How and When To Pick Poblano Peppers

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Poblano (or also called Ancho) Peppers are arguably the most under-rated pepper in the pepper family. They do not get nearly the attention of the jalapeno or cayenne pepper, but poblano peppers are packed with flavor. The poblano pepper is my favorite pepper because they have that great pepper taste but are much milder. They are great for adding just a touch of zing to spaghetti sauces, sandwiches, steaks and hundreds of other dishes.

One other great quality of the poblano pepper is that they are very easy to grow, and even easier to harvest. Here is how to tell when a poblano pepper is ready to pick and how to pick it without damaging the plant or knocking peppers off the plant accidentally.

Poblano Pepper Plant

Is This Poblano Pepper Ready To Pick?

The best way to know whether a poblano pepper is ready to pick is by the size. A poblano pepper will have a deep, dark green color – similar to a bell pepper. The pepper is ready to pick once it gets to be a little smaller than your hand. It will actually look like a smaller version of a wrinkled bell pepper.

Choose a Poblano Pepper That Is Ready To Pick

In the picture above, the poblano pepper on the right is at the right size for picking. The one on the left can be picked, but you can let it get a tad bit bigger.

How To Properly Pick Poblano Peppers

You will need a sharp pair of scissors or garden shears. Find the pepper you want to pick, and gently push any leaves or stems away from the pepper. This will give you clear access to the pepper. Be careful not to accidentally knock off any near by peppers.

Snip the Poblano Pepper From The Plant Using Garden Snips or Shears

Now that you can easily get to the wanted poblano, use the scissors to snip the pepper from the plant. Cut the stem about 1/4-inch above the the pepper. It is better to cut the pepper instead of just pulling it off. Pulling the pepper can cause damage to the plant and accidentally knock growing peppers from the plant.

Harvested Poblano Pepper

Now you have a perfectly sized poblano pepper that will be a great addition to many foods.

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Comments

  1. Great post on the Poblano! This is my first time growing them, and they turned out a bit small, and I didn’t know when to pick them… No I know to give them more time.

    Keep up the good work on the site. I bookmarked and I’ll be back!
    Chris

    • Hi Chris,

      Thanks for the kind words and for visiting!

      Really, Poblanos can be picked at any time – there is no right or wrong time. I like picking them when they get a little bit smaller than my hand. I believe they have a little bit better taste. You can actually leave them on the bush longer, and they will turn a dark red color. They will get just a little more spicier as well.

      Picking them somewhat smaller might encourage the plant to produce more peppers for a longer period as well.

      Good luck with your peppers!

      Tee

  2. Ah, this is such good information! I’m growing some from seed for the first time this year, and I have little idea what to expect. I must let some turn red and see how they taste.

    • Hi Fawnet – I think you will do just fine with your poblano peppers. They are real easy to grow with minimal attention really (under normal conditions). Poblanos are great once they turn red; they seem to become a bit sweeter. Let me know how your plants are progressing from time to time. I’d love to hear about them.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Tee

  3. Hi,
    My wife and I are growing a poblano plant for the first time. It’s taking a long time for any to sprout, however today I saw the first one! It must have snuck in some how. Your info on when to pick them is very helpful for us, thank you. I can’t wait to try it! I bet it would go really good in a cream cheese based dip.

  4. My first year gardening and I had two poblano pepper plants. They did beautifully and now I have way too many peppers. I froze some a while back and now I’m going to try drying some. At the beginning of the season, they were very mild, but they seemed to get hotter as time went on. I made some stuffed poblanos a couple of weeks ago and I could hardly stand to eat them because they were so hot. Even my husband, who likes spicy hot food, thought they were too hot, but my son ate them up.

  5. I planted fifteen poblano plants from seed in the spring. This is the second year. They are great and the plants are prolific but all of the fruit is rather small. Not big enough for stuffing. I tried different plant foods but no help. I wonder if the soil needs something special to get them to grow bigger. It is not a sandy soil but it is not clay. We are in nothern Ohio. It is now Oct. and the plants are full of green no red yet but all no more than 3/4 inches long. Any suggestions?

