Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Harvesting Peppers in the Fall by Joyce D'Agostino

Early Jalapeño Pepper, photo by Joyce D'Agostino
If you have grown sweet or hot peppers this season, now is the time to prepare to harvest. Peppers are tender annuals that will not tolerate frost.

Many peppers begin green and then will turn color as they mature or ripen. The taste and heat of the pepper can vary from the green state to when they turn a color. If your peppers are the hot variety, refer to the seed packet information to learn the Scoville units that rates the heat of the pepper. 

Purple Beauty Pepper, photo by Joyce D'Agostino

To avoid any skin or eye irritation when you harvest your peppers or have broken peppers on the plant, it is advisable to use gloves and clippers to remove the peppers. The membrane inside the peppers around the seeds e have the highest amount of the capsaicin which give the pepper its mild or hot flavor. If you wish to reduce the amount of heat in your peppers, you can carefully remove the membrane and seeds. 

Peppers also dry very well and can be then stored in jars or bags. Strings or wreaths of dried peppers also add color to your kitchen or can be given for holiday gifts. You can also freeze peppers for use in cooking. 

If you didn’t get the opportunity to grow peppers this year, you can do some research for suggestions to help you choose which variety that you prefer to grow next year. Peppers do very well in containers and can be started from seed indoors several months ahead of planting.

Check out CSU Extension’s bulletin Colorado Farm to Table: Colorado Peppers for more information.