If you like experimenting with spices, it’s a good idea to grow Anaheim peppers in your garden.
This mild chili pepper variety adds just the right amount of heat and will make your Mexican dishes taste more authentic.
When to harvest Anaheim peppers? The best way to know if it’s time to harvest Anaheim peppers is if they are already seven to 10 inches long. You can also check their color, how many days it has been after planting, and how firm they are.
How Do You Know When Your Anaheim Peppers Are Ready to Harvest?
Anaheim peppers are one of the easiest pepper varieties to grow. They don’t require much maintenance and can withstand hot environments or dry climates.
Aside from the fact they don’t need much care, it’s also easy to determine when Anaheim peppers are ready for picking.
Here are four ways to tell if you can start harvesting them:
To get the best flavor out of your Anaheim peppers, you must pick them only if they are the right size.
In most cases, Anaheim peppers are ready to harvest if they measure approximately eight inches long.
You can start picking when they are about seven inches long, but leave some on the plant so that they can grow more.
Another way to determine if Anaheim chili peppers are ready for picking is by looking at the color of their skin.
The fruits will undergo several color changes while growing, from green to yellow to red.
To know just how spicy this pepper variety is, try them at all stages.
Dark green or green Anaheim peppers are mildly hot and are perfect for cooking, while the more mature red ones have a sweet and fruity flavor.
Checking for firmness is another effective technique to know if Anaheim peppers are ripe enough for picking.
To do this, gently squeeze the fruit with your fingers, being careful not to damage it.
If it’s firm, you’ll know it’s time to harvest them. Anaheim peppers that are too soft to the touch aren’t ready yet and need more time to grow.
How Long It’s Been Since You Planted Them
Like with any crop, you should take note of the exact date when you planted your Anaheim pepper seeds.
It takes time for these plants to grow and produce fruits, so you will need to practice patience.
To keep track of the date, you can use a regular calendar or the one on your smartphone.
Given the right growing conditions, Anaheim pepper plants will have grown and produced fruits 70 to 90 days after planting.
So, if you planted them in the first week of March, you can expect a harvest between the second week of May and the first week of June.
What Happens if You Don’t Harvest Anaheim Peppers?
Waiting three months from seeds to fruits is the easy part. The real challenge starts when you start seeing fruits and wonder if they are ripe for picking.
What if you harvest them too early? What happens if you leave them on the plant for too long?
As mentioned, picking green Anaheim peppers is okay as long as they are seven to eight inches long.
On the other hand, here’s what will happen if you don’t harvest them on time:
They will lose their flavor.
You can only enjoy the distinct mildly hot and spicy flavor of Anaheim peppers if you pick them at the right time.
If you leave them on the plant too long, they will start losing their flavor, and all your efforts will have been for nothing.
The color and firmness will change.
If you plan on stuffing your Anaheim peppers with meat, you have to know the best time to harvest them.
The green ones are the most firm and are perfect for this recipe.
Once they mature enough and become red, they won’t have the same texture and flavor.
If you wait a few more days before harvesting them, the skin will start to wrinkle and develop ridges.
The fruits will start rotting.
You will know Anaheim peppers are fully mature when they turn from green to yellow to red.
After that, the fruits will continue to ripen, become overripe, and then rot.
How To Harvest Anaheim Peppers?
Like most peppers, it’s easy to pick Anaheim peppers; the only thing you have to ensure is that they are at the right maturity.
And using our tips as a guide, that should be effortless to do.
If you think they are ready for picking, follow these steps to begin harvesting the fruits of your labor:
Step 1: Get your tools ready.
First and foremost, you will need to prepare your pruning scissors and a bowl or basket to put your harvest in.
It’s important that you disinfect your tools beforehand to lower the risk of diseases.
Step 2: Inspect your peppers.
Look for fruits that are ready for harvest by looking for the signs we listed earlier.
Each pepper plant will produce anywhere from four to eight fruits, which means they could be too close to each other.
Make sure you don’t cut the fruit accidentally.
Step 3: Do not harvest them with force.
When you check on your plants, you will notice your Anaheim pepper fruits hanging from their branches.
You wouldn’t want to tug on them for fear of damaging the peppers and stressing the plant.
Step 4: Start harvesting.
Holding the pepper firmly in one hand, cut the stem end carefully using your dominant hand.
Make sure you catch the fruit as it comes loose so that it doesn’t fall to the ground and get bruised.
Put your fresh harvest in the basket or bowl, and then continue cutting another until you harvest all matured fruits.
Should You Wash Anaheim Peppers After Harvesting?
Just like any other pepper, Anaheim peppers need not be washed until such time you are ready to use them.
If you plan on storing them for longer, it’s a good idea to wash them prior.
Make sure you do this quickly, as exposing the thin skin of Anaheim peppers to too much moisture shortens their shelf life.
To do this, gently rinse each fruit under running water and pat it dries with paper towels immediately after.
Leave them out to air dry before storing them in the fridge.
Once you are sure they are completely free of moisture, toss them in a sealed bag and put the bag in your fridge’s crisper drawer.
When stored this way, your Anaheim peppers should last anywhere from one to two weeks.
Can You Eat or Cook Anaheim Peppers Immediately After Harvesting?
Anaheim peppers are harvested when they are mature, so you can eat them immediately right after.
However, you must make sure you know how to prepare them for cooking. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Wash them first.
Like all fresh produce, there could be dirt and bugs on the skin that you need to wash away.
You’d also want to get rid of any pesticide residue if you used them.
After washing Anaheim peppers, you can go ahead and roast them, slice them up, or stuff and bake them.
Look at your peppers and their color.
As mentioned, you can eat Anaheim peppers when they are still young and green or ripe and red.
The mildly hot flavor of Anaheim peppers is most apparent when they aren’t fully matured yet.
Once they turn red, their flavor profile changes from hot to fruity.
Check for bruising and cuts.
Even if you were careful during harvesting, it’s possible to find cut and bruised Anaheim peppers.
These will likely rot first, which means they won’t last long in storage and are better off being eaten immediately.
Don’t store cut and bruised peppers with the others to prolong their shelf life.
Store in the fridge or freezer.
Depending on how big your harvest is, you can store Anaheim peppers in the fridge or freeze them.
We’ve already talked about ref storage, but if you want them to last longer, you can freeze them.
Start by washing and drying them thoroughly.
Next, lay them out on a baking tray and put the tray in the freezer for a couple of hours.
Once they are frozen, put the peppers in a freezer-safe container or Ziploc bag and then put them back in the freezer.
For use in fajitas or soups, you can cut them up into tiny pieces first before freezing.
Frozen Anaheim peppers will last in storage for approximately nine months but expect they won’t have the same quality.
Anaheim peppers are among the easiest pepper varieties to grow in a home garden. Not only do they taste good, but they also have plenty of uses.
They are not as hot as other peppers, so you can add them to your dishes to give them a mildly hot flavor.
These peppers are also often stuffed with cheese and meat, making for a delicious appetizer.