Originating in Xalapa (also called Jalapa) Mexico, the Jalapeno Pepper Scoville rating is not one of the hottest in the world, but it is one of the most popular peppers. With hundreds of different uses, both in and out of the kitchen, it has become a staple in heat here in the U.S. Also known as huachinango and chile gordo, the Jalapeno Pepper is a pod type pepper, and a member of the Capsicum annuum family.
In Mexico, Nearly 40,000 acres are used for growing this type of pepper in three agricultural zones. In the United States, there are approximately 5,500 acres of land where cultivation of the Jalapeno pepper takes place. Most American cultivation takes place in Texas and New Mexico. The Jalapeno pepper is produced, on a much smaller scale around the world.
Did You Know?
Huy Fong Foods, makers of Sriracha Hot Sauce will use over 48,000 TONS of Jalapeno Peppers this year!
Taste and Smell
Due to the popularity of Jalapenos, we feel this section to be a little redundant, but for the (what must be) few left in the world who have not tasted a Jalapeno, this section is for you.
Cutting into the pepper, you are greeted with a very “green” smell. A mild version of that traditional hot pepper smell. Jalapenos are a very fleshy pepper. With a lot of crunch and a sweet vegetable(ish) flavor, the texture alone makes them fun to eat. While they are not too heavy on the heat, they still have a decent burn.
Uses For The Jalapeno Pepper
There are various uses for the Jalapeno pepper. Some individuals enjoy these stuffed, breaded, and deep fried. Other people prefer them fresh or simply added to other dishes as means of enhancing the flavor. They are used in a number of different hot sauces and salsas as well.
However, one of the most common uses of the Jalapeno pepper is the production of Chipotle peppers. In this process, growers allow the Jalapeno pepper to remain on the plant in the field until it becomes withered and dry. They harvest these and place them in a sealed smoking chamber.
The peppers are stirred periodically to ensure that each pepper is thoroughly smoked. After three to four days, the Jalapeno peppers have been turned in to Chipotle peppers and ready for market. These are a high demand item around the world. They have an intensely smoky spice flavor. This makes them a great addition to many cuisines.
How To Grow Jalapeno Peppers
It usually takes around eighty days to grow Jalapeno peppers to maturity. The plant will grow to about three feet tall and yield up to around thirty pods. During the season, growers will be able to pick from each plant numerous times. Towards the end of the fruits maturity they will start to turn red. Though the red fruits are less desirable, they can be eaten whether green or red. The peppers grow best in a semi-arid climate, but can flourish in hot and humid zones.
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Photo credit: cjmartin