The jalapeño is a medium-sized chili pepper pod type cultivar of the species Capsicum annuum. A mature jalapeño fruit is 5–10 cm (2–4 in) long and hangs down with a round, firm, smooth flesh of 25–38 mm (1–1 in) wide. It is of mild to medium pungency, having a range of 1,000 to 20,000 Scoville units, depending on cultivar. Commonly picked and consumed while still green, it is occasionally allowed to fully ripen and turn red, orange or yellow. It is wider and milder than the similar Serrano pepper The Chile Pepper Institute is known for developing colored variations.
The jalapeño is variously named huachinango, for the ripe red jalapeño, and chile gordo(meaning “fat chili pepper”) also known as cuaresmeño as it was traditionally consumed during lent.
A chipotle or chilpotle, which comes from the Nahuatl word chilpoctli (meaning “smoked chili”), is a smoke-dried jalapeño
Seeds in the ground June, 2017
Diseases and Problems
Jalapeños are subject to root rot and foliar blight, both often caused by Phytophthora capsici; over-watering worsens the condition as the fungus grows best in warm wet environments, however the cause is not itself over-watering but the fungus. Crop rotation can help, and resistant strains of jalapeño, such as the NuMex Vaquero and TAM Mild Jalapeño, have been and are being bred as this is of major commercial impact throughout the world. As jalapeños are a cultivar the diseases are common to capsicum annuum: Verticillium wilt, Cercospora capsici, Powdery mildew, Colletotrichum capsici (Ripe Rot), Erwinia carotovora (Soft Rot), Beet curly top virus, Tospovirus (Tomato spotted wilt virus), Pepper mottle virus, Tobacco mosaic virus, Pepper Geminiviridae, and Root-knot nematode being among the major commercially important diseases.
After harvest if jalapeños are stored at 7.5 °C (45.5 °F) they have a shelf life of up to 3–5 weeks. Jalapeños produce 0.1-0.2 µl/kg⋅h of ethylene which is very low for chiles and do not respond to ethylene treatment. Holding jalapeños at 20-25 °C and high humidity can be used to complete the ripening of picked jalapeños. A hot water dip of 55 °C (131 °F) for 4 minutes is used to kill off molds that may exist on the picked peppers without damaging them
Sweet hybridized varieties have been created with no “heat” although they retain the look and flavor of a jalapeño. These varieties are perfect for making mild salsas and dishes served to anyone who doesn’t tolerate spicy food. A popular example in 2000s and early 2010s was ‘Fooled You’ (150571) that was released in 1999 by breeder Jim Waltrip. A newer variety ‘Tricked You’ is replacing ‘Fooled You’.
In a 100 gram serving, raw jalapeños provide 29 calories and are an excellent source (> 20% of the Daily Value, DV) of vitamin C, vitamin B6 and vitamin E, with vitamin K in a moderate amount (table). Protein, dietary fiber, fat and other essential nutrients are low in content (table).
Stuffed jalapeños are hollowed out fresh jalapeños (served cooked or raw) filled with seafood, meat, poultry, or cheese.
- Pickled jalapeños, a type of pickled pepper, sliced or whole, are often served hot or cold on top of nachos, which are tortilla chips with melted cheese on top, a traditional Tex-Mex dish.
- Chipotles are smoked, ripe jalapeños.
- Jalapeño jelly, which is a pepper jelly, can be prepared using jelling methods.
- Jalapeño peppers are often muddled and served in mixed drinks.
- Jalapeño poppers are an appetizer; jalapeños are stuffed with cheese, usually cheddar or cream cheese, breaded or wrapped in bacon, and cooked.
- Armadillo eggs are jalapeños or similar chilis stuffed with cheese, coated in seasoned sausage meat and wrapped in bacon. The “eggs” are then grilled until the bacon starts to crisp.
- Chiles toreados are fresh jalapeños that are sauteed in oil until the skin is blistered all over. They are sometimes served with melted cheese on top.
- Texas toothpicks are jalapeños and onions shaved into straws, lightly breaded, and deep fried.
- Chopped jalapeños are a common ingredient in many salsas and chilis.
- Jalapeño slices are commonly served in Vietnamese pho and bánh mì, and are also a common sandwich and pizza topping in the West.
Jalapeños are a pod type of Capsicum annuum. The growing period is 70–80 days. When mature, the plant stands 70–90 cm (28–35 in) tall. Typically, a plant produces 25 to 35 pods. During a growing period, a plant will be picked multiple times. As the growing season ends, the peppers turn red, as seen in Sriracha sauce. Jalapeños thrive in a number of soil types and temperatures, though they prefer warmer climates, provided they have adequate water. The optimum temperature for seed germination is 29 °C (84 °F), with degradation of germination seen above 30 °C (86 °F) and little to no germination occurring at 40 °C (104 °F); at 29 °C (84 °F) the time to 50% germination rate depends on cultivar and seed lot but was tested as being between 4 and 5 days, which is shorter than Cayenne. A pH of 4.5 to 7.0 is preferred for growing jalapeños and keeping the soil well drained is essential for keeping the plants healthy. Jalapeños need at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day. Experimental results show that unlike bell peppers at least 7.5 milliMoles (mM) Nitrogen is needed for optimal pod production and 15 to 22 mM Nitrogen produces the best result, the plant produces both more leaves and more pods, rather than just more leaves. Once picked, individual peppers may turn to red of their own accord. The peppers can be eaten green or red. Though usually grown as an annual they are perennial and if protected from frost can produce during multiple years, as with all Capsicum annuum.