It’s finally pepper harvesting time around here, at least phase one of several! We’re going to chat about the biggest tips we can offer around pepper harvesting!
It’s a good idea to get your ripened peppers off of the plant, generally as soon as you reasonably can. Once the color of the pepper has changed from green to whatever color it will (red, orange, yellow, etc) there is no further ripening that can occur. It is in its “peak” condition, perfect for use in your dishes or for further preservation. Peppers that are usually green, such as serrano or jalapeno, can be harvested at green maturity, but they will mature into further colors if left on the plant. Whether you pursue that further ripening is entirely up to the grower.
Harvesting your peppers in a timely fashion will encourage the plant to put resources into developing more flowers and furthering the ripening of not-yet-ready fruit. It’s essential in our short season to encourage our peppers to focus on what we want, ripe peppers!
You’re might be noticing a theme in many of our subarctic gardening tactics. Whether it’s harvesting, topping or trimming – we often are performing these things to “speed up” the process and help the plant focus on what we want to produce. It’s an extremely helpful strategy across many kinds of plants.
While we love using our peppers fresh, and try to do that as much as is possible, the bulk of our crop is destined for the freezer. Peppers are a bit unique in that they don’t require a blanching prior to freezing and will hold up quite well going from harvest to the freezer. You can, if desired, blanch them for 2-3 minutes prior to freezing and it will get you a little bit more “shelf time” in the freezer.