Now that you have planted your banana peppers, you want to make sure that you pick them at the right time. After spending the summer looking after them and making sure they grow properly, it’s time to taste them.
But the question that we want to know is when is the best time to harvest these delicious vegetables? The problem is that banana peppers are not as straight forward as other veggies because their skin color doesn’t tell you much about their maturity.
When should you harvest banana peppers? As with a lot of pepper varieties, it will take an average of around 70-75 days after banana peppers have been planted for them to become fully mature for consumption. You will also need to take into consideration the climate and the soil that banana peppers are growing in.
However, there are different types of banana peppers, here is everything you need to know about the best times to pick banana peppers.
When to Pick Sweet Banana Peppers
You will know when sweet banana peppers have matured because they will be approximately 4-6 inches long. But it is also important to mention that the type of soil and the conditions in which sweet banana peppers are grown will also determine the length.
When they become yellow, and the sweet banana peppers have reached their standard length of 4-6 inches, they are ready to harvest. It is not essential that you pick them right away, you can leave them to grow further for a few extra days if you wish. The good news is that you can still eat overripe banana peppers. The skin will turn red, and they are even sweeter to taste.
It is also advised that you pick them in the morning, shortly after the morning mist has dried out. Use a pair of garden scissors or shears to cut them and leave some of the stem on the vegetable, about one-quarter of an inch should suffice.
When to Pick Hot Banana Peppers
Hot banana peppers are bigger than sweet banana peppers. They grow to approximately 6 inches, sometimes longer. You will know when they are ripe because the skin will turn yellow, but it is not essential that you pick them at this time. For mild peppers, harvest them when once they have reached an average length and they are yellow in color. However, if you enjoy hot peppers, wait for the vegetables to turn red.
You can either pick them using a garden scissors or shears, or you can just pull them off with your hands. Always try to make sure that you don’t mishandle the plant when you pick the peppers. You can do this by grasping the plant using one hand and pulling the pepper with the other.
Banana Peppers and How to Store Them
So now that you have picked your vegetables, you want to ensure that they are kept fresh so that you can eat them when you want. Therefore, you will need to know how to store your banana peppers.
The first step is to ensure that the vegetables are not showing any signs of rotting or bruising. If so, throw those away and work with the fresh ones. If you plan on eating your peppers straight away, you can store them for up to two weeks in the fridge. Just make sure you’ve got a separate vegetable drawer to house them. However, if you wish to keep your banana peppers for longer, there are a number of ways you can store them:
- Freeze Banana Peppers: Slice the peppers in half, put them into bags that are appropriate for freezing and freeze them. They can remain frozen for approximately six months.
- Dry Banana Peppers: Follow this simple process to dry your vegetables:
- Wash the banana peppers
- Lay the peppers on a chopping board and slice the stems off
- Cut the peppers in half lengthwise and take the seeds out
- Arrange the peppers on a dehydrator tray in a single layer. Make sure they are not stacked on top of each other
- Put the rack into the dehydrator, put the lid on and turn it on
- Leave them to dry for between 6 to 12 hours.
- The banana peppers are dry when you touch them and they feel dry but not brittle, they should also be pliable when bent
- Pickle Banana Peppers: Pickling your banana peppers works best with the hot variety. Follow these steps to pickle your banana peppers:
- You will need the following ingredients: Celery seeds, mustard seeds, white sugar, apple cider vinegar, white vinegar.
- In a large saucepan combine the celery seeds, mustard seeds, sugar, and vinegar and over a high temperature and bring the ingredients to a rolling boil
- Put the peppers into a glass jar and pour the brine over the top leaving half an inch of space.
- Put the lid on the jar and store the pickled banana peppers in the fridge for one week. You can leave them for longer if you are looking for a very intense pickle
Banana peppers are not only delicious, but they are exceptionally healthy, here are some fun health facts about this beloved vegetable:
- Banana peppers are low in calories; 1 banana pepper contains approximately 9 calories.
- They are high in vitamins; banana peppers are high in many of the important vitamins we need for optimal health. These include vitamin A, C, and vitamin B6.
- Banana peppers are high in fiber; one banana pepper contains 1.1 grams of dietary fiber.
- They are high in minerals; banana peppers contain many of the essential minerals we need for optimal health. These include, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
- Banana peppers prevent certain ailments; the nutrients present in banana peppers help protect the body against conditions such as arthritis, cancer, gout, inflammation, and age-related macular degeneration.
So now that you know when to pick your banana peppers, ensure that you make the best use out of them by storing the peppers in the right way. Most importantly, make sure you add them to your diet.