I’m growing habaneros for the first time, with 2 plants that are producing very nicely. I want to pickle the habaneros, so I have a couple of questions for you:
1. Both plants have some peppers that have already ripened while others are just starting to ripen or are still green. Is it okay to leave the already-ripe peppers on the plant until all of them have finished ripening, or should I be harvesting them as they turn ripe?
2. If I should be harvesting the peppers as they turn ripe, what is the best way to store them until I have a full batch for pickling? Thanks much!
You have somewhat of a dilemma because you probably want to pickle them all at the same time. You can leave the ripe ones on the plant but if it takes too long for the rest of them to ripen, the older pods will shrivel and dry up, rendering them useless for pickling. Also, leaving them on the plant will mean that the plant will reach its maximum fruit load and will stop producing new fruits. Here’s what I would do: pick the ripe pods and freeze them. This will alter their firmness because of moisture loss, but no matter because pickling will do that too. There is no need for any processing of the pods–just place them in a double zip bag and put them in the freezer.