Why Are My Habaneros Not Turning Orange?

The word “Habanero” is derived from the words “Havana,” or Habana, Cuba. The name is more likely derived from the fact that Havana was one of the first regions to cultivate the crop and grow it at scale. This is, however, not the case in the current period. Habaneros are mostly grown in the tropical regions of the Americas. Scientific name for habanero peppers is Capsicum chinense. The habaneros are known to be some of the hottest chili pepper varieties.

The pepper is mainly cultivated on the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. The peppers are also cultivated extensively in North America. Like all of the chinense varieties of pepper, the habanero has a sweet, floral aroma. Its height can range from about 1-4 feet, depending on the environmental conditions that it is cultivated. A typical habanero crop can produce upwards of 40 peppers on a single plant in one season. The habanero pepper’s heat is characteristically intense. 

Orange habaneros
Orange habaneros

How to Know When Habaneros are Ripe

Habaneros give a number of signals that they are ready to be harvested. Habanero is ripe and ready for harvest if:

  • The peppers have turned orange or red.
  • Peppers have white marks.
  • More than several days have passed since planting outdoors.

If your Habaneros are still green, it means that they are not ready to be picked. It is important to be patient as habaneros take a long time to mature. Since habanero peppers are very potent, it is common to preserve them for use at a later date and for a longer duration. What to do under these circumstances is value addition in the habaneros.

Value addition can be a good way of preserving the habaneros. There are various ways of preserving the habanero chili peppers:

Make Spicy Salsa

A great way to use habaneros in salsa is to smoke them first or roast them to help reduce the intensity of heat. This can also add a great rich flavor to your peppers before using them in a tasty salsa.

Make Habanero Hot Sauce

This can be another great way of preserving the habaneros. Habaneros work well when mixed with other pepper varieties. It is ideal for food varieties like pizza, tacos, and others. It gives them a blend of heat and flavor.  

Make Habanero Powder

Drying and grinding habaneros can keep your peppers for one year or longer. Besides, dried pepper flakes or powder are great to use in spicing up soups.  

Give Them to Friends and Family

You could alternatively gift your friends and family. Nothing gives one joy than gifting your close family members and friends something from your own farm made out of your own effort!

Why are my habaneros staying green?

The common orange habanero is just one of the wide varieties available. The habanero pepper is a hot variety of chili. Unripe habaneros peppers are green and change color as they mature and ripen. Common color variants are mostly orange and red, but the fruit may also be green, white, yellow, brown, peach, purple, or somewhat black. A ripe habanero is 2–6 centimetres long.

Habaneros stay green due to a number of factors. It could be that they are not ripe, or they are just the green type. Not all habaneros turn orange or red when they are ripe. It depends on the variety. 

Red habaneros
Red habaneros

How do you get green habaneros to turn orange?

If you suspect that the habaneros are not ripe, you could patch them up on a window sill for a couple of days to make them ripen. Alternatively, you could put them in a brown envelope with other fruit like a ripe tomato and an apple to ripen. The ripe tomato and the apple will ensure that your habanero pepper ripens within a week or two.  

A third option would be to just hang the habanero upside down indoors while still attached to the branch. If you choose to use the last option, ensure that you remove all the unnecessary branches from the uprooted bunch. It should be noted that the peppers will ripen faster at room temperature than at cold temperatures. Once they ripen, remove the chili from the window sill, and put them in a fridge for a few days but once they soften, remove them. 

Ensure you keep your habaneros at a warm temperature of between 70 to 80° Fahrenheit to ensure easy ripening. Fully mature habanero pods that are ready for harvesting would be orange, red, mustard, creamy white, purple, or blackish. When mature, the fruits stop growing. Another way to ripen the peppers is to hang them indoors upside down while they are still on their branches until they turn orange and then red. Remember to remove the branches. It should take at least a week or two for them to ripen.

Black habaneros
Black habaneros

How long does it take for habanero peppers to turn orange?

Habaneros take up to 75 days to turn orange and between 100 to 120 days to fully ripen from the time of transplanting until harvesting. Like any other pepper variety, habaneros change their color when they are fully ripe. 

Will habaneros turn orange after picking?

Green habaneros would turn orange after they are displayed, at room temperature, on a window sill, hung upside down with their branches, or put in a brown paper bag with other ripe fruit like a tomato and an apple. It is important to ensure that you have picked the peppers after 90 days or more. It is crucial to verify whether your habaneros are the green variety so that you do not trouble yourself working hard to transform them.

The habaneros have many medicinal values. They are rich in various vitamins and minerals and contain antioxidants. Habaneros may reduce the risk of cancer, promote weight loss, reduce cholesterol levels, fight diabetes, prevent cardiovascular disease, and minimize blood pressure. However, a higher intake of habaneros may cause stomach aches, digestive problems, and increased body temperature and blood pressure. 

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