Jalapeno Pepper

Definition

The Jalapeño is a popular cylindrical-shaped chili pepper used throughout the world for many different culinary applications. It is a medium-sized and a mildly hot chili found in green and red colors. It is also known as chile gordo in Mexico and believed to have been originated in Spain; however, some people think these chilies have their origins in Mexico. Many varieties of this chili have been produced by altering the growing conditions; however, typical jalapeños have 2,500 to 10,000 Scoville heat units. The jalapeño tastes much like a green bell pepper and looks like a Serrano chili pepper. These peppers with mild hotness are also eaten by chili lovers in the raw form. Removing the seeds and the inner membrane makes moderately hot chilies easy to consume.

People eat jalapeño pepper in raw, smoked, steamed, boiled, and baked forms. Many different types of products containing these types of peppers in some form are available on the market. Pickles, jellies, dips, soups, and stews are only a few to mention. A smoked jalapeño is known as chipotle. On the regular heat scale, this pepper is rated at 4 with habanero being the hottest. These peppers are closest in relation to the paprika; however, they are more widely used and are much tastier.

Varieties

Various jalapeños have been divided into four major categories: mild, medium, hot, and very hot. The senorita jalapeño is the mildest of all rating at only 400 Scoville units. This type of pepper is mostly used in smoked form. One of the moderately hot peppers is a 9-inch long chili with a rating of 3,000 Scoville units. 5 to 6-inches long peppers have also been produced with medium heat. Hot jalapeños are the ones most commonly used in many cuisines throughout the world. These are the typical peppers in this category, known as regular jalapeños or early jalapeños starting at a Scoville rating of 3,500 and going to 5,000 heat units. After this level, the chili is termed as a very hot pepper, usually difficult to consume in raw form. It is recommended to wear rubber gloves when handling these types of chili peppers to avoid burning your skin. Mucho Nacho is a jalapeño pepper variety that can be called an extremely hot chili rated at 8,000 Scoville units.

Cultivation

When planting jalapeño seeds, make sure you place the pots indoors at least for the first few weeks. Also make the room well ventilated to prevent disease. Young pepper plants should not be exposed to direct sunlight for a long duration. Place them outdoors in a shade and take them inside again when the sun goes down. When the plant is near to maturity, shift them to larger pots and start placing them in direct sunlight. At this stage, use a good quality fertilizer to feed the soil and to yield healthy peppers. When the peppers are about 2 to 3 inches in length, it’s time to pick them. Pepper cages can be used optionally to protect the fruits and provide support.

Jalapeño Dip

Fried jalapeño pepper is used to make a delicious dip using cream cheese, mayonnaise, chopped green jalapeños, bread crumbs, and butter. People love this dish and eat it with crackers or a baguette. Some chefs like to try variations on this basic recipe by adding regular green chilies, particularly if mild jalapeños are used with other ingredients to increase in hotness. Sliced jalapeños are also used to give flavor to dishes like the pizza. Some people like to make gluten free jalapeño poppers for a delicious and healthy treat. If you want to make the dishes hot without using other types of chilies, then leave the inner membrane intact when cooking these peppers.

Jalapeño Sauce

Jalapeño is the main ingredient in most Mexican dishes. Instead of buying a processed sauce available on the market, many people prefer to make their own hot sauce at home. Green jalapeño sauce and hot sauce made from ripe chilies are quite popular. These types of sauces can also be made at home. Usually the chilies are sliced and mixed with garlic cloves, onion, vinegar, oil, and salt to prepare a mouth-watering sauce to be used for many different purposes. These sauces can be stored in the refrigerator for a long period of time and therefore come very handy when making pizzas, spaghetti, and Chinese and Mexican cuisine. In addition to these, the jalapeño sauce is also ideal for dips, salads, and veggies.

Adding Jalapeño to Various Foods

Everybody loves a kick of spice to change the taste of regular and boring foods. Jalapeños can be added to any normal salty dish to make it a bit spicy and hot. The peppers can also be added to cold and refrigerated foods to give them a fresh and uplifting flavor. Many people like to mix minced jalapeño pepper with cream cheese to use as a side dish on party dinners. Salads can be prepared by adding diced peppers with onions, mayonnaise, and other ingredients. The salad can be eaten with crackers or tortilla chips to increase their taste. Warm foods like spaghetti and pasta can also be prepared by adding diced jalapeños and cooking them for some time.

Health Benefits

It has been found that jalapeños have the ability to suppress your craving for sweet foods. By including these chilies in your diet, you can avoid eating too many fatty foods and hence lose weight. However, if you really want to use the peppers for health concerns then don’t stuff them with cheese or use any other type of dairy product. Capsaicin is the chemical found in almost all chilies that makes them healthy and nutritious. The same chemical has been found to be good for weight loss and also helps to fight cancer of the stomach. Moreover, it has anti-inflammatory properties and therefore good for inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Make sure you use the hot varieties of this pepper to enjoy the health benefits. The hotter the jalapeño, the better!