  6. My poblanos have gotten really piquante, which makes it difficult to know how many to put in my dishes. The ones I picked started to turn red

  7. I too have just started growing Poblanos (I have just posted a pic of my lonely 1 pepper growing on my blog). I was a bit confused when i saw the other branches growing from the soil as my other Peppers just have one stem! I am not sure when I should re pot, do you think it will need more room now the other stems are growing? Thanks!

  8. Thanks so much for the great information! My poblanos look ready to pick green but I was hoping to get them to red for, yes, chili powder ingredients. My SO keeps telling me that if I don’t pick them soon I’m going to lose them. I’ll be waving your advice at the dinner table tonight.

    • Hi Anne – You can leave the peppers on the plant a bit longer and they will begin to turn red. With that said, I have begun just picking them when they are green. The reason why is because I have found that I end up losing a few peppers by leaving them out longer. It seems like bugs attack more frequently right before they start turning red, and a few begin to rot in places.

      I have left them on the plant to the when they just start showing signs of turning red on the bottom, then picked them and brought them in the house. I sit them on a counter for a couple days and they will continue reddening without the bugs getting to them.

      This is much the same way as you would do for a tomato that has finished ripening yet.

  9. Q. I have 6 nice Plobano Peppers growing ,2 with peppers and blosoms and 4 with non . Are there male and female peppers???

  10. Q: I am growing a BLACK Poblano. Do you know if they turn black on the vine or should I leave them until they turn from green to black. Thanks

  11. Love the info on Poblano’s. I’m interested in how you dry them to make ancho chili powder. Any info?

  12. This is my first year growing a poblano pepper. So, I had no idea what to expect. I tried only one plant. The first pepper showed but then never seemed to get any bigger. It took several weeks to start getting bigger. The plant seemed to stall. The plant is 5 foot tall now with a couple more peppers on it (golf ball size). Buds finally seem to be forming. Is this normal? All other peppers that i have grown get about 3 foot tall.

    • Hi Dan – Well 5 feet is kinda tall for a poblano plant. Most of the ones I’ve gone have reached about 3 feet tall at the most. While reaching a taller height isn’t necessarily a bad thing it is unusual. I say as long as it is starting to bear fruit let it do it’s thing :)

    • This is one question I can answer. If your plant is getting really large you may end up with smaller and fewer fruits. This also happens with plants that have an overwhelming number of blossoms. The result is late-producing fruit that are small and not ripe at the end of the growing season. Your plants are spending too much energy on green leaves or new blossoms and not enough on existing fruit. I usually shear branches to inhibit growth of the greens. I also eliminate late blossoms so the plant spends more energy on the fruits already present. These two methods generally help my tomatoes as well. I know it is a little late in the year for this response but it may be helpful next year. Take care.

  13. Thanks for publishing your input and educating us on our peppers. Based on what I read, mine are ready to pick. You have mentioned pickling. Do you have a recipe? Can they be done by water bath canning? Thanks for your help!!

  14. Simply Sharon says:

    I’m loving these poblanos. This is the first year I’ve grown them. I didn’t even know what they were until recently I saw a picture of t hem. In my last salsa recipe I used half poblanos and half jalapenos. Very flavorful.

    I also didn’t know they were supposed to turn red. THey were good green, but I have more on the plant and am waiting for them to turn red for my next batch of salsa. I enjoyed reading all the posts about these.

    How long does it take them to turn red after they have gotten to the bigger size?

  15. Jason Dykstra says:

    Hi, this is my first year growing Poblanos. I have 2 of them along with 2 Tabasco, 2 Jalapeno & 2 Hot Banana pepper plants. I have grown the other 3 types before. All of my plants are healthy but the Poblanos are ENORMOUS. I measured one at 8 and a half feet and the other at 9 and a half! I just had to go out to my garden and stick bamboo shoots in the ground to tie the branches to them because the peppers were weighing them down to the ground. The other plants are pretty normal size except the Banana peppers which are pretty tall at about 5 feet. I saw below you said that 5 feet was tall. I wanted to share this with you and also ask if this could be a bad thing… will the plants produce less peppers? Should I have topped them? Thanks in advance.

    • I live in Southern Oregon. Grew a Tabasco once. The bush never got over 16-18″ high, but was darn prolific. We pickled a quart of peppers off that thing, enough to last us for 4 years.

      Poblanos tend to be kind of leggy, I rack them like tomatoes so they get full sunlight and support.

  16. Having grown poblanos rather far north, here in Norway (have a very sunny balcony and in the summer almost 12 hrs of sun on them), and having harvested 6 beauties, I appreciate all the comments and realize now perhaps why the plants produced only a modest number of peppers. But as winter is around the corner and after searching several websites I still don’t know: do these plants normally live and produce fruit over several years (take the best of the plants indoors) or are they one-year affairs (need to plant new seeds next Spring)? Thanks in advance for any tips. Polar poblano Bob

  17. I live a bit farther away then most and am growing jalapenos, habaneros, poblanos, and serranos on my kitchen porch-the only ones in all of Jerusalem. It is hard for me to get the seeds, some companies will not send abroad, some packages have been intercepted by our local customs or agriculture people so I save and dry seeds from my plants. Due to their close company on my porch they often cross-pollinate and that second time around I can get some strange fruit indeed. Last year I had striped serranos something like a yellow/red tomato. Often the seeds won’t germinate. Is there any way to nudge the seeds along? I have tried planting seed straight into pots, I have tried the wet paper towel trick but to no avail. Is there another way or perhaps a plant food, something preferably organic, which will help wake them up?

    • Little Bit Farm says:

      You need plenty of HEAT! Peppers need between 75 and 85 degrees to germinate. Also depending on where the pepper comes from they benefit from soaking in hot water for a little while before planting, gently rubbing the seed through two pieces of sand paper to weaken their seed coat, or some pepper people give them a bath in a little salt peter and water. However, my personal experience is that more heat is usually more effective!

  18. First time growing this pepper and I love it. I have made salsa’s with the Poblanos adding my jalapenos and wow fabulous taste. I have used a couple of the red ones which do have a little sweeter taste. I have made Chilies Rellenos casserole with them 4 times and you should try it. I used a mixture of Turkey chorizo and Cotija cheese to stuff them with. Great for breakfast as you use a dozen eggs. My plant is still growing and have harvested 200 or more from 2 plants planted in a large container. Still have about 50 peppers on it and it is about 12 feet high. I have used the peppers after roasting and removed skin in eggs and other dishes such as Spaghetti sauces, soups and chili. I have roasted, skinned and frozen for later use. Need to remove seeds if you dont want them to be to hot.

  19. Great site.. Thank you…..
    Question for you- approx. how long between blossom and harvest for poblanos? I have 6 plants of which several have tiny peppers on them and yet, they appear to be frozen in time….. Perhaps I am impatient or maybe my pepper plants are napping….. What are your thoughts?
    Any thoughts would be appreciated.
    Thanks again.

  20. i bought a seedling from the local nursery a few months ago. it was only 6 inches tall. i have it under a grow light inside since it doesnt get very warm here in Northern New York. it has reached a surprising 3 feet tall and has several buds. a few have blossomed, but the flowers dried up and fell off. what can i do to encourage it to produce fruit?

  21. Poblanos are totally hot! Well, not in Scoville Units, but in actual flavor. Dried (Ancho) has a fruity flavor with a molasses tang. Something learned from a friend who grew up with them. Dry them, split them open and throw away the core with the seeds. You use these for their flavor, not their heat and Mexican varieties tend to be quite mild.

    Poblano based chili powder (dried peppers)
    4 Anchos (seeds removed)
    10 long red Peperoncini (sweet like Paprika)
    1 Chipotle (heat and smokey flavor from this)
    1/4 teaspoon Smoked sea salt (vary to your taste, a hint is all you need)

    Blend it all up and put in an air-tight container. Sprinkle on to taste, add to chili, works as a beef rub for steaks, etc.

  22. Thanks! The stake that came in my poblano plant says the fruit grows two to three inches big, but I think they may get bigger, so I really needed advice on when to pick them. This was very helpful!

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