When Is A Banana Pepper Ripe?



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When Is A Banana Pepper Ripe?

When it comes to trying your hand at gardening, one of the most frustrating aspects can be figuring out when a plant that you’re growing is still maturing, or when it has fully grown.

This goes doubly for many edible plants like fruit and vegetables, which often have very narrow windows when it comes to when they are ready and ripened enough to be harvested.

When is a banana pepper ripe and ready to be picked? In this handy guide, we will discuss various ways to determine ripeness, but as a rule of thumb, these peppers are considered ripe when they are around 2 to 3 inches long.

And if you thought this was bad enough for everyday fruits like apples, oranges, bananas, and peppers, just wait until you get into the more obscure plants too!

Take the banana pepper, as an example.

Given that this particular pepper is pretty rare when compared to others like bell peppers and jalapeños, many gardeners don’t know when this peculiar plant should be picked, which can lead to them being picked when they’re either over or under-ripe.

Well, with this guide, you can say goodbye to that particular problem!

Here, we show you not just when the best time to pick a banana pepper is (hint: when it is big enough), but plenty of other facts and details that anyone growing this plant will find helpful to know!

What Is A Banana Pepper?

Before we go any further, we should probably give a broad outline as to what exactly this type of pepper is in the first place! It’s not the most common type, after all, so it’s very easy for many gardeners to not know about it.

Banana peppers are medium-sized members of the chili pepper family, growing from anywhere between 2 and 3 inches long, although some examples have been as big as 5 inches.

They’re best known for their curved shape which they develop as they grow and mature, similar to the banana plant that it is named after.

Like many other pepper plants, banana peppers can come in a variety of colors, from greens to pale or strong yellows, to orange and red, and will change as they grow on the plant.

You’ll typically find the banana pepper grown across South America, although thanks to modern transplanting methods, it is possible to grow this plant in many different places across the world.

When Should You Pick It?

So, we’ve covered the basics, now we can answer the main question that many gardeners will likely want to answer: When exactly is this pepper ripe for picking?

Well, the simple answer is that these peppers are considered ripe once they grow to their usual size, around 2 to 3 inches long.

With many other fruits and vegetables, the best indication is usually the color of the plant.

However, peppers are a very difficult plant to judge by this metric, as they are known to come in a variety of colors, which is what often leads to confusion when they are picked too ripe or not ripe enough.

So, the best policy with banana peppers, as with many other peppers, is to wait for them to reach the right size, then check to see whether they are ready to be picked.

And don’t think that you can check for the right amount of curve, either! While these peppers do curve more than many others out there, not every banana pepper is going to cure the same amount as others!

Growing Banana Peppers

Growing Banana Peppers

Best Conditions

As we’ve already mentioned, banana peppers tend to be grown in and around South America, which gives us a good metric to measure what sort of climate they need to grow from seeds.

Generally speaking, banana peppers need to have year-round sunlight to grow, as well as decent soil quality.

Given that these plants tend to grow around the tropics, they’re also used to growing in year-round high temperatures, meaning that it can be difficult to grow them in places where the winter months can get quite cold.

However, if cut and transplanted from an older plant, you can usually grow a banana pepper in any warm enclosed space, no matter the location.

Just make sure that the banana pepper plant is kept indoors during the colder season, and is only brought back outside when the last frost has melted in late winter/early spring.

Please see our article on the best pepper fertilizers, where we did an in-depth analysis and guide on the best fertilizers to use for your peppers.

Our Top 3 Pepper Fertilizers

Top Pick

Greenway Biotech Pepper Fertilizer

Greenway Biotech

Quality Ingredients Hydroponics and Soil Use Improves Soil Quality 100% Natural

Tracy’s Choice

Big A Pepper Fertilizer

Big A Peppers

Organic Proprietary Blend Suitable For All Peppers High-solubility Formula ECO Friendly.

Best Value

Miracle Gro Shake n Feed Fertilizer

Miracle-Gro S&F

Natural Ingredients Specially Formulated For Use In the Ground and Containers.

Life Cycle

The seeds for the banana plant usually germinate in soil temperatures of around 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, with the sprouts usually being visible a week or so after germination has happened.

Overall, it will usually take 60 to 75 days for a banana pepper to fully mature, which translates to around 2 months or 2 and a half months.

They’re a self-pollinating plant, so they don’t need other banana peppers to create their peppers, though they do sometimes need help from insects and birds to pollinate other flowers on the plant.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are Banana Peppers Hot?

A: Banana peppers are part of the wider chili pepper family of plants, so many people will often wonder just how hot this particular pepper is when eaten. However, banana peppers are among some of the mildest peppers that you’ll find out there, with most only measuring around 500 on the Scoville scale.

To put that into context, the jalapeño pepper can measure anywhere from 2,500 to 8,000, and the habanero peppers, probably among the most popular ‘hot’ chili peppers, rate between 100,000 to 350,000.

Q: Are There Hot Banana Peppers?

A: Yes they can be. The hotter variety of banana peppers tends to grow to between 6 and 8 inches and should be picked when they reach this size.

Of course, ‘hot’ is still contextual, as these peppers only tend to reach Scoville ratings of around 5,000 at most, which is still comparatively mild.

Q: Can Banana Peppers Be Eaten Raw?

A: Like many other chili peppers, banana peppers are plants that can be eaten in pretty much any state. They can be cooked into recipes, or they can be eaten raw, whether they are on their own, or stuffed.

Q: When are hot banana peppers ripe

A: Hot banana peppers are typically ripe around 65-70 days after planting. These peppers turn yellow when fully ripe and are known for their spicy and tangy flavor.

Harvest them by cutting the stems to encourage new growth and continuous production throughout the growing season.

Q: When to pick banana peppers

A: Banana peppers should be picked when they reach a mature size, typically around 6-8 inches in length and bright yellow color. Harvesting them while they are still green will result in a milder flavor.

Pick banana peppers during late summer or early fall for optimal taste and texture.

Final Thoughts

So, as you can see, banana peppers should be picked when they reach the right size, rather than what color they are.

We hope you found this guide helpful!

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