Recommendations for Maintaining Postharvest Quality
Maturity & Quality
Chile peppers are a diverse group and come from one of 3 species of the genus Capsicum: C. annuum (most chile peppers), C. frutescens (Tabasco), and C. chinense (Habanero).
Mature-Green Chiles: fruit size, firmness, color
Maturity & Quality Photos
Temperature & Controlled Atmosphere
Chiles should be cooled as soon as possible to reduce water loss. Chile peppers are not as chilling sensitive as bell peppers. Chile peppers stored above 7.5°C (45°F) suffer more water loss, shrivel, color change and decay. Storage at 7.5°C (45°F) is considered the best for maximum shelf-life (3-5 weeks). Chiles can be stored at 5°C (41°F) for at least 2 weeks without visible signs of chilling injury. Storage at 5°C reduces water loss and shrivel, but after 2-3 weeks, chilling injury is mostly detected as discoloration of the seeds. Symptoms of chilling injury include pitting, decay, discoloration of the seed cavity, and excessive softening. Ripe or colored chiles are less chilling sensitive than mature-green chiles.
>95%; the firmness of chile peppers is directly related to water loss during storage.
To calculate heat production multiply ml CO2/kg•hr by 440 to get BTU/ton/ day or by 122 to get kcal/metric ton/day.
Some chiles such as jalapeños show a nonclimacteric physiology during color change and produce very low levels of ethylene: 0.1-0.2 µl/kg•hr at 20-25°C (68-77°F). Other chiles such as Habaneros show increases in ethylene production during ripening and may produce over 1 µl/kg•hr at 20-25°C (68-77°F).
Responses to ethylene depend on the particular variety of chile. Chile poblanos for example may respond to ethylene treatment, while Jalapeño peppers do not. As with bell peppers, holding partially colored chile peppers at warmer temperatures of 20-25°C (68-77°F) with high humidity (>95%) is effective to complete color development. Adding ethylene may further enhance ripening but response is variety dependent.
At recommended storage temperature (7-8°C), controlled and modified atmospheres of 3-5% O2 in combination with 0-5% CO2 are considered to provide only slight benefit to chile peppers. Low O2 atmospheres may retard color development. High CO2 atmospheres (>5%) can damage mature-green chiles (pitting, discoloration, softening), while colored (fully ripe) chiles are more tolerant of CO2.
Temperature & Controlled Atmosphere Photos
Use of Materials
The UC Postharvest Technology Center grants users permission to download textual pages (including PDF files) from this World Wide Web site for personal use or to reproduce them for educational purposes, but credit lines and copyright notices within the pages must not be removed or modified.
Except for these specified uses, no part of the textual materials available on the UC Postharvest Technology Center Web site may be copied, downloaded, stored in a retrieval system, further transmitted or otherwise reproduced, stored, disseminated, transferred or used, in any form or by any means, except as permitted herein or with the University of California's prior written agreement. Request permission from UC Postharvest Technology Center. Distribution for commercial purposes is prohibited.
Links to any of these UC Postharvest Technology Center pages are permitted, but no endorsement of the linking site or products mentioned in the linking page is intended or implied by such a link.
How to Cite
Author(s) names. Initial publication or update date (located at the top). Title. Link to the specific Produce Fact Sheet webpage (Accessed date)
Example: Cantwell, M. and T. Suslow. 2002. Lettuce, Crisphead: Recommendations for Maintaining Postharvest Quality.