Growing Jalapenos this season? Want to know when is the perfect time to pick those spicy vegetables, so you get to enjoy its flavor with all the freshness intact?
I agree that the growing period for this particular vegetable is quite long, and the wait can be frustrating. While it can take more than 8 weeks to see minimal growth in the plants, you will have to wait for about 3 to 4 months for it to produce peppers that are ripe enough to pick.
However, all your patience is paid off when you taste these flavorful veggies in your dishes. A little bit of practice and experience is all you need to tell if it just about time for the jalapeno harvest in your kitchen garden. We give you some helpful tips on when to pick jalapenos at the right time in this article.
Before we get to know about the right time to pick these vegetables, let us dig up a bit of trivia about the origin and taste and how to grow Jalapenos.
- Mexican Fat Chili Pepper
- When To Pick Jalapenos?
- When Should You Pick Them If You Were to Use the Jalapenos for Drying?
- Did You Already Pick Jalapenos Before It Could Give You the Cues? No Worries. You Can Still Use Them
- Harvest on Time for More Yield
- How to Pick the Mature Fruits?
Mexican Fat Chili Pepper
The word Jalapeno is seemed to have originated from the Spanish word “Xalapa,” which is pronounced as Jalapa. It refers to the name of the Capital City of a Mexican State.
It is believed that this chili pepper was cultivated here traditionally. This pungent spice is used throughout the world except that they are of different varieties that differ in size, heat, and flavor.
Jalapeno peppers taste like serrano pepper, only that it is less spicy (Less heat when compared to other varieties). It has mild to moderate heat. Also, as the vegetables ripen and turn red from dark green, they tend to get hotter.
When To Pick Jalapenos?
It is difficult to tell when it the right time to pick these relatively slow-growing vegetables unless you have grown it a few times. Otherwise, you will have to listen to the tips given by pros who have aced at the task of picking it at the right time.
We will give you a briefing into the different stages of ripening to help you pick it at the right time. Everything from color, size, and ease of picking can give you cues about when the Jalapenos are ready to pick.
When the plant starts producing the vegetable, the peppers are usually light green. As the pepper matures, it turns into a dark green color. The color will further deepen as the Jalapeno ages.
It slowly gets to a brownish-green color before finally turning into a fiery red. The spice levels also vary with the aging of the vegetable with red turning out to be the hottest.
You can pick the fruit just before it is going to turn red to give you a good flavor and taste.
Another clue to look for is the size of the pepper to see if it is mature or not. The Pea-sized bud will grow into ripe peppers of the size 3 to 5 inches.
You will see a difference in the size based on the variety of the vegetable you have chosen to cultivate. Refer to the seed packets, which will show you the maximum size of the produce.
It also largely depends on the growing conditions; if you have given your plant enough exposure to sun and adequate water, then you will see that the peppers tend to grow longer and faster. So be sure to place your plant in the right place, so it gets plenty of sunlight and irrigation.
If you see small white lines on the peppers that are going to mature, do not mistake it for some disease or infestation, there is a clear sign that your pepper is ready to be picked.
Put your concerns away as these fruits are safe to consume, the lines are only a piece of evidence to say that your jalapenos are good to go on from plant to plate.
4. Tiny cracks on the shoulder
Shoulders of the pepper will also tell you it is time to pick the fruit. It is the place where the fruit curves towards the stem. Look out for tiny cracks on the skin of the shoulders that tell that the fruit is ready to be picked.
5. Sheen and shine
Apart from the color and size, the texture and look of the fruit can also tell you of the fruit wanting to make its way to your plate. Mature jalapenos will have a natural glossy look, and they also tend to be firm. These also look quite appealing and tempting.
These cues we have explained in detail will help you avoid the confusion as to when is the right time to pick them to give you a flavorful dish. You could also watch this video for a more detailed guide on when to pick the jalapenos.
When Should You Pick Them If You Were to Use the Jalapenos for Drying?
If you were to use the jalapenos for drying or to smoke them for making chipotle peppers, it would be best to let them stay on the plant until it turns red. Dry jalapenos can give you the best flavor when they are dried after they turn red. Besides, the green ones are difficult to try and powder.
You can allow the fruit to be on the vine well past the time they have turned dark green. Slowly the dark green will get become blackish-green, then it will turn to hues of orange and finally red.
Now you should consider picking them as soon as possible. Otherwise, they may fall off from the plant and rot.
Did You Already Pick Jalapenos Before It Could Give You the Cues? No Worries. You Can Still Use Them
Similar to other fruits and veggies, Jalapenos can also ripen after the harvest. You will have to keep them in sunlight for some time every day.
North/south-facing window sill will do the trick to ripen harvested Jalapenos. The flavor might not be the same as the freshly harvested matures jalapenos. Also, remember not to expose the harvested fruit to excessive sunlight as it might initiate the drying process.
Harvest on Time for More Yield
Harvest the mature jalapenos, and you will see more fruiting on the plant. Gardening experts say that leaving the mature fruits on the plant may slow down its growth process.
The buds that have formed will take a longer time to mature into fruits if the matures ones are not picked. So, if you need a better yield to remember to harvest the ripen ones as soon as possible.
How to Pick the Mature Fruits?
Now that you know when to pick the fruit let’s also learn how to pick them safely by not causing damage to the plant.
- Look out for the signs of ripening we discussed above and zero in on the mature peppers that can be picked.
- Gently hold the plant just below where you find the ripened pepper. You hold it right below the place where the fruit is to avoid pulling the whole plant it the harvesting process.
- Pull out the fruit upwards – Jalapenos hang downwards from the branch with its bottoms pointing to the ground. So, you can push the fruit in an upward direction to separate it from the plant’s stem.
- You will get a neat break – If the Jalapenos were ripe enough, you would get a clean break as the mature ones easily separate from the stem without much effort.
Have a lot of information on when and how to harvest this spicy fruit, so when are you going to start your Jalapeno harvest? We hope this article will help you pick it in the best way.
- Be very sure of the color, the size, and the texture of the mature Jalapenos before you consider harvesting them.
- Also, look for signs such as curvy lines on the fruit that tell you it’s time to pick me.
- Be sure you pick them soon after it matures to make way for more Jalapenos on the plant.
- If you already picked them without looking for these signs, give them good exposure to sunlight to help the ripening process off the plant.
Do let us know how your gardening story of growing and harvesting Jalapenos by writing to us. We are more than happy to receive any new ideas or tips that worked better for you. Share your experiences, feedback by putting them in the comments section below.
Wish you all luck in growing this spicy and tasty fruit.