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What’s in Season: Jalapeños

By The PD Web Team

Pronounced “hah-lah-PEH-nyoh”, these little peppers pack a punch! They’re great pickled, sliced, fried, and especially stuffed! Their versatility is endless. They can be used traditionally, by spicing up cornbread or pico de gallo, or paired with other, more unconventional flavors, like cream cheese or even peanut butter! 

The jalapeño’s use dates back to the Aztecs. It is named after Xalapa (“Jalapa”) in Veracruz, Mexico, where these peppers originated. Christopher Columbus is credited with bringing the jalapeño to Europe, but how the pepper arrived in the United States is unknown.

You want your jalapeño to be firm and smooth-skinned. Any wrinkling on the pepper means it is old. Their skin should have solid green coloring. The “dry lines” on a jalapeño are not considered a blemish, but a sign of their maturity and hotness. Avoid jalapeños that are bruised, wrinkled, or soft, and obviously those with spots of mold.

Store peppers in the vegetable crisper of your refrigerator. They’re best when used within 5 days of harvesting, but it really is hard to know these days when your pepper was picked. