Poblano peppers are mildly hot peppers popularly used in Mexican cuisine. You can add them to sauces, salsa, and soups or stuff them with meat and roast them.
With almost unlimited uses and the fact that they are easy to grow, you’ve probably tried growing them in your garden.
That said, when is the best time to harvest these peppers?
When to harvest poblano peppers? Poblano peppers are ready for harvesting when the skin gives off a glistening shine. Around this time, the fruits will be four to six inches long and have a deep green color. You can eat them immediately after harvesting or wait for them to turn red if you plan on drying them.
How Do You Know When Your Poblano Peppers Are Ready to Harvest?
There are several signs to keep an eye out for to know if your Poblano peppers are ready for picking.
Of course, you can always refer to the seed packet to determine how many days they will need to grow in your area.
Given the right growing conditions, they can take roughly 65 to 80 days to grow to full maturity.
To give you a more detailed look into what to expect when harvest time nears, here are tell-tale signs your Poblano peppers are mature enough for picking:
Generally, peppers change colors depending on their maturity; the same is true with Poblano peppers.
When you see your Poblano peppers turning green, you can rest assured that they are approaching maturity.
However, if you prefer them spicier, wait until they turn red before you harvest them. After that, you can smoke or dry your Poblano peppers.
Aside from the color, their size is another effective way to tell Poblano peppers’ maturity.
As mentioned, mature Poblano peppers will be around four to six inches long when they are ready for harvest.
You can consider Poblano peppers ready for harvest when the skin is all shiny and glossy.
Generally, this means the skin is firm and crunchy, which is the texture you’d want to aim for.
What Happens If You Don’t Harvest Poblano Peppers?
Poblano peppers like the warm weather and will grow quickly when planted at the right time. In fact, their ideal growing conditions are almost similar to that of tomatoes.
Both these plants also have a short growing season, so you must check them regularly for mature fruits.
Wondering what will happen if you leave Poblano peppers on the stem for too long? Here’s what:
The color changes.
When you fail to harvest Poblano peppers after they have reached maturity, you will witness their skin turning red from green.
It will also become slightly ridged or wrinkly, and you will notice discoloration and soft spots.
Expect the same to happen after harvesting them and leaving them at room temperature.
The taste changes.
Poblano peppers left on the plant past their harvest time will become overripe. Sadly, this means you’d be losing the spice and crunch these peppers are known for.
Not harvesting for far too long after that will result in rot.
How To Harvest Poblano Peppers?
Now that you know the importance of harvesting Poblano peppers at the right time, the next step is learning how to do it correctly.
On average, a single plant can have up to eight pepper fruits but can produce 20 to 40 peppers throughout the growing season.
Here’s how you can make sure you harvest them the right way:
Step 1: Don’t forcefully try to pick them.
A fully mature Poblano pepper should easily snap off of its stem. If that’s not the case for you, perhaps yours still need some time to grow.
Pulling on your peppers will damage the stems and stress the plant, causing it to produce fewer fruits or develop diseases.
The fruit will also likely develop bruises, which will shorten its shelf life.
Step 2: Use sharp garden scissors.
To make sure you do it perfectly, it would be best to use gardening shears when harvesting Poblano peppers.
Using just any random scissors to cut the stem end of the pepper might not result in a clean cut.
You might also want to wear a pair of gloves and have a basket ready to carry your fresh harvest.
Step 3: Look for mature Poblano peppers.
Once everything is set, inspect your Poblano pepper plants to find mature fruits ready for harvest.
Push the stems and leaves aside, being extra careful not to damage anything. This way, you don’t accidentally cut off stems or fruits that aren’t mature yet.
Step 4: Start harvesting.
To begin harvesting, hold the fruit gently in one hand and cut the stem end of the pepper with your dominant hand.
Catch the fruit so that it doesn’t fall to the ground and develop bruises.
Should You Wash Poblano Peppers After Harvesting?
Harvesting Poblano peppers is easy, but what should you do with them afterward? Do they need to be washed before storage or not?
Though some crops need washing after picking, Poblano peppers do not. In fact, exposing them to too much moisture before storing them will make them rot faster.
If you think it’s necessary to wash them, do so gently, quickly, and with the least amount of water. Then, allow them to dry completely before storing.
Alternatively, you can also just wipe the skin using a clean kitchen towel to get rid of any dirt.
After that, you can put them in a resealable plastic bag and toss the bag in your fridge’s crisper drawer.
Can You Eat Poblano Peppers Immediately After Harvesting?
Are Poblano peppers ready to eat after picking, or do they need time to mature off the plant?
So, you’re done harvesting them; you might have even washed and left them out to air dry. What now?
The answer depends on what you want.
Is it green or red?
As mentioned, you can pick Poblano peppers when they are still green or wait for them to turn red.
You can eat both, but green Poblano peppers have a milder flavor than the spicier red peppers.
Because they don’t taste the same, their color will tell you which to use depending on the recipe you’re trying to recreate.
Either way, clean them first.
Freshly harvested Poblano peppers will most likely have dirt, debris, and even tiny bugs stuck to the skin.
As such, we recommend rinsing each one thoroughly under running water to make sure they are clean.
After that, you can go ahead and chop, slice, stuff them up, or whatever the recipe says you need to do.
Eat them cooked.
The skin of Poblano peppers is thicker than what you’d expect, so you may not enjoy eating them raw.
Besides, there are plenty of ways to cook them. On top of adding them to soups and sauces for color and flavor, you can also roast them up along with your meats.
How To Store Poblano Peppers After Harvesting?
No clue how to store Poblano peppers? Here are two of the easiest and most effective methods:
If you plan to consume all your freshly harvested Poblano peppers in a week or two, go ahead and refrigerate them.
However, before placing them in the vegetable drawer of your fridge, inspect each one. Only store those without any sign of damage or rot.
If you accidentally store damaged Poblano peppers, they will turn moldy and might even cause the others to develop mold.
For longer storage, you can freeze Poblano peppers so that they last for up to 12 months.
That said, if you’re going to freeze them, you will need to slice them up into smaller pieces. Because these peppers are big, the inside may not freeze completely if you don’t slice them.
To prepare Poblano peppers for freezing, follow these steps:
Step 1: Rinse and dry.
Rinse and dry each pepper fruit thoroughly, checking for rot, mold, or damage. If you see any, cut the damaged part off before rinsing again in cold water. Allow drying completely.
Step 2: Slice them up.
Cut away the stems and pull the seeds to remove them, too.
Slice the peppers into the size you like, but make sure it is not too small to avoid crushing them and losing all the flavors.
We recommend slicing them into two-inch-long strips for easy thawing.
Step 3: Freeze.
Lay them out on a flat baking sheet and freeze for an hour. Once frozen, pack them into thick freezer bags to avoid freezer burns.
Remove as much air from the bag as possible before putting it back into the freezer.
If you like experimenting in the kitchen using home-grown ingredients, you will enjoy growing Poblano peppers in your garden.
These peppers have just the right amount of spice to give any of your Mexican dishes an authentic vibe.
The best part is that they are very easy to grow and will even thrive as companion plants to crops that also enjoy full sun and warm weather.
Then, in about two to three months, you will have plenty of Poblano pepper fruits to eat immediately, give away to family and friends, or store for later use.