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Why Are My Jalapenos Turning Red? – It’s Quite Simple

If you like spicy food, chances are you love using lots of jalapenos to spice up your food. Better yet, perhaps you love them just as much as (or more than) I do, and that’s why you decided to go ahead and grow your own because you had room in your garden area.

Whatever the case, we can all agree that growing jalapeno plants is one of the most satisfying experiences ever as plant parents. But this doesn’t imply that our little plants won’t run into issues we do not comprehend from time to time.

I assume something similar is going on with your jalapenos, and that’s why you’ve been left wondering, “why are my jalapenos turning red?

Well, you’ve come to the right place. In today’s guide, I’ll expound on not only why jalapenos turn red but also the differences between red and green ones.

Without further ado, let’s jump into this.

Why Are My Jalapenos Turning Red
Jalapeños Finally Turning Red! – via Reddit

Why Are My Jalapenos Turning Red?

Honestly, the main reason that green jalapenos turn red is TIME. If you’ve seen peppers grow, you know that they all start as green fruits. What you may not have known, however, is that as they continue to ripen, their shade transforms to a red one. And yeah, you read that right. PEPPERS are technically fruits.

What’s more? The ripening process of jalapenos permits them to develop additional capsaicin, the same substance responsible for making them extra spicy.

That said, you may now be wondering, if red jalapenos are considered ripe once they turn red, then wouldn’t it make more sense to wait until they get the red shade before plucking and selling them? After all, That seems like the logical move.

Yet, most, if not all, jalapenos you find in the market were picked green. Why is that? Let us find out.

Why Are Jalapenos Picked Green?

Doesn’t it make sense to wait until jalapenos are red to pick them? Well, the short answer is, “That’s Not A Great Idea.”

The first reason farmers are advised to pick their jalapenos when they’re still green is that it allows customers to figure out the taste they prefer and purchase that taste. You know they taste entirely different if you’ve ever tasted both red and green jalapenos.

With that in mind, if farmers waited until their jalapenos turned red to pick them, that would imply there is no going back, and people will be stuck with the spicy and sweet taste. Remember, you cannot revert the ripening process of a Jalapeno and get it back to green again.

Another reason farmers prefer to pick their Jalapenos while they’re still green has to do with longevity. Once a pepper has turned red, its shelf period decreases significantly, implying that the farmers do not have a long time to store and transport the products, lest they go bad.

The last, but by no means least, reason jalapenos are picked while green before they turn red, is that allowing them to mature and reach that eventual red stage sends a signal to the parent plant that its work is done, and it should be done producing. Needless to say, this will significantly decrease your future yields.

Now that you understand why your jalapenos are turning red and why most farmers tend to pick them while they’re still green, let’s go on and take a look at several frequently asked questions regarding red jalapenos.

Why Are My Jalapenos Turning Red 2
Are these jalapenos ripe? – via Reddit

How Long Does It Take For Green Jalapenos To Turn Red?

The rate at which jalapeno peppers ripen from their green shade to a red one will largely depend on where they’re growing and the growing conditions you (the farmer) have subjected them to.

What’s more? Note that not all jalapeno peppers go through the same ripening process. Some will even change from a green shade to a yellow one before finally turning red.

Also worth noting, in most cases, jalapeno peppers that you picked while they were still red will not turn to a red color. So, if you want to enjoy red, spicy ones, your best bet is to let the jalapenos sit on the plant until they’re sufficiently ripe.

If you’d like a combination of both red and green ones, you can pick a sufficient number of green ones while all fruits on the plant are still green and let the rest ripen to your liking.

Why do Jalapeno Peppers Come With Lines?

Another fun fact about jalapeno peppers is that when the plant is stressed, its fruits tend to start growing lines that look like stretch marks. You can actually use these lines as excellent indicators of whether or not the fruit your acquiring is spicy.

Why? Because the golden rule is that the more stressed a jalapeno pepper plant is, the more marks and lines it will have, which further implies that the spicier it will become.

So, if you’d prefer good peppers with the lowest level of spices, go for green ones without lots of marks on their exterior. That said, if you’re scouring for the spiciest taste you can achieve, I suggest going for red jalapeno peppers with lots of marks.

Note, though, that experts advise you should eat super spicy red jalapenos reasonably.

Are Red Jalapenos Spicier Than Green Ones?

Yes, in most cases, red jalapenos are way spicier than green ones. A general rule of thumb is that the older a jalapeno plant gets, the spicier its fruits become. In fact, if you’ve tasted both jalapenos, you must’ve noticed that the red ones had a sweeter taste.  

Final Thoughts

If you were worried that there must have been a more sinister reason why your jalapenos are turning red, I’m glad I could clear that up using this detailed guide.

That said, while japanenos turning red isn’t an indication of anything wrong, you’re still advised to pick them while they’re still green. That’s particularly true if you’d like to extend their shelf life.