Learn About Jalapeños

Author: Chef Toby

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What is a Jalapeño?

A Jalapeño is a medium-sized green pepper that grows from a plant. Jalapeños originate from Mexico but are popular in American, African, and Asian cooking. The inside of a jalapeño contains dozens of seeds and ribs. The ribs are white veins, where the majority of the spice comes from. Depending on your desired spice level, you decide to keep or remove the seeds and veins.

Learn About Jalapenos

What do Jalapeños taste like?

Jalapeños have a grassy vegetal flavor, similar to bell pepper. Their spice ranges from 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville units, meaning they can be anywhere from mild to medium-hot. 

How can you eat Jalapeños?

Jalapeños are a very versatile pepper. Jalapeno Poppers, which are jalapenos that have been stuffed with cheese and either baked or deep-fried, are a popular appetizer in many U.S. restaurants. Use diced raw jalapeños to add flavor to fresh salsas like pico de gallo or mango salsa. For an added layer of smokiness, roast jalapenos before incorporating them into salsas and sauces. Jalapeños also pair well with cheese and are great in cheese sauces.

Pickled jalapenos are also very popular and can add a tangy, spicy bite to nachos, burgers, and many other foods. 

Moreover, when handling Jalapeños, it is crucial to wash your hands afterward. Jalapenos contain oils that can irritate the skin and cause discomfort to the eyes.

Where can you buy Jalapeños?

Jalapeños are a widely available and inexpensive pepper. Find them in the fresh produce section near the other chiles.

How do you store Jalapeños?

Store your fresh Jalapeños in a plastic or paper bag inside of the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. They will last about a week and should be tossed out when they become wrinkled, soft, or molded.

Fun Fact about Jalapeños:

This pepper gets its name from the city of Xalapa, which is the capital city of the Mexican state, Veracruz. Evidence suggests the first jalapeños were cultivated in this area.

Did you know?

As jalapeños ripen, they turn red. These red peppers are harvested, smoked, dried, and sold as chipotle chiles. The chilies come either dried and whole or in a dark red, spiced tomato sauce called adobo.

Recipes Using Jalapeños

Pickled Jalapenos

Pickled jalapeños make a great topping for anything, from burgers to nachos, and this quick pickle only takes ten minutes to make! In a small bowl or jar, add sliced jalapeños. In a small saucepan, make a pickling liquid with white vinegar, sugar, salt, water, and garlic. Let the mixture boil, and pour over the jalapenos. Let the jalapenos sit in the mixture for at least eight minutes and serve.

Goat Cheese Stuffed Jalapeños

Cut jalapeños in half and remove the veins and seeds. Stuff the inside with young goat cheese and top with raw chopped bacon. Bake the peppers on a baking sheet until the bacon is cooked through and the peppers are tender. Try this recipe with Anaheim chiles or sweet mini bell peppers for milder spice.

Vegan Jalapeño Popper Mac and Cheese

This mac and cheese recipe has a great flavor that both vegans and non-vegans will love. Blend cashews that have been soaked overnight with water, nutritional yeast, mustard, salt, and pepper. In a large skillet, fry garlic and jalapeños with olive oil until golden brown, and add in cashew cream sauce. Toss in cooked macaroni or another small shaped pasta and stir. Serve topped with crispy breadcrumbs.

Tomatillo and Jalapeño Salsa Verde

Salsa verde is a traditional salsa made with jalapeños, tomatillos, onion, and cilantro, and pairs well with anything from fish tacos to fried eggs. On a large baking sheet, add whole jalapeños, quartered onion, whole garlic cloves, and whole tomatillos. Roast the vegetables in the oven until the skins of the jalapeno and tomatillo are blistered and blackened. Add all of the ingredients to a high-speed blender along with lemon juice and cilantro. Blend until you reach your desired consistency!

Pico De Gallo Salsa

This salsa is a classic accompaniment to many Mexican dishes and can be the primary flavor base to foods like ceviche. On a cutting board, dice up tomato, onion, cilantro, and jalapeño into very small pieces. Place the vegetables and cilantro in a small bowl and combine. Season the salsa with lime juice and salt.


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