Jalapeno peppers are some of the most popular and widely consumed peppers in the world today. In addition to their unique spiciness and front-of-the-mouth heat effect, jalapeno peppers offer numerous health benefits that are attributable to their high levels of vitamin C and capsaicin. There are several types of jalapenos that are grouped under the capsicum annum species. These peppers have a bright grassy flavor and are versatile enough to be added to most cuisines. They are also perfect for an all-purpose hot sauce.
Jalapeno farmers produce these peppers in huge numbers in Mexico and other regions with similar climates. They are used in various cuisines around the globe. It’s no wonder many people are curious about what makes the jalapeno pepper so special.
You are at the right place if you would like to learn more about jalapenos and how to use them in your cooking. This guide will discuss why jalapeno peppers are so popular, what type of health benefits they offer, and how to grow your own.
Jalapeno Peppers – Historic Origins
The use of jalapeno peppers in diced, crushed, and smoked forms date back thousands of years in Central and South America. The ancient people of the region would smoke different types of jalapenos for long-term storage while the fresher ones were consumed in diced and whole form. The Chipotle pepper was then created when chili peppers were smoked like the red smoked jalapeno.
The jalapeno peppers originated in Xalapa or Jalapa, Mexico, and the word jalapeno can be literally translated to mean “from Jalapa”. An estimated 109 square miles are dedicated to producing this pepper. The United States also produces jalapenos in bulk in both New Mexico and Texas, as they have the ideal climate for the peppers.
If you want to taste the most original peppers, you should look for jalapenos or seeds deemed “heirlooms”. These varieties are not hybridized or crossbred and give the most authentic flavor of the indigenous pepper. You can also just purchase jalapenos from a credible source, such as the Magic Plant Farms.
Characteristics of Jalapeno Pepper
Jalapeno (jalapeño) peppers are also called the chile gordo or the “fat chili pepper”. This is because of its rotund shape. It is much thicker when compared to other spicy chili peppers, such as the serrano pepper.
Jalapenos have a great crunch, making them perfect for spicy guacamole and chunky salsa. However, it is not overwhelmingly spicy. The jalapeno is not as intense as the Carolina Reaper, Ghost Pepper, and other super-hot peppers. It has a consistent flavor and appearance and can add just a bit of a kick to many types of dishes.
Scoville Scale Rating
Jalapenos are traditionally spicy and are commercially available in varying degrees of hotness. They are commonly found in salsa, guacamole, tortilla soup, tacos, enchiladas, and other spicy dishes. It is relatively tame on the Scoville Heat Unit scale so it can be added to pretty much anything without taking over. A jalapeno might rank between 2,500 and 20,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHUs). The pepper has gained popularity because it has the perfect amount of heat for most types of cooking.
However, jalapenos are generally considered too spicy to be eaten raw by most people. Jalapeno heat can go from unnoticeable to very spicy. The heat is above an Aji Panca or a poblano, but lower than a habanero. The inner seeds and membranes surrounding them are the spiciest part of the jalapeno. Most of the capsaicin is concentrated in this membrane. You can simply remove the membrane and seeds if you want to tame their spiciness.
You can also soak diced jalapeno peppers in iced water for 20 minutes to take the heat out of it. Another method is to give a quick blanch to the peppers in boiling water for about 3 minutes. Make sure you immediately dip the jalapenos in iced water to stop the cooking process and reduce the overall spiciness.
Types of Jalapenos
Plant breeders, over the years, have crossed various pepper varieties with jalapenos. These are a few hybrid varieties of jalapeno peppers that exhibit slightly different characteristics than the original.
Lemon Spice Jalapeno
A yellow-colored variety was created at New Mexico State University. It’s a productive plant with vibrant color and has the same heat level as the original. You can use lemon spice jalapeno to give some color to your salad or salsa.
The Nadapeno Pepper
An exotic variety that has the same great taste as the original jalapeno without its heat. It is a sweet, dark green pepper perfect for people that can’t take the heat, but enjoy the flavor.
Orange Spice Jalapeno
Another vibrantly colored hybrid. This orange jalapeno has high productivity and great heat. The pepper is perfect for spicing things up. Plus, the orange spice jalapeno lends a beautiful color to homemade hot sauce or soup.
The Farmer’s Jalapeno is one of the more bizarre varieties. It has numerous white-colored striation marks. Many people call it the potato pepper because of its appearance. Fortunately, the white marks don’t dim its delicious flavor. These peppers are excellent for roasting and stuffing.
Billy Biker Jalapeno
Billy biker or biker billy jalapenos were named after a TV personality with a great affinity for jalapeno peppers, Billy Hufnagle. They are bright red or green in color and have a slightly higher heat than other jalapeno varieties, averaging about 8,000 on the Scoville Scale.
Popular Forms of Jalapeno Peppers
Jalapeno peppers are available in several forms and can be used in all types of spicy food. Here are a few commonly available forms of jalapeno varieties.
Jalapeno Pepper Flakes
Jalapeno flakes resemble the more common red pepper flakes you find at restaurants and grocery stores. These are made from dried jalapeno chilis and have medium heat. It can be difficult to find high-quality jalapeno flakes even though jalapeno peppers are among the most common type of chili pepper used in the United States.
Most fresh jalapenos are of medium heat level with a gentle pungency. To make flakes, jalapeno varieties are picked when still green (or just before ripe). A few are left on the plant to continue to ripen completely and change color to purple. These so-called purple peppers can also be a deep crimson-red color. All of the peppers are then smoked, dried, and turned into flakes. However, not every dried crushed jalapeno can be added to food.
You need high-quality flakes to add to pizza, pasta, soups, stews, and so on. The pepper flakes have an earthy-grassy flavor with medium heat. This is a great addition to any dish!
Jalapeno Pepper Paste, Mash, and Puree
Another interesting way to add jalapeno to your daily diet is through purees, mash, and paste. This form can be used for spicing up almost everything from marinades and vegetable dishes, to sandwich spreads and dips. Jalapeno mash is made by blending boiled jalapeno peppers with salt and/or vinegar.
The puree can be used almost anywhere on roasted meats, burgers, nachos, and main courses. It is as universal as mayonnaise, except a lot hotter. Jalapenos with thick walls or skin are generally used for making purees and mash. You can lend a sweet flavor to soups and stews by adding a small quantity.
You can also make your own custom-made sauce if you want to use a hot jalapeno variety.
Jalapeno powder goes by many names, such as jalapeno pepper powder and ground jalapeno. When making a powder, the jalapenos are not picked when in the green stage. They are picked when completely ripe. In fact, in most cases, the jalapeno pepper plants used for making flakes are used for powder too.
You can add jalapeno powder to chicken, chili, seafood, homemade seasoning blends, salsa, taco meat, or whatever your heart desires. Many people prefer it sprinkled over their popcorn, eggs, chicken, and pork chops in place of cayenne pepper.
If you are substituting jalapeno pepper powder for fresh jalapeno or bell peppers, you should use about a teaspoon in place of 1 fresh pepper. If a recipe requires mammoth jalapenos, you may need 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground jalapeno.
Scrumptious Recipes with Jalapenos
Jalapeno peppers have an earthy and green vegetable taste with a perky flavor like serrano peppers. When you roast or smoke them, jalapenos develop a different flavor making the pepper seeds lose their heat and get a hint of sweetness.
Out of all mild-taste chilies, jalapenos have the most consistent flavor. This makes them a hit for recipes that require medium-hot peppers. In terms of texture, jalapenos are not very different from other chilies – they have a smooth outer skin and are crisp.
These are a few food items that pair the best with jalapenos:
- Fruit and Vegetables: Corn, cucumber, endive, green beans, kale, kiwi fruit, lime, celeriac, celery, watermelon, zucchini, mango, potato, pumpkin, radish, rhubarb, scallions, spaghetti squash, onion, pineapple, avocado, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, pomegranate, spinach, sweet potato, tomato, and watercress.
- Herbs, Nuts, and Spices: Allspice, chestnut, chives, coriander, cumin, dill, parsley, Brazil nuts, cardamom, chervil, peanuts, pine nuts, pistachios, and sumac.
- Protein and Other: Chorizo, cotija cheese, cream cheese, bacon, beans, beef, chicken, eggs, fish, goat cheese, scallops, seaweed, shrimp, pasta, pork, rice, sour cream, tempeh, tofu, turkey, and wasabi.
Jalapeno peppers are often consumed as stuffed jalapeno poppers. They are fantastic as part of salsas of all kinds and can also be added to a marinade while roasting vegetables.
They are ideal for adding generously to salads and eating raw. You can slice them into matchsticks or thin rings and toss them with salad greens and might consider sprinkling cheese on top to neutralize the heat.
Health Benefits of Jalapeno Peppers
Jalapenos are rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, and capsaicin. Below are a few health benefits of eating jalapeno peppers.
Helps in Weight Loss
You should consume capsaicin-rich foods on a daily basis if you are trying to lose weight. Membranes present in jalapenos contain high quantities of capsaicin that can help you burn calories. The pepper can boost your metabolism by raising the core body temperature and can also curb your appetite which further helps in reducing weight.
Aids in Pain Relief
Jalapenos are considered a natural pain reliever. The heat released by the pepper temporarily blocks pain receptors allowing your body to relax. With that said, you shouldn’t apply jalapeno peppers directly to the skin.
Supports Heart Health
Diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels are major risk factors for heart disease. Jalapeno peppers contain high flavonoids, capsaicin, vitamin A, and vitamin C which keeps the heart healthy by reducing risk factors.
Helps Fight Infections
The growth of some types of infections and bacteria may be slowed down by jalapenos. This includes tooth decay and a strep throat infection. Jalapeno peppers contain antibacterial and antimicrobial properties and capsaicin, which is a potent anti-inflammatory helping to prevent harmful bacterial growth.
Stimulates the Immune System
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that stimulates the immune system. It helps enhance the body’s ability to fight off disease. Jalapeno has certain antioxidant properties which can boost your body’s natural defenses, strengthen immunity, and encourage the production of white blood cells to help your body fight major illnesses.
Enhances Eye Health
Vitamin A plays a vital role in eye health. Jalapenos can support better eyesight and slower degradation of the cornea. In fact, a deficiency in vitamin A can result in night blindness as per the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Get High-Quality Jalapeno Products Today from Magic Plant Farms
Magic Plant Farms is one of America’s favorite sources for chili peppers and their products. Our exclusive range of jalapeno products includes pepper flakes, puree/mash/paste buckets, and powder. Whether you want jalapeno wholesale/bulk or want it for personal consumption, we have what you need! Only the highest-quality jalapeno peppers are chosen for our products and are nurtured lovingly from seed to product. You can purchase your favorite jalapeno product right away by visiting our online store.