When To Harvest Green Bell Peppers – Garden Tips 2024

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As part of the nightshade family, together with tomatoes and chili, bell peppers contain several essential vitamins, including vitamins A and C, potassium, and even folate.

They have thick and crunchy flesh that is juicy with a mild and sweet flavor.

If you like them less sweet than the red ones, you may want to start picking the fruits when they are still green and unripe.

When to harvest green bell peppers? You will know green bell peppers are ready for picking roughly two weeks after the plants have produced fruits. It is also a good idea to check on the size of the fruits, as well as feel how firm they are.

How Do You Know When Your Green Bell Peppers Are Ready to Harvest?

Of all sweet peppers, bell peppers are at the top of the list when it comes to popularity.

While they come in several different varieties, they all start out green and show the same characteristics when they are ready to harvest.

To give you an idea, here’s what you should look for in a bell pepper fruit to determine its maturity:

The Color

Obviously, the first thing to consider if you want to harvest green bell peppers is the color of the fruit.

Bell peppers change their color over time after they have reached mature size. The first color is green, which is when the fruit is the least ripe.

While still yummy and nutritious, green bell peppers are not as sweet nor contain as many vitamins that yellow and red bell peppers have.

After some time, green bell peppers will turn into yellow, orange, red, or even purple, depending on the variety you’re growing.

The Size

Again, bell peppers will reach their mature size before they change colors.

So, for green bell peppers, looking at the size of the fruits is a good indicator of when it is time for a harvest.

Green bell peppers are ready for picking when they are roughly three to four inches big.

Some grow up to four to five inches long and have a diameter of about three inches.

The Firmness

In addition to the size, it is also a good idea to check for the fruit’s firmness.

To do this, look for a big enough fruit and squeeze it, making sure you don’t squeeze it too hard that you bruise the skin.

If the fruit is firm enough, it won’t be affected after you squeeze it. This is a good sign that your bell pepper is ready to harvest.

The Season

Originally from Central and South America and Mexico, expect these fruits to thrive in warm, tropical weather.

They will be ready in about 60 to 90 days if you plant them in the summer when they can get the right amount of sun exposure.

The Time

After sowing the seeds, bell peppers are ready in about two to three months.

So, if you planted them in the first week of February, your green bell peppers would be ready around the first week of April.

What Happens if You Don’t Harvest Green Bell Peppers? 

Bell peppers change colors from green to yellow, orange, and then red, which are the most mature.

If you leave green bell peppers on the plant, you will notice the fruits eventually changing into these different colors.

Since they are yet to ripen, green bell peppers get harvested earlier than the rest.

They aren’t as sweet as red bell peppers, nor are they as nutritious. However, they have that distinct taste that some dishes will benefit from.

You can expect around five to 10 fruits for every bell pepper plant.

So, if you decide not to harvest all green bell peppers at once, they will have enough time to mature more.

How to Harvest Green Bell Peppers?

The days between planting bell pepper seeds and waiting for them to grow are where most of your hard work is required.

It’s best to start them indoors and transplant them directly into your garden or in pots when they have grown a few inches.

After making sure you provide your bell pepper plants with their preferred growing conditions, you can begin preparing for harvesting.

Fortunately, picking green bell peppers does not require special tools or some serious gardening skills.

Step 1: Prepare for harvest.

After inspecting your bell pepper plants and finding bell pepper fruits in the right color, size, and firmness, it is time to prepare for harvesting.

It’s okay to pick green bell peppers no matter what time of the day it is, but experienced growers suggest doing it in the morning.

Step 2: Get the right tools for the job.

When it’s time to harvest green bell peppers, grab your sharpest pair of pruning scissors or a sharp knife.

You will use these tools to ensure you don’t damage the fruit, making them last longer in storage.

With your trusted scissors or knife in hand, cut the stem from which the green bell peppers are growing.

To harvest a good amount faster, get a container or a basket to put your produce in.

Step 3: Pick the green and firm bell peppers.

After making sure your bell peppers are ready to harvest, it is finally the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

To start, hold the stem of the bell pepper you will harvest and cut it with the pruning scissors or knife.

Then, cut the stem attached to the pepper. While doing that, you should hold the pepper so it won’t fall to the ground.

Put the green bell pepper in your basket and pick more green and firm peppers.

Step 4: Leave some to fully mature.

Not all of your bell peppers will be ready when most of them are. So, after harvesting the green ones, come back after a few days to harvest more.

You can also leave some green, unripe bell peppers on the plant to allow them to reach full maturity.

This way, you can have bell peppers in all colors and flavors, adding even more character to your dishes.

Should You Wash Green Bell Peppers After Harvesting?

Bell peppers have thin skin, so exposing them to too much moisture after harvesting will cause them to rot.

If you aren’t eating or cooking with them right after harvesting, we don’t advise washing bell peppers.

Instead, you can just brush or wipe off the dirt from the surface to remove insects or any pesticide if you used any.

When it comes time to use them, make sure you wash them thoroughly first.

Fortunately, washing bell peppers is easy to do if you know how to do it right.

Basically, instead of soaking them in water, you would want to use a colander and a bowl. Rinse the fruits under cool water to help them retain their firmness.

Then, pat them dry with a paper towel or a cloth to remove any extra moisture.

Can You Eat Green Bell Peppers Immediately After Harvesting? 

Green bell peppers have a distinct sweet with a slightly bitter undertone flavor because they aren’t done maturing yet.

If you are making pizza, they are a good choice of topping to add more flavor. What’s more, they pair best with pepperoni and olives.

You can also bake green bell peppers and stuff them with meat and cheese for more food experiences.

Raw or cooked, you can enjoy them with whatever dish you want.

Even with many uses, you likely won’t be able to consume all your harvest within a few days. Therefore, you should also learn how to store them correctly.

How To Store Bell Peppers

Store unwashed green bell peppers in the fridge. If you did wash them, make sure you wipe off any extra moisture before storing them.

To store bell peppers, put them in a produce bag where they will have enough air and space to breathe.

Make sure you don’t overcrowd the bag to allow ventilation and prevent rotting.

Then, put the produce bag in your refrigerator’s crisper or vegetable drawer to keep them fresh. Stored this way, they will last for about one to two weeks in the fridge.

Keep in mind that green bell peppers will continue to ripen after picking them off of the vine.

So, you will notice them turning from green to yellow, orange, and then red over time.

That said, if you end up leaving them in the fridge for too long, check if they have become soft and mushy before using them.

Throw them out if they have already lost their firmness.


Bell peppers are quick and easy to grow, so even beginner gardeners will find them enjoyable to take care of.

If the climate in your area permits it, we’re confident you won’t regret adding these pepper plants to your garden.

The best part is that the fruits are packed full of exciting flavors, vibrant colors, and essential nutrients!

Moreover, you will find it easy to incorporate in various dishes, as it is present in many cuisines.

Among the plants that will thrive alongside bell peppers are cucumbers, carrots, and eggplants.

You can also grow them together with chard, lettuce, and spinach.

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