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Harvesting, grading and marketing require at least as much attention to detail as producing the crop in the first place. In order to capitalise on all the care and attention that has gone into producing the crop it is important to follow some simple guidelines.


The time from seed sowing or planting will depend on the variety and to some extent its growing conditions. A general rule of thumb for the varieties mentioned here is that harvesting starts approximately twelve weeks from planting out.

Fruit must be harvested at the correct maturity stage. This stage is when they are fully developed but still green and firm. If picked when immature the outside waxy coating will not have formed and the fruit will soon start to lose moisture and shrivel. The immature fruit are a lighter shade of green which is a tell-tale sign of immaturity in the markets. This will lose potential income resulting from lower market prices.

Time of harvesting

The ideal time of day to harvest is when it is cooler. Avoid harvesting under wet conditions, wet fruit are more prone to post harvest infections, especially after packing; they are also liable to become infected with Bacterial soft rot. If fruit are wet it is preferable to spread them out to dry in an airy place, but not in direct sunlight.

The ideal time to harvest is on the same day as shipping them to market, otherwise it should be harvested the day before.

How to harvest

If the fruit on the plant are closely examined a distinct line between the curved pedicel and the stem can be observed. Afruit is detached by holding the pedicel between two fingers and carefully snapping it away from the curve. This method ensures a clean break and also the part of the pedicel remaining on the detached fruit forms a natural seal which reduces the chance of post harvest diseases, entering the fruit.

Proper harvest practices

Weight of fruits


There are two main hot pepper grades: Grade A(grade 1) and Grade B (grade 2). Grade Aincludes those of the highest quality while Grade B includes those of reasonable quality. Grade Awill tolerate some degree of bruising, about 5%, Grade B has a tolerance of 8%. Reject quality includes fruit which are any of the following: undersized, bruised, split, broken, decayed, insect infested, immature or overripe. Fruit with fungal moulds or rot are unacceptable.

Grade A Bahamium Goat pepper (Figure 39) and Finger pepper (Figure 40) will fetch the highest market prices. Ideal fruit of the Bahamian Goat pepper have the following characters:

Sorting and grading fruits

FIGURE 38. Satisfactory packaging for hot pepper



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