Will Poblano Peppers Ripen or Turn Red After Picking? (Off the Vine)

You may have heard that vegetables taste better if you let them ripen on the vine instead of picking them early. This myth likely comes from the fact that many of our grocery store fruits and veggies are picked months in advance and stored before transport, ultimately leading to a loss of taste and nutrients.

But homegrown poblanos have a different story to tell!

Poblano peppers will continue to turn red and ripen after you pick them. A plant hormone called ethylene causes your peppers to continue ripening. They should turn fully red within a week or two of picking. It’s a good idea to harvest your peppers a little early to avoid rot and pests, and you’ll find no taste difference.

If you want to learn all about picking your peppers a little early, this article is for you!

Will poblano peppers turn red or ripen after you pick them?

Let’s dig into the science of why fruits and veggies continue to ripen. 

Poblano peppers will turn red and ripen after you pick them. A plant hormone called ethylene sends signals to the fruit to ripen. This hormone remains in your peppers even after you pick them, which is why they continue to ripen after being picked.

Poblano peppers are a “climacteric fruit”, meaning your poblano peppers will ripen after you pick them.

The driving force behind ripening is a plant hormone known as ethylene. Unripe peppers have low levels of ethylene. As fruit begins to ripen, ethylene levels increase. 

Ethylene levels remain in your fruit even after you pick them, causing them to continue ripening. In fact, ethylene levels even continue to increase after harvest!

Due to the rise in ethylene, it’s important to watch your poblano peppers. The continuous increase in ethylene is why vegetables seem to go bad overnight with no warning signs!

How long does it take for poblanos to turn red after picking?

If you’re trying to meal prep, it can come in handy to know when your poblanos will be ready.

Generally speaking, it takes about a week or two for poblanos to turn red after picking.

Poblano peppers take between 7-14 days to turn red after picking.

Should you wait for poblanos to ripen on the vine?

As mentioned, there’s a huge myth that poblanos- and all fruits and vegetables- taste better when left to ripen on the vine. Let’s dig in a little deeper.

You do not have to wait for poblanos to ripen on the vine. You should actually harvest your peppers slightly before they are ripe to avoid rot and pests. You may also be more likely to use them if they’re in eyesight in your kitchen.

Contrary to popular belief, fruit left to ripen on the vine does not taste any better than fruit that ripens off the vine. In fact, the main difference is that it will go bad more quickly! 

Harvesting your vegetables slightly before they’re ripe will remind you that you have them, and you’ll probably be more likely to use them. On the other hand, if you push it by leaving them on the vine for too long, they become susceptible to rot and pests.

Only wait for your poblanos to ripen on the vine if you’re positive that you won’t forget about them and you’ll use them before they’re past their due date, so to speak!

How do you know when a poblano is ripe?

As with many peppers, poblanos have multiple phases at which they can be picked.

Poblanos are fully ripe when they are so red that they’re nearly black. However, “immature” poblanos in their green phase are potentially even more popular than fully ripe ones. The more ripe a poblano is, the hotter it gets. If you’re roasting your poblanos or using them to make Mole, it’s important to let them ripen all the way.

Poblanos go through many ripening stages. In fact, you will mostly find them when they’re “immature” in their green phase. 

In the immature phase, poblano peppers are flavorful but not overly spicy. They’re a good substitute for bell peppers if you want to add more personality to a dish. You can use them in Mexican recipes, tomato sauce, stir-fries, and more.

On the other hand, you can let a poblano ripen all the way into its “mature” stage, at which point it will be so red that it’s almost black. A fully ripe poblano is much spicier. 

If you’re going to roast your poblano peppers or use them to make Mole sauce, it’s important to let your poblano pepper reach full maturity.

Due to these discrepancies, poblano peppers found on the same plant can have vastly different levels of spiciness. Their Scoville Heat Unit ranges from 1,000 to 2,000 depending on the ripeness.

Do poblanos turn red on the vine?

How can you ensure that your poblanos reach their mature stage?

Poblanos will turn red on the vine. Some ways to speed up the growing process include proper fertilization, planting your poblanos in the sun, pruning and harvesting your poblanos, and giving them enough room to grow.

Poblano peppers will turn red on the vine. There are even ways to speed up how quickly your poblano peppers grow so that they will ripen more quickly!

Some methods include:

  • Proper fertilization
  • Planting in the sun
  • Pruning and harvesting
  • Giving your peppers enough room to grow

Are poblano peppers hotter when they turn red?

As we touched on earlier, poblano peppers go through many phases that affect their taste- and spiciness!

Poblano peppers are hotter when they turn red. Their Scoville Heat Unit can even push toward the 2,000 mark! Some gardeners are only used to green poblanos and are in for quite the surprise when they harvest a red one!

Poblano peppers are hotter when they turn red. As mentioned earlier, poblanos have a Scoville Heat Unit ranging from 1,000 to 2,000. 

While green poblanos may be closer to the 1,000 mark, red poblanos push more toward 2,000 units. That’s double the heat! 

An unsuspecting gardener may harvest at different stages without knowing the vast difference in heat- only to be in for a big surprise.