough time and these ideal conditions most peppers will shift from green to yellow, orange, purple, or red.

A ripened pepper usually has a sweeter, less acidic, full flavor compared to its unripened, green counterpart. Hot peppers can technically get spicier (when looking at Scoville ratings), but this added spiciness can be masked a bit by the increased sweetness. This is why if you go down an internet rabbit hole, you will often see this “ripe peppers are spicier” info being debated.

Getting your peppers to this fully ripened state isn’t necessary to do while they’re still on the plant though. It’s actually risky to do this and fortunately, there’s an alternative to still get that full, ripened flavor.

Risk One
Time. If your peppers ripen for too long, they will lose their crispiness and eventually become mealy and gross tasting. This over-ripening also sends a signal to the plant to produce fewer peppers. Not ideal from any point of view.

Risk Two
Losing your crop to animals and pests. The longer the fruit is on the plant, the higher the chance that it will be eaten (not by you). Animals can see & smell ripened fruit/vegetables and enjoy them just like we do. So, waiting a few extra days or weeks for a pepper to fully ripen, may end with it being a snack for someone else.

The Alternative
Harvest when peppers are partially ripened instead. When you start to see the color of the pepper change, harvest it! This will reduce/remove the risks mentioned above. And, if you let those partially ripe, harvested peppers wait a week or two in your kitchen, they will continue to ripen on their own, eventually giving you that full, robust flavor!


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