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Rob
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Bell Pepper Color? From Age or Different Cultivars?

In the real world, no one has been able to answer this question yet:

Concerning green, yellow, and red bell peppers; are they actually a different cultivar, or is it just the age of the pepper that changes the color?
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cynthia_h
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From Sunset's Western Garden Book, p. 512, "pepper":

"Sweet peppers are always mild in flavor, even when they ripen and change color. This group includes the big stuffing and salad peppers commonly known as bell peppers. The best-known bells are 'California Wonder' and 'Yolo Wonder'; both are green when immature, ripening to red. You can also buy varieties that ripen to yellow, orange, purple, or even brown."

So both of your statements are true: red bells were green earlier in their lives, and the orange, yellow, etc. ones are different cultivars (= "varieties").

Cynthia H.
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hendi_alex
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Green and red bell peppers are generally the same thing. A green pepper ripens to red. I believe that a named red variety has simply been selected for superior color and perhaps sweetness. Yellow and orange bell peppers reach those colors when fully ripe and will never turn red. There are also varieties that turn purple or black when ripe. This is my opinion after having grown red, green, yellow, orange, and black bell peppers.
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Alex

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Rob
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I appreciate the quick responses guys.

Ok, makes sense to me.

I was amazed that many of the knowledgeable people in the field (botanists, produce people at the grocery store, professional gardeners, etc) could not answer my question definitively.
What happens in the event horizon, stays in the event horizon.

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rainbowgardener
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bell peppers

It doesn't surprise me that people at the grocery store couldn't answer that question. Lots of times at the checkout with apricots or avocados or some such not terribly obscure produce, they have to ask me what it is to ring it up. Botanists and gardeners should have known. I've grown a bunch of different colors of peppers. It is as alex said, green peppers are "green," that is unripe and all the bell peppers start out green. You can't necessarily tell by looking at it what color it will ripen in to, but different colors are different varieties. It will either ripen yellow, orange, red, purple, brown, but only one.

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hendi_alex
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Yes, for sure green bell peppers are simply not ripe. When I said "green" above, I was referring to a plant or seed pack that is marketed as a 'green' pepper or is called a 'green' pepper. For years I thought that it was peculiar that some are marketed as green and others marketed as red, when in fact all of those most always turn red. The only explanation I can come up with is as stated above. If it is marketed as a 'red' variety, then it has been selected for superior color and perhaps sweetness. Here is one small bit of evidence for the above conclusion. I've noticed in Sam's wholesale club that they usually carry a red six pack of bell peppers for $3.88 or thereabouts. They also carry an orange, yellow, and red multipack for around $6-$7. The reds in the red six pack are dull red without a particularly great flavor. I'm assuming those are common green bells that were allowed to ripen. The color of the reds in the variety pack is a much truer, intense red color, and the fruit is likely to be much sweeter than that of the more common bell peppers. I guess part of the cost difference could lie in the fact that many of the multipacks are greenhouse grown. But in the grocery store ALL of the very nice yellow, orange, or true red peppers are ALWAYS much more expensive than the others found elsewhere.
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ShannonC
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Do red, yellow, and orange bell pepper turn color while still on the vine or do you pick them green and let them ripen? I have 3 red, 3 yellow, and 3 orange and most all of them have had very large bell peppers on them for 7-10 days now and they are still green. I have staked my plants so they don't fall over with peppers. They do not seem to be blooming as well as they were (I'm sure because they are loaded with peppers!) When do you harvest these? Pick when green or leave alone? Thanks so much

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rainbowgardener
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bell pepper colors

Bell peppers do not ripen once picked. If you want them red (or whatever color that variety will ripen to) you have to leave them on the plant to ripen. Which is a slow process, peppers are slow maturing. And it is true that if you are leaving peppers to ripen, it will slow down production of any new ones. So I usually pick them green when they get to a decent size, until near the end of the season and then let a few go. If it is hot and sunny they ripen faster than the spring ones anyway.

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Gary350
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I have found if I buy red and yellow bell peppers at the grocery store and save the seeds the seeds all grow green peppers that later turn red if the seeds came from a red pepper and yellow if the seeds came from a yellow pepper. It is a lot cheaper to save seeds than to buy seeds.

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BrianSkilton
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Gary350 wrote:I have found if I buy red and yellow bell peppers at the grocery store and save the seeds the seeds all grow green peppers that later turn red if the seeds came from a red pepper and yellow if the seeds came from a yellow pepper. It is a lot cheaper to save seeds than to buy seeds.
I have saved seeds of grocery store peppers as well, and all are growing wonderful, with small green peppers, we will see what happends.
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Re: Bell Pepper Color? From Age or Different Cultivars?

I know this is a really old forum, but I must comment. This is the only place on the web where the information addressing the question makes sense. I feel like i have finally found the answer right here. There was one thing that someone said though, that I didn't agree with. Bell peppers will ripen off the vine. I do it all the time, sometimes unintentionally. If I don't refrigerate my green bell pepper, it will turn red. It might not stay as firm as a vine ripened one, but it definitely ripens. Same goes for jalapenos, serranos and many other species of capsicum. I believe that the orange or yellow ones don't turn red, but the red ones turn red whether on the vine or not, and the ones marketed as red, are named so because of superior color and sweetness. I have never tried to ripen a yellow or orange pepper off the vine, from the green stage, but I imagine they will ripen off the vine too, if the red ones do.

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Re: Bell Pepper Color? From Age or Different Cultivars?

While peppers can be eaten at any stage, the color change as they ripen corresponds to the ripening of the seeds as well. So, riper peppers are usually sweeter, but have a shorter shelf life, and that is why they are more expensive.
Hot peppers get hotter as they turn to red but also sweeter.
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