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5 Reasons Your Jalapenos Are Turning Red

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Jalapeno peppers are indeed a spicy delicacy that lovers of hot foods should add to their meals. These fresh green peppers do not just add spice to your meal, they also add extra flavor.

Jalapeno peppers can be eaten green and also red. What happens when jalapeno peppers turn red? Are they still safe to eat? In this article, we will learn some reasons why your jalapenos are turning red.

What Does It Mean When a Jalapeno Turns Red?

Here are some reasons why green jalapenos turn red:

1. The Pepper Has Ripened

The peppers are green when they are immature. When they turn red, they are ripe, or mature.

The reason you see green jalapeno peppers in stores is that if the farmers wait until the peppers ripen before they collect them, they may spoil before you (the customer) buy them.

Green peppers are easier to store and have a longer shelf life.

Does it mean that you have been eating the wrong peppers? No, it does not. You can eat jalapeno peppers when they are green or red, it is all up to you.

However, the red ones have slightly different spiciness and taste.

2. Signs of Stress on the Plant

red jalapeno on a jalapeno plant

Even though the redness of the peppers signifies that they have ripened, it could also mean that the plants are stressed, especially if the peppers turn red too early before they are fully matured.

If the temperature and humidity fluctuate when the plant is already fruiting, it will speed up the ripening of its peppers.

This does not affect the quality of the peppers. However, you want to review your planting techniques to make sure that you are not truly stressing your plants. Check the temperature, soil pH, humidity, nutrients, and water.

3. Turning to Wine Red Signifies the Peppers Are Rotting

You need to pay attention to the color of your jalapenos. The ripened ones are bright red just like other types of peppers.

However, if the redness of your jalapenos is a bit dark or looks similar to the color of wine, it means that the peppers have started to decompose (from the inside).

If you leave the jalapenos for a few days, you’d see that the dark-red colors will become darker and then the peppers will start to attract insects and fungi. This signifies that you did not store them well, so you want to review your storage technique.

4. Could Be a Sign of Deformity

Plants of habanero scotch bonnet chili pepper with fruit

Sometimes, peppers (in plants) do not undergo every phase of development before they become red. In this case, you want to check if it is only occurring in a specific plant or plants you got from a specific pack of seeds.

If you feel that it is a sign of deformity (genetic deformity) of the plant, you may want to remove those plants and grow new ones.

However, it is up to you whether you should eat the jalapenos or not. Consider their size, color, and taste. If they look and taste good, they are good to eat.

5. All Jalapenos Will Eventually Turn Red

It does not matter if they are turning red because of natural causes or not, what you must know is that jalapenos will eventually turn red.

You should be more concerned about the ones that do not turn red than the ones that turn red. The peppers may not turn red, especially if pests and decomposing microbes attack them before they can turn red.

Now you know some reasons why they turn red. Does the redness of the peppers affect them in any way? Can you eat them? Continue reading to find out.

red and green jalapeno

Are Red Jalapenos Hotter Than Green Ones?

Since red jalapeno peppers are the more developed forms of green ones, the red ones are hotter as they have spicier flavors.

You can experiment with this yourself by cooking different meals with equal numbers of red and green peppers (each) in the meals. You’ll notice that the meal with red peppers is usually hotter.

You should also note that red peppers are not too hot such that they become unmanageable. The difference in the hotness of the meal is not too much, especially if you mixed the peppers while cooking.

Are Jalapenos That Turn Red Safe to Eat?

Of course, red jalapeno peppers are safe to eat. In fact, you may enjoy eating them more than the green ones because of their added spicy and sweet flavors. You are free to make use of both the green and red peppers.

However, note that the red peppers are older, so they are more susceptible to pest and fungi attacks.

The peppers turning red means that there is enough time for microbes or pests to find them (if they are exposed). To be sure that your peppers are safe to eat, slice them and examine the inside.

So long as the seeds look bright and fresh, the pepper is safe to eat. However, if the seeds are dark brown, you should throw the jalapeno in the trash.

What if you prefer green peppers and you want them to stay green for a longer time? What can you do? Continue reading.

Fresh Jalapeño In Aluminum Bowl

How to Keep Your Jalapenos Green for Longer

Here are some great ways to keep your peppers green:

1. Pick Them Early (When Green)

If you want green peppers, you need to pick them when they are still green like farmers and shop owners do. When the plants produce fruits, wait up to seven to ten days.

As soon as you can find one pepper in a plant turning red, start collecting all the peppers. The first pepper that turned red is an indication that the others will soon turn red, and they all are ready to be collected.

2. Freeze Them Immediately

Once you collect green peppers from the shop or garden, take them to the freezer immediately. If they are still in their package from the store, do not remove them. If you collect them from the garden, rinse them before you freeze them. The peppers will retain their color for a long time and will not decompose quickly.

They might turn red in a refrigerator, especially in busy homes. To be sure that they stay red, please make use of a freezer in which the temperature goes around or below 0°F.

3. Look for Peppers with Fewer Stretch Marks

bright red jalapeño pepper with white lines

If you examine your jalapenos well, you will see that some of them have stretch marks. The stretch marks are good as they indicate that the pepper will be hotter than others without stretch marks.

While both green and red peppers have stretch marks, the ones with fewer stretch marks develop or mature (in terms of redness) slightly more slowly than the one with more stretch marks.

If you’d love to keep your peppers green for a long time, it is best that you freeze the ones that are more likely to stay green for a longer time. It is best that you go for the ones without stretch marks.

4. Plant The Jalapeno Crops a Bit Late

When it is planting season, wait for three to four weeks before you sow the seeds for some of your plants.

This will help you to get greener peppers for a long time because when the first set of peppers turns red, you will have some green ones still developing. By doing so, you have multiple harvests of green peppers.

5. Consume Them Quickly

Fresh sliced Jalapenos for for canning.

If you love using green peppers while cooking, you will want to consume them when they are still green. Preserving them may take a lot of time and energy, so why not consume them at once?

If you buy your jalapenos from the store, only buy what you need at the time so that you can always have green ones.

If you prefer red peppers, consider doing the opposite of the tips mentioned above.


Fresh green jalapeno peppers do turn red, and it is completely normal and natural. The red peppers are sweeter and spicier, so you can wait until the green ones turn red before you eat them. However, if you prefer green peppers, there are tips in this article to keep your peppers green.


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