When Should I Pick My Chili Peppers?

Question:

I am growing Santa Fe green chili peppers, they are about 8 inches long, but not sure if ready to pick? How do I know when to pick? Once picked how do I remove skin, for cooking. I know its tough skin, most say grill or broil, is there any other way?

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Hardiness Zone: 6-7

Thank you,
Judy from Grand Junction, CO

Answer:

Judy,

Your peppers are ready for harvest when the pods are a glossy green color and they feel firm when you squeeze them (usually August). If you leave a few pods on your plants until September, you'll be able to harvest some red ones. To remove your chilies from the plant, use a sharp knife of scissors and cut them off leaving them with at least 1 inch of stem. You can tie the stems together for drying and ground the dried pods into powders for sauces. The best way to remove the tough outer skins is by blistering or roasting them on a grill (do this outdoors!). Simply place them on a hot grill and turn them until all sides get evenly blistered. Try to avoid letting them get too black in one spot. If you want crisper chilies, plunge them into an icy bath immediately after blistering before peeling them. For softer, more thoroughly cooked chilies, remove them from the grill and seal them in plastic bags or place them in a covered pan with a damp cloth for 10-15 minutes and allow them to continue steam cooking. Make sure you wear gloves and protect your eyes before peeling off the skins. Peeling the skins is easiest if you start from the stemmed end of the chili and use a small paring knife to remove areas of skin that stay attached to the flesh. You can blister chilies in an oven using your broiler setting, but make sure you have some fantastic ventilation going! A small propane torch and a pair of tongs will work fine, too.

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About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

Answers

July 12, 20060 found this helpful

If you have a BBQ grill, you can toast them on the grill until they char, and then peel off the charred part.

This can also be done over a stove's gas flame.

I am thinking you could also put them in an ungreased iron skillet and char.

But beware of fumes if you do it indoors!

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