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Jalapeño Pepper

Immature Jalapeños that are still in the plant pot
Heat Medium
Scoville scale 2,500–10,000

The jalapeño (/ˌhæləˈpnj/ or /ˌhæləˈpnj/, Spanish pronunciation: [xalaˈpeɲo] ( )) is a medium-sized chili pepper. A mature jalapeño fruit is 2–3½ inches (5–9 cm) long[citation needed] and is commonly picked and consumed while still green, but occasionally it is allowed to fully ripen and turn crimson red. It is a cultivar of the species Capsicum annuum originating in Mexico[citation needed], which is a bush that grows 2–4 feet (60–120 cm) tall.[citation needed] It is named after Xalapa, Veracruz, where it was traditionally cultivated.[citation needed] About 160 square kilometres (40,000 acres) are dedicated for the cultivation in Mexico, primarily in the Papaloapan river basin in the center of the state of Veracruz and in the Delicias, Chihuahua, area.[citation needed] Jalapeños are cultivated on smaller scales in Jalisco, Nayarit, Sonora, Sinaloa, and Chiapas.[citation needed] Jalapeño juice is often used as a remedy for seasonal allergies and cardiovascular problems.[citation needed]


Jalapeño peppers.

The jalapeño is variously named in Mexico as huachinango[citation needed] and chile gordo.[citation needed] The cuareeño closely resembles the jalapeño.[citation needed] The seeds of a cuaresmeño have the heat of a jalapeño, but the flesh has a mild flavor close to a green bell pepper.[citation needed]

Jalapeño is of Nahuatl and Spanish origin.[citation needed] The Spanish suffix -eño signifies that the noun originates in the place modified by the suffix, similar to the English -(i)an.[citation needed] The jalapeño is named after the Mexican town of Xalapa (also spelled Jalapa).[citation needed] Xalapa is itself of Nahuatl derivation, formed from roots xālli [ˈʃaːlːi] "sand" and āpan [ˈaːpan] "water place."[citation needed]

As of 1999, 5,500 acres (22 km2) in the United States were dedicated to the cultivation of jalapeños.[citation needed] Most jalapeños are produced in southern New Mexico and western Texas.[citation needed]

Jalapeños are a pod type of Capsicum.[citation needed] The growing period is 70–80 days.[citation needed] When mature, the plant stands two and a half to three feet (75 to 100 cm) tall.[citation needed] Typically, a plant produces 25 to 35 pods.[citation needed] During a growing period, a plant will be picked multiple times.[citation needed] As the growing season ends, jalapeños start to turn red[citation needed], which may make them less desirable.[citation needed] Jalapeños thrive in a number of soil types and temperatures, provided they have adequate water.[citation needed] Once picked, individual peppers may turn to red of their own accord.[citation needed] The peppers can be eaten green or red.[citation needed]

Jalapeños have 2,500–10,000 Scoville heat units.[citation needed] Compared to other chilis, the jalapeño has a heat level that varies from mild to hot depending on cultivation and preparation.[citation needed] The heat, caused by capsaicin and related compounds, is concentrated in the membrane (placenta) surrounding the seeds.[citation needed] Handling fresh jalapeños will cause skin irritation.[citation needed] Some handlers wear latex or vinyl gloves while cutting, skinning, or seeding jalapeños.[citation needed] When preparing jalapeños, hands should not come in contact with the eyes, as this leads to painful burning and redness.[citation needed]

Serving styles[edit]

Jalapeño peppers wrapped in crescent rolls
  • Stuffed jalapeños are hollowed out fresh jalapeños (served cooked or raw) that are stuffed, often with a mix containing seafood, meat, poultry, and/or cheese.[citation needed]
  • Pickled jalapeños, 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.[citation needed]
  • Chipotles are smoked, ripe jalapeños.[citation needed]
  • Jalapeño jelly can be prepared using jelling methods.[citation needed]
  • Jalapeño peppers are often muddled and served in mixed drinks.[citation needed]
  • Jalapeño poppers are an appetizer; jalapeños are stuffed with cheese, usually cheddar or cream cheese, breaded or wrapped in bacon, and cooked.[1][2]
  • Armadillo eggs are jalapeños or similar chilis stuffed with cheese, coated in seasoned sausage meat and wrapped in bacon. The "eggs" are then BBQed 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.[citation needed]
  • Texas toothpicks are jalapeños and onions shaved into straws, lightly breaded, and deep fried.[3]
  • Chopped jalapeños are a common ingredient in many salsas and chilis.
  • Jalapeño slices are commonly served in Vietnamese pho.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]