When To Pick Cayenne Peppers (With Pictures)

When to pick Cayenne Peppers (with pictures)

Cayenne peppers are best picked when they have turned from green to red. This is done by looking for the color change in the leaves of the plant. They should be picked before they start to turn yellow, because this will make them bitter. Read more in detail here: when to pick cayenne peppers off the plant.

When To Pick Cayenne Peppers (With Pictures)

If you like spicy cuisine, you should consider producing your own hot peppers. You may grow peppers whether you have a large yard for an in-ground garden bed or a little balcony in your apartment.

Cayenne peppers are among the most well-known and often used spicy chilies. Fresh cayennes may be used to produce hot sauce, spicy cayenne powder, or prepared foods.

When to take cayenne peppers from the plant is a popular topic among rookie gardeners. I’ll go through the phases of a cayenne pepper plant’s development, when to harvest cayennes, and other typical queries in this post.

Closeup of ripe cayenne peppers on plantOn the plant, there are ripe cayenne peppers.

Because cayenne peppers have a very small window of ideal maturity, it’s critical to harvest them at the correct moment. You’ll know when to choose your cayennes for optimum taste and fire after reading this.


The Cayenne Pepper Plant is a kind of chili pepper.

Cayenne refers to a broad group of chilies belonging to the Capsicum annuum genus. Humans have used them for hundreds of years, with some records reaching back to the mid-fifteenth century.

Cayenne peppers are now widely farmed in the United States, and are largely utilized in famous spicy sauces such as Frank’s RedHot.

Its name is often used for the popular spice ‘cayenne powder,’ albeit the peppers in it are unlikely to be true cayennes. The dried fruits of any C. annuum or C. frutescens cultivar may be used to make the spice, according to the FDA.

Cayenne pepper plants are typically 2-3 feet tall and bushy in appearance. Plants are often prolific, producing 10-30 ripe pods per plant at a time, depending on the variety.

Cayenne pepper plant in ground with green peppersPlant that produces cayenne pepper.

To protect the fruits from falling to the ground, some cayenne plants benefit from staking or training. They thrive in full light, although they may also thrive in partial sun.

When the seedlings reach the age of three weeks, they begin to develop more actively. Depending on the region and cultivar, harvesting usually occurs 60-80 days after transplanting outside.

Cayenne Peppers Come in a Variety of Shapes and Sizes

The red cayenne pepper is by far the most prevalent kind of cayenne. There are a variety of cayenne peppers available, including purple, yellow, and extra long cayennes.

Cayenne pepper (seeds) of the highest quality:

Swirly Cayenne PepperCayenne pepper with a curly shape.

The hybrid ‘Red Ember’ is one of the greatest cultivars. It was recognized by the AAS in 2018 for its thick-walled, delicious pods that matured early in the growing season. Another unusual cayenne is the buena mulata, which has gorgeous purple pods that mature to a rich red hue.


Stages of Cayenne Pepper Development

Cayenne pepper plants grow similarly to other types of C. annuum. It’s best to start them from seed approximately 6 weeks before the final frost. Plants may be transplanted outside after the temperature reliably rises over 55°F.

Cayenne peppers will expand to a mature size of 2-3 feet after being moved outdoors, and then begin to set flowers and fruits. Fertilize container plants on a regular basis to ensure that they get the nutrients they need. Fertilizer may be lowered after the plants begin to bear fruit.

  • Seedling. Cayenne peppers, like other pepper plants, begin as a slow-growing seedling. Although early development is slow, sufficient lighting and nutrition are essential. To create a strong main stem and robust leaves, young cayennes need at least 14 hours of sunshine every day. If you wish to grow from seed, we strongly advise you to use a grow light.
  • Growth. Cayenne peppers will continue to generate new branches and leaves after transplanted. During this stage, the objective is to promote a lot of branches and leaves. If plants are housed in too tiny containers, they may start blooming too soon. Early flower buds should be removed until the plant has established itself outdoors.
  • Flowering. Flowers should begin to develop after the plants have reached full maturity. Flowers will grow into fruits later, so the more you see, the better!
  • Fruiting. Each blossom that is fertilized successfully has the potential to develop into a cayenne pepper. Insects like as bees and wasps are responsible for pollination. Hand pollination or a gentle shake may be required for indoor plants. The blooms will fall off and the fruit will grow after a pepper has begun to develop.
  • Ripening. Cayenne peppers are green when they are young. The peppers will begin to ripen as they reach maturity. Depending on the location and cultivar, this might take anywhere from 2-4 weeks, and the finished peppers are often vivid red.

Young cayenne pepper plantSeedling of the cayenne pepper.


When Should Cayenne Peppers Be Picked?

The major issue now is when should I harvest my cayenne peppers. When can you start selecting if you’re growing from seed and have waited months for the plants to produce?

When cayenne peppers have achieved maturity and become a deep red hue, they are ready to harvest. Some cayenne varieties ripen to different colors, like as yellow or orange, but they should not be picked when they are still green.

Cayenne pepper ripening on plantCayenne pepper pod that has matured.

How long does it take for cayenne peppers to ripen?

I’m not beyond becoming irritated while waiting for peppers to mature. It might take up to a month for cayenne peppers to change color after reaching maximum size. However, particularly with cayennes, I usually advocate waiting for the ultimate color change.

Unripe cayenne pods have less sweetness and a weaker taste than ripe pods. Green cayennes, on the other hand, may still be employed in cooking, as you’ll discover shortly.

Cayenne pepper harvesting advice

I’d like to provide a few pointers for correctly harvesting cayenne peppers, even though it’s rather simple. These will assist you in determining when and how to harvest.

  • Whenever possible, wait for the color to shift.
  • To prevent injuring the plant, pull the stem with one hand while holding the branch with the other.
  • If you want to preserve seeds, you need wait a few days longer.

Cayenne Peppers That Don’t Turn Red

We’ve heard from many farmers who have cayenne peppers that refuse to become red. The peppers remain green for a long time before rotting and falling off the plant. This is unusual, but it seems to happen more commonly with cayenne peppers. There are a few reasons why cayenne peppers do not become red.

To begin with, the plants may just need more time for the peppers to mature. Cayenne peppers, as previously noted, may take up to 30 days (or more) to mature from green to red. The length of time depends on the temperature, the amount of water in the soil, and the cultivar you’re cultivating. If you wait long enough, your peppers will finally turn.

Low light levels might also be a factor. The majority of pepper plants thrive in full light. Plants that are partially shaded normally grow alright, but we’ve discovered that their pods are less spicy and tasty. They may also take longer to completely mature, so consider how much sunshine your plants get and, if feasible, relocate them.

Finally, there’s the possibility that you’re dealing with bugs or illness. When a cayenne fruit is injured, it might dry up and fall off the plant before it ripens. If your peppers perish before becoming red, look for evidence of an infestation or illness on your plants.


Cayenne Peppers, Green

Green cayenne peppers are also often asked whether they are edible. Unripe cayenne peppers are edible and may be used in the same manner as red cayenne peppers. However, the taste will almost certainly be diminished, and the amount of heat may be reduced as well.

Green cayenne peppers unripeOn the plant are green cayenne peppers.

Green cayenne peppers are somewhat bitter and have a more vegetal taste than red cayenne peppers (grassy). This, in our opinion, is dependent on how immature the peppers are. The pepper will be significantly less tasty if the seeds inside are just starting to develop (soft and small white seeds). If the pepper is almost mature, it will resemble a red ripe cayenne pepper.

Harvest green cayenne peppers before a frost if the season is drawing to a close and the temperatures are lowering. The green pods may be used to spice up fresh salsa, stir fried meals, and any other cuisine.

Will green cayenne peppers become red after they’ve been removed off the plant? If you choose cayenne peppers that are near to ripening, there’s a possibility they’ll turn red after you pick them. To promote quicker ripening, keep them in a warm spot (not in the refrigerator) for 3-4 days. They’ll probably remain green if they don’t turn red within four days.


What is the Scoville Scale of a Cayenne Pepper?

The heat levels of cayenne peppers vary greatly since there are so many distinct varieties. Some cayennes, such as the corbaci cultivar, are somewhat spicy, while others, such as the hot portual, are quite fiery.

On the Scoville scale, the most popular types of spicy cayenne peppers vary from 30,000 to 50,000 SHUs. Cayenne peppers are ideal for producing hot sauce or spicy salsa since they are fairly fiery.

Cayenne Peppers ripe in hand


Uses of Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne peppers are tall and slender, with relatively thin walls. This means they’re not ideal for stuffing or grilling, but they’re ideal for a variety of other uses.

  • Dehydrating. Drying fresh cayennes for powder or flakes is one of the simplest methods to utilize them. Cayenne pepper powder may be made using a food dehydrator, an oven, or simply by hanging it to dry. In a coffee grinder, ground the thoroughly dried pods and keep for up to a year.
  • Sauce with a kick. Cayenne peppers are an excellent choice for generating your own spicy sauce. They have a medium heat level that most people can tolerate, and they go well with a wide range of fruits and vegetables. Experiment with your garden to come up with something unique.
  • Fermentation. Cayenne peppers may be fermented for long-term preservation or used as a base for spicy sauce. Fermented cayenne pepper mash is used in Frank’s RedHot sauce. The fermenting procedure adds complexity to the taste of the fresh peppers and, in my view, enriches it.
  • Freezing. Freeze fresh peppers if you simply want a fast method to keep them from deteriorating. For the longest storage duration, use freezer bags or, better yet, a vacuum sealer.
  • Salsa. Fresh, homemade salsa is one of my favorite summertime treats. Because tomatoes and peppers mature at the same time, mix them with onions and other vegetables to produce the ideal spicy dip.
  • Frying. Cayenne peppers are exactly in the sweet spot for me when it comes to spicy meals. Prepare your home-cooked food by chopping up some fresh cayenne peppers and heating them up.
  • Seeds should be saved. You may store seeds from your cayenne peppers if you wish to grow them again next year. If you have other pepper varieties growing nearby, cross pollination is a possibility, therefore it’s better to utilize store-bought seeds.

How To Make Cayenne Pepper PowderCayenne pepper flakes prepared from scratch.


I hope this post has helped you figure out when to harvest your cayenne pepper plants. When it comes time to choose, you’ll be considerably more confidence after you’ve completed your first grow.

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Calvin

One of the first s! Calvin enjoys traveling and performing music when he isn’t gardening or learning more about peppers and botany.

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Cayenne peppers are a hot chili pepper that is commonly used in cooking. When picking them, it is important to know what to do with green cayenne peppers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do cayenne peppers look like when ready to harvest?

A: The peppers are a deep red color and have tiny, black seeds. They can also be found as long slender pods that grow up to 3 feet in length!

How long should cayenne peppers be before picking?

A: When picking cayenne peppers, they should be left in their pods to dry out and then discarded. If you want to use the whole pepper instead of just the seeds or ribs, then leave it on a plate for about 12 hours before enjoying.

Will cayenne peppers ripen off the vine?

A: Cayenne peppers are only edible when they ripen off the vine.

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