Whether you like them hot or sweet, cubanelle peppers are a great addition to any kitchen repertoire. You can freeze them, cook them, eat them fresh, and even preserve them for use in the distant future.
What’s more? If you love cubanelle peppers as much as I do, I guarantee you’ll have an even better time planting them in your garden. They’re not only full of nutrients, but they’re one of the easiest pepper varieties to grow. That said, as a beginner, the first harvest will probably leave you wondering how to tell when cubanelle peppers are ripe.
Keep on reading for an in-depth guide on ways you can tell when your cubanelle peppers are ripe.
How To Tell When Cubanelle Peppers Are Ripe
Pepper varieties tend to ripen at different stages and rates. Sweet peppers are usually the fastest to mature, whereas spicy and hot ones will take longer to ripen. If you still have the seed packet you took your cubanelle out of, check the back to get a rough idea of cubanelle peppers’ maturation time.
Even then, note that the period it takes your peppers to mature will be affected by a wide array of factors, including, but not limited to, climatic conditions where you’ve planted your cubanelle peppers and growing conditions you subject your cubanelle peppers to.
Therefore, here are additional tips and tricks you can employ to ascertain that your cubanelle peppers are ripe.
Cubanelle Pepper Corking
If you’ve been a pepper plants parent before, you know corking is a natural marking that tends to appear on a wide array of peppers, including cubanelle peppers. Corking occurs when your peppers’ skins grow slower than the flesh, causing the skin to tear. White lines then begin to appear after the skin heals over the wounds.
With that in mind, corking is typically a desirable sighting for pepper geeks as it signifies that the peppers in question have seen healthy growth and are about to ripen completely. So, if your cubanelle peppers are showing corking marks, it may be time to prepare yourself for the imminent harvest season.
Again, depending on the pepper’s surrounding climate and growing conditions, some cubanelle peppers might not show corking marks as a sign that they’ve ripened. That’s why you’ll need to have these two following points in mind as well.
Time Since Planting
Under optimum conditions, cubanelle peppers will start producing ready and ripe pepper 75 days after you’ve transplanted them. This is a short time, comparing that some of the superhot pepper varieties like the habaneros and ghost peppers, will usually take more than 150 days after transplanting to ripen and produce ready fruits.
With that in mind, also note that if you started your cubanelle pepper seeds indoors, then chances are your plants will produce more peppers. The only downside in this situation will be that the peppers may also take a slightly more extended period to mature.
Why? Because the first months after cubanelle plants are grown are usually dedicated to leaf growth. Only after the plants have matured in size will they start setting fruit.
Even more, when you notice that some of your cubanelle peppers have started to look as if they’re ready, start by considering when you planted them. If you notice it’s still way too early to start harvesting, chances are it is. Never rush your peppers. Instead, give them the ample time they need to ripen in their own fashion.
Another advantage of ensuring you appropriately time your cubanelle peppers is to notice when the general growing season is drawing to a close. After all, the last thing you want is to leave your pepper fruits out overnight when a potential frost is approaching. Timing will allow you to always harvest any final and remaining cubanelle peppers before this happens.
Your Cubanelle Peppers Will Begin Changing Colors
Arguably the best way to tell when your cubanelle peppers are ripe and ready for harvesting is to observe how their colors change. Almost any pepper variety will change colour as it ripens, not just cubanelle peppers.
So, before your cubanelle peppers ripen, you’ll find them with a yellow-green or light green shade, and once they ripen, their colors will turn to an orange-red or bright red shade. The cubanelle pepper pods will also assume a banana shape at the bottom and grow to 2 inches wide and between 4 and 6 inches long.
To top off the list of signs your cubanelle peppers are ripe, you’ll notice their skins becoming glossy and the fruits themselves becoming firm and smooth.
Note, though, that most cubanelle peppers you find in the marketplace were picked before they ripened when they were still a yellow-green or light green shade.
What’s more? It may be tempting to start picking your cubanelle peppers in your garden before their colors transform, and that’s okay since cubanelle peppers are edible at all growth stages. The only downside is that the flavor at different stages will be different.
If you pick your cubanelle peppers too early, you’ll notice that they usually have more bitterness and less sweetness than if you’d let them mature. That’s why I personally prefer to let my cubanelle peppers ripen and reach full maturity before I begin my harvesting efforts.
If you’d like to have both unripe and ripe peppers, it’s okay to start by picking a few you can use in the meantime and let the rest ripen to your preferred levels. Also worth noting, your cubanelle peppers will usually get spicier and hotter the longer they remain on the plants.
Knowing how to tell when cubanelle peppers are ripe is key to enjoying your current as well as future harvests, and rest assured you’ll keep your cubanelle plants thriving and producing. With that in mind, if you’re not sure what heat or flavor level you like best, I suggest picking your cubanelle peppers at different stages and experimenting until you hit the sweetspot.