When Are Ghost Peppers Ready To Pick?

The Scoville scale is used to determine which pepper has the most heat. The ghost pepper is one of the hottest peppers in the world and can be found growing mainly in India. When these peppers are ready to be picked depends on how hot you want them to be. In this article, I answered the question: When are ghost peppers ready to pick?

Ghost peppers are ready to pick when their skin has turned red or orange, depending on the variety of pepper. How many you plan on picking will also determine the time in which they need to be picked. The plant will continue to produce ghost peppers for up to three months, at which point the gardener should have all the ghost peppers they want.

The longer you wait to pick your ghost pepper, the hotter it will become! However, the longer you wait, the more likely it is that your plant won’t have any more peppers or fruit left.

A gardener should pick their ghost pepper when it begins to feel a little soft and the skin turns from green to red or orange. This will ensure that you have picked the ghost pepper at its peak of flavor, instead of letting it over-ripen on the vine and letting it sweat inside its husk for too long.

Ghost peppers are one of the hottest chili peppers in the world, with Scoville heat units measuring over 1 million! They’re easy to grow at home and super fun for you and your friends; but how do you know when they’re ready to be picked?

Read on for helpful tips on recognizing the best time to pick your ghost peppers.

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Tips for Harvesting Ghost Peppers

Ghost chili plants can grow into fairly large specimens (2-3 feet in height), so they need plenty of room for their roots, leaf canopy, and fruit to fully mature. These are hot peppers, which means they need some time to develop their heat, so look for peppers that are firm and smooth with no wrinkles or soft spots before you harvest.

If you’ve got your heart set on a particular size of ghost pepper, check out the plant daily for signs of consistent growth. If you’re just looking to pick some peppers at random sizes, then go ahead and pick anytime you feel a pepper has reached full maturity.

And always remember, there’s no wrong time to snack on a ghost chili!

How to Prepare Ghost Chilies

Once you’ve harvested your ghost peppers, it’s time for the fun part: eating them! If you’re not too familiar with these powerful little fruits, then definitely beware: go slow and take it easy when you’re preparing ghost chilies for cooking.

Although they pack a punch, these peppers are just like any others when it comes to prepping them for cooking. Start by washing the peppers thoroughly with cool water and then patting them dry.

The capsaicin oil (the source of heat in chili peppers) is only found in the ribs and seeds of chili fruits, so slice off these areas to reduce the spiciness. The outside ribs and seeds contain the most capsaicin, so make sure you remove them especially carefully if you plan on cooking ghost chilies whole.

And remember: a little bit of ghost chili goes a long way, so use accordingly with the recipes you choose!

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When to Harvest Ghost Peppers

If you’re not in a hurry and want your ghost peppers to develop their full heat potential, leave them on the plant until they change color from bright green to a duller olive shade. This typically takes about 3-4 months from when the plants begin flowering.

Of course, the longer you leave your ghost chili plants to grow, the more time they have to develop and store capsaicin in their ribs and seeds. The fruit will also mature and change color from green to yellow or orange before finally turning red when ready for harvesting.

A lot of beginners prefer picking ghost chilies when they’re green, as this allows them to slowly build up a tolerance for the heat.

But if you’re feeling lucky and have a high-heat tolerance, then go for it: pick your peppers at their peak fiery red color!

Whether you’re looking to harvest ghost peppers as early as possible or just want to see how long you can leave them on the plant, there’s no wrong time to pick your ghost chilies as long as you don’t wait too long and end up with rotting peppers.

Just be sure to look for signs of fully-developed color and smooth skin before picking, especially if you’re after a specific heat level, and always remember: eating ghost peppers raw is no easy feat!

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FAQ: About Picking Ghost Peppers

How do you know when pepper is ready to be picked? 

Don’t let your peppers over-mature – they need time to develop their heat! Be sure to check on the color of the peppers before picking. If they are green, they’re not ready to be picked. If they are red, it’s time for a pickin’ party!

When do ghost peppers turn from green to red? 

Ghost pepper plants need about 3-4 months from when they start flowering. The longer you leave the plant to grow, the more time it has to develop and store capsaicin in its ribs and seeds.

What are ghost peppers? 

Ghost chilies are a variety of chili pepper that register over 1 million Scoville heat units on the Scovillito Heat Scale (SHU). The ghost pepper plant is a perennial in most climates and can reach a height of up to 5 feet. Because they are naturally found in the bhut jolokia section of India, they have been nicknamed ghost peppers or Bhut Jolokia. Ghost chilies also contain high levels of capsaicin. Capsaicin is an alkaloid compound that gives chili peppers their spiciness when it comes in contact with mucous membranes.

How do I get rid of the smell from chopping up hot peppers?

Wash hands thoroughly. Rub hands under running water while rubbing a bar of soap between hands. Avoid touching the face or other sensitive areas until after washing hands.

How long do ghost pepper plants live? 

Ghost chilies are perennial plants that will return year after year in most climates. They can grow up to 4 feet high and 2-3 feet wide, making them one of the larger chili pepper plants. However, others can grow as small as 1 foot for those who prefer to keep their plants contained.

How do I harvest ghost peppers?

Harvesting ghost chilies is easy enough! You don’t need any special tools or equipment – just your hands and a knife to slice off the stem end of the pepper.

If you are looking to harvest ghost chilies as early as possible, then go for it! Pick your chili peppers at their peak fiery red color!

When do I harvest ghost peppers?

One of the most common questions is when to harvest ghost peppers. You can pick them at any point in their growth for a taste experience and heat level, but we recommend harvesting once they’ve reached full red color. This is also a good time to remove any rotting chili or discolored areas before they become mushy. If you are looking for immediate heat, harvest your ghost chilies at their peak fiery red color!


When are ghost peppers ready to pick? It depends on your heat preferences, but the best time is when they’re fully red. If you wait too long, your ghost chili plant will start to rot or become mushy. Be sure to check for color and smooth skin before picking!