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Why Is My Green Pepper Turning Orange

Nothing is as exciting as when the first peppers of the season begin to grow on your pepper plant. Delicious bell peppers make a great snack or addition to different meals throughout many cuisines. It is versatile and a great pantry staple. They are also straightforward to grow, producing many peppers throughout their long growing season. 

After a few weeks of excitement over your growing green bell pepper, you notice they begin turning color and wonder,” why is my green pepper turning orange?” 

While every pepper begins green, most will turn red, yellow, or orange in maturity. As the color changes, so do the flavor. Bell peppers that are left to ripen to orange, yellow, or red on the vine will be much sweeter and full of flavor than if picked when green. The same applies to hot peppers as well.

Hot peppers grow green on the vine before ripening to orange or red. As the pepper matures, the flavor of the hot pepper increases. A red or orange hot pepper will be spicier and more full-flavored than a green hot pepper. Read on to discover more about bell peppers and their changes in color and the growing process.

Can You Eat A Green Pepper That Turns Orange?

Of course, you can. There is absolutely nothing wrong with green peppers that have colorful peppers that you buy in the store; all were green peppers, to begin with. They were left on the vine to ripen and change to different colors. They typically change from green to yellow, orange, and red.

So even if your peppers are orange, they can be left on the vine even longer until they are red. As long as your orange peppers aren’t rotten, wilted, or abnormally soft in texture, they are safe to eat when they are orange. 

Does The Flavor Change As Green Peppers Change Colors?

The flavor gradually changes as green peppers mature to other colors. In the most common pepper varieties, bell peppers typically sit at the top of the list. Bell peppers are less hot and bearable than spicy peppers such as jalapeños.

Green bell peppers are typically less nutrient dense and sometimes considered unripe. They usually have a less sweet and bitter taste than the other colors.

Yellow and orange bell peppers are slightly sweeter than green ones making them less bitter. They also contain more nutrients. Lastly, red bell peppers are the most nutrient-packed, and they are very rich in flavor. Of course, this is because the red bell peppers have been left on the vine the longest. 

Interestingly, green bell peppers are typically the lowest in grocery stores.

The less time they are left on the vine and the quicker they are harvested, the cheaper they are priced. As discussed, green peppers won’t change much after they are picked from the vine; therefore, they won’t be as tasty to many people. A lower price for green bell peppers makes the most sense. 

Below is a table comparing bell pepper colors at different stages in the ripening process.

Pepper ColorTasteHarvest TimeNutrient CountPrice
GreenThe most bitter, with very limited sweetnessQuickest harvest time, typically considered unripeSmallest amount of nutrientsLowest price
YellowSlightly sweet and bitter Harvested after green peppers, slightly ripeFairly low amount of nutrientsfairly low price
OrangeSweeter and less bitterHarvested after yellow peppers, mostly ripeslightly higher amount of nutrientsslightly higher price
RedThe sweetest and least amount of bitternessHarvested last, fully ripehighest amount of nutrientsHighest price

Final Thoughts

Overall, you don’t have to worry if your green peppers start to turn orange. You may have thought before reading this article that there were multiple types of bell peppers, but really, every color of bell pepper is just at a different stage in the ripening process.

The longer a pepper is left on the vine, the warmer and deeper of a color it will get. Depending on taste and nutrient preference, you can choose when you want to harvest your peppers. When walking into a grocery store and deciding what color peppers to buy, you now know the difference in color, taste, and price. You don’t have to be alarmed when your green peppers start to turn orange.

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