When is it time to pick?

Harvest your veggies at the right time

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All summer you water and tend your vegetables, and finally they're ready to harvest. But when, exactly? Here's how to tell.

Eggplants. Harvest fruits when they're immature and shiny. Dull-skinned mature eggplant has hard seeds and flesh that separates into channels; its flavor isn't as good.

Peppers. You can pick any pepper when the pod is firm and fully developed. But for best flavor, pick hot peppers ― jalapeños, serranos ― after the pods show color. (Jalapeños turn red; serranos can go red, orange, brown, or yellow.) Sweet peppers are most flavorful when mature; that's usually signaled, but not always, by color change. Bell peppers can mature green as well as red, orange, yellow, or maroon; pimientos ripen red; wax types go from yellow to orange or red.

Tomatoes. Pick after fruit colors fully. In fall, when night temperatures drop below 55°, pick any tomatoes with some color and ripen them indoors on a windowsill (dark green fruit never ripens).

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