The Jalapeño pepper is a chili pepper commonly used in Mexican cuisines and a growing favorite of chefs and mixologists around the world. They are served grilled, roasted, fried, baked, and pickled. Its exact origin is not clear, but it is believed to have originated in the Mexican state of Veracruz, where it has been cultivated for thousands of years. The Jalapeño pepper is named after the city of Jalapa (also known as Xalapa) in Veracruz. It was first domesticated by the indigenous people of Mexico, who used it in their cooking and also for medicinal purposes.
After the Spanish conquest of Mexico in the 16th century, jalapeños were introduced to other parts of the world, including Europe and Asia. They were first introduced to the United States in the late 1800s, where they quickly became popular, particularly in the southwestern states.
Today, Jalapeños are one of the most widely cultivated peppers in the world, and used in a variety of recipes and beverages.
What are the most popular Peppers?
There are many different varieties of Jalapeños, which can vary in size, shape, and heat level. However, the most common and widely recognized variety is the classic Jalapeño which is typically 2-3 inches long, dark green when unripe, and bright red when fully ripe. There are also yellow, orange, and purple varieties of Jalapeños, which are less common but still available.
What is the best way to plant Jalapeños?
Jalapeños thrive in container gardens. If you live in the city, are new to gardening, or simply prefer a mess-free option, a container garden kit is a perfect way to begin your jalapeño garden.
When transplanting your young jalapeño seedlings, plant at the same depth as the nursery pot. Then, firmly press the soil around the planted pepper. The root system of Jalapeño plants are relatively extensive, requiring at least 8″ of soil depth and up to 12″ for larger plants.
Find a place that enjoys full sunshine- peppers are sun lovers and need a lot of sunshine to thrive. A little afternoon shade is ok for when temperatures are consistently over 90 degrees.
Best outdoor temperature for growing Jalapeños?
Jalapeños are a warm-season crop. (According to any botanist, peppers are fruits. A botanical fruit develops from the plant’s blossom and contains at least one seed.) To ensure your climate is a match for growing jalapeños, check out Gardenuity Match technology with Grow Pro. The ideal temperature to plant Jalapeños outside is when the soil temperature is consistently above 60 degrees and the air temperature is above 70 F.
What is the best way to harvest Jalapeños?
Depending on your preference, you can harvest your jalapeños at different stages of maturity. Young peppers are usually green, while most mature peppers are red. As they mature, they get brighter in color and sweeter in taste. This means an awesome variety of flavors and nutrients can all come from one plant.
If your pepper is red, it is time to harvest immediately — they’re ripe and ready to eat! Green peppers continue to grow seeds but can still be harvested and eaten.
Here are a few general harvesting tips to keep in mind:
- Check the maturity of the peppers: Jalapenos can be harvested when they reach a mature size of 2-3 inches long and are firm to the touch.
- Use gloves: when harvesting jalapenos, it is a good idea to wear gloves to protect your hands from the capsaicin in the peppers.
- Use clean pruning shears or scissors: To harvest the peppers, use pruning shears to snip them off the plant, leaving a short stem attached. Avoid pulling or twisting the peppers , as this can damage the plant.
- Harvest regularly: Jalapeño plants can produce a lot of peppers, so it’s important to harvest regularly to encourage continued production.
Grow Pro Tip:Use clean pruning shears or scissors to cut ripe peppers off at the vine, leaving a short stem attached. Do not pull off peppers by hand; this can cause entire branches to break.
Peppers will continue to produce tasty fruit throughout the summer. As the season continues, your plant will make less fruit until cold weather in the fall freezes them to the ground. At this point, dig up your pepper plant and compost the plant.
How much light do Jalapeños need to grow?
Ensuring your garden gets enough sunlight is imperative for fostering good growth. Peppers need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight — preferably more — to thrive. Be sure to set your jalapeño plant where it will receive full sun, and check on it regularly for signs of sun deficiency.
Should I water Jalapeños every day?
The frequency of wateringJalapeño plants depends on several factors, including the climate, soil type, and stage of growth. As a general rule, jalapeño plants need regular watering to thrive.
To make sure your jalapeños are getting enough water, check the soil often and see if the soil on top is wet. It should be damp at all times but not wet. A good rule of thumb is to water your jalapeno plants deeply once or twice a week, rather than giving them shallow watering every day. The goal is to keep the soil moist. To determine if your garden needs to by hydrated, you can check the soil moisture by sticking your finger about an inch into the soil. If it feels dry at the depth, it is time to water. It is also a good idea to mulch around the plants to help retain moisture in the soil and keep the roots cool.
If your jalapeños are growing in a container, they may need to be watered every day. If the heat is too intense, move them into the shade; you may see some flowers fall off, but as long as you keep them watered, you will see an abundant fall harvest.
What Do Jalapeños Taste Like?
Jalapeños have a distinct, spicy flavor with a mild to medium level of heat. The heat of jalapenos will vary depending on factors such as the plant’s growing conditions, the age of the peppers, and how they are prepared. When eaten raw, jalapeños have a crisp texture and a bright, grassy flavor with a slightly tangy taste. As they ripen, jalapenos turn from green to red and develop a sweeter, fruitier flavor.
What are good growing companions for jalapeño?
Jalapeños benefit from growing companions that help attract pollinators, repel pests, and improve soil health. A few of our favorite growing companions for jalapeños:
- Tomatoes: Tomatoes attract pollinators that can also help to pollinate the jalapeno plants, and the jalapenos can help to repel pests that can damage the tomato plants.
- Cilantro: Cilantro can attract beneficial insects like ladybugs that help to control aphids and other pests that can hurt jalapeno plants.
- Marigolds and Basil: Marigolds and basil both help to repel garden pests.
Our favorite recipes with Jalapeño?
- Brussel Sprouts with Cranberries and Candied Jalapeño
- Spicy Salsa and Queso
- Easiest Gazpacho Recipe
- Chef Katy Lopez’s Watermelon Arugula Salad with Jalapeño Lemon Vinaigrette
- Fresh Crab Nachos with Jalapenos by The Barefoot Contessa
Are Jalapeños good for you?
Almost all hot peppers contain capsaicin, which gives these fruits their characteristic spiciness. Capsaicin is great for pain relief, including joint pain, and can help improve athletic ability and even lower blood sugar levels. Research shows capsaicin also has anti-inflammatory benefits, which can help with swelling, prevent allergies, and protect against heart disease.
A substance in Jalapeño as capsaicin may help boost a person’s metabolism slightly, which can be helpful with weight loss. This is due to the capsaicin in jalapeños that raises the body temperature to increase metabolism rates and decreases appetite due to its hot flavors, leading to less overeating.
Jalapenos are rich in Vitamin C, may boost your metabolism and have anti-inflammatory properties.
Where Does Jalapeño Get Its Name From?
The name jalapeño originates from the Spanish word “jalapa.” This translates to “from Xalapa,” the capital of Veracruz and the original location of jalapeños growth and cultivation.
What are some of the newJalapeño varieties?
TAM –Jalapeño (Low Heat) Texas A&M University developed the “TAM” jalapeno to be less spicy than traditional varieties.
Goliath Jalapeños -The largest variety of jalapeno peppers
Jalafuego Jalapeño Extra spicy jalapeno variety
Jedi Jalapeño– a hybrid pepper bred for a high yield potential.
Early Jalapeño– The earliest possible harvest is ready for harvest 60-63 days after transplanting.
El Jefe Jalapeño A hybrid variety, touted for having a combination of early harvest and high yield.
Jaloro Jalapeño– The name comes from the Spanish world oro which means gold, the peppers start off yellow, almost golden in color, eventually ripening to a rich red.
Purple Jalapeño The deep, almost black color comes from the anthocyanins in the plant. These are powerful antioxidants, so one could argue that the purple jalapeno is the healthiest of them all.
Lemon Spice Jalapeño– the nuMex lemon spice jalapeno is a yellow-ripening variety developed by New Mexico State University.
Jalapeño– The striped variety has patterns of white and green variegated foliage, and often striped unripe peppers.
More Fun Facts About Jalapeños…
- Jalapeños are a member of the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants.
- The heat of a jalapeño pepper is measured on the Scoville scale, which ranges from 0 (no heat) to over 2 million (extremely hot). Jalapeños typically range from 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville units.
- The capsaicin in Jalapeños, responsible for their heat, can cause a burning sensation on the skin and mucous membranes. Some people use milk or yogurt to neutralize the heat.
- Jalapeños are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and fiber.
- The annual La Costena Jalapeño Contest is held in Texas and challenges participants to eat as many Jalapeños as they can in 15 minutes. The current record is held by Patrick Bertoletti, who ate 275 Jalapeño in 8 minutes.
- Jalapeños can be pickled or smoked to create chipotle peppers, which have a smoky flavor and a medium level of heat.
- The largest Jalapeño pepper on record weighed over one pound and measured over 11 inches long.
- The world record for the most Jalapeños eaten in one minute is held by Patrick Bertoletti, who ate 275 grams (9.7 ounces) of Jalapeño in 60 seconds in 2012.
- Jalapeños were the first peppers to travel inside a NASA space shuttle mission in 1982.