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12/9/19 9:30 P

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CBRINKLEY401's Photo CBRINKLEY401 SparkPoints: (312,675)
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12/9/19 4:18 P

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Bell peppers can be picked at any size or stage. Most are green when they are growing (except for a couple of the colored ones like purple), and then change colors when fully ripe (to red, orange, yellow, etc). When they are immature, they have higher amounts of the enzymes that make you burp. If you wait until they are ripe (like red), they have less of that enzyme, can be sweeter, and have lots more vitamin C.
Eggplants can also be picked when smaller (more tender, smaller or non-existent seeds). They usually start turning duller or have a brownish hue to them when they are getting overripe (large seeds which you then want to remove as they are hard).
The size of zucchini depends on what you want to use them for. If you want stir fry or mixed with yellow squash, you pick them when they are a few days old - often no larger than a full size cucumber, and sometimes more slender. If you want to use them for breads, you can let them get much larger than that (after a week or so). Once they start turning yellow, they are actually overripe, though if you process them right away, you may still be able to use them in breads or other baking. The skin gets a lot tougher and harder to peel at that stage.

Different varieties reach different sizes when they are mature, so be sure to read any directions on seed packets or in catalogs which should help you know what size they should be picked at. Of course, if it is hot and dry and the fruits aren't growing, they may have actually gotten as large as they are going to get and will just get tough if you leave them on the plants.

-Cathy B
Illinois, Central Standard Time Zone

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