Picked at the Peak of Ripeness

When are my vegetables ripe and ready to be picked?

Picked at the Peak of Ripeness.

What does that really mean?

Well, It depends on the vegetable that you are havesting. If picked too early, you could end up with less than perfect taste and miss out on the best flavor and nutritional value.

If picked too late, you may end up with mushy, seedy, off-tasting and squishy vegetables.

For example:

Cucumbers: Pick when they are around 7-8 inches long and dark green all around. Check on your ripeing cucumbers daily as they grow quickly. It is ok, if you see a small amount of yellowing on the side that touched the ground. Don't let them grow extra large as they will become yellow, seedy and bitter. 

Peppers: Peppers have the best flavor when allows to reach their full color. Which can be red, yellow or orange. I have also seeen full colored Purple peppers at some area farmer's market. It is ok, to harvest them when they are green and about the size of your hand. Remove them by cutting from the vine as not to damage any surrounding growing fruit.

Tomatoes; Look for the colors of your tomatoes to be consistant through out the fruit in red, yellow, green (some varieties grow only green) Black, (like Black Krim, which is more a purple-black) or orange depending on the type you have planted, and a delicate aroma is detected. Don't be concerned if the tops near the stem are slightly green. Garden tomatoes are not perfect like store purchased, and have a much better taste and smell. If your tomatoes are left on the vine too long, they can become mushy and start to rot on the plant.

Watermelon:To check to see if watermelon is at it's peak of ripeness; there are three things you can look for. 1) the tendrils closest to the vine near the stem has browned up or died. 2) the spot where the fruit is touching the ground has yellowed or became creamy looking. 3) the classic sound a ripe melon makes when thumped is PUNK, not pink or pank. The sound takes some getting use to. But after you have heard it correctly for the first time; you will remember it for the rest of your life. 

Zucchini: Look for young, fully green or yellow fruit, (depending on which variety you have planted), around 7-8 inches long for best flavor and taste. They can grow very fast in one or two days and become behemoths quickly. At this stage, they can get seedy and bitter. Remove from the vine by cutting as not to damage any surrounding fruit.

You can find more tips on plants and gardening on my facebook page at:


Happy Gardening.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Walker July 31, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Pick tomatoes the day before the squirrels steal them. ;-)~~~


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