This fact sheet describes and depicts the stages of maturity for yellow chili, as well as information on quality, common defects, and harvesting. This document was created as part of the Horticulture Innovation Lab project focused on reducing postharvest loss in Rwanda.
Yellow chilies progress through six stages of maturity. Initially the chili is completely green. Harvesting begins in the third stage, when a tannish-yellow color shows on over 10% but not more than 30% of the chili surface. Chilies for drying should be harvested in the sixth and final stage, when more than 90% of the chili surface is yellow.
In high quality chilies the yellow color is evenly distributed and there are minimum defects. Chilies that are damaged or that have an unattractive appearance and many cracks should be rejected.
Common quality defects include decay, insect damage, cracks, and sunburn. Decay is caused by microorganisms such as bacteria, yeasts and fungi that feed on the fruit and break it down. Insect damage may lead to the introduction of microorganisms. Cracks are a sign of insufficient mineral nutrients in the peel. Sunburn is a loss of pigmentation on the sun exposed side of the fruit.
Chilies should be harvested by hand or using scissors. During harvesting keep them in smooth and perforated containers. It is advisable to wear gloves while harvesting chilies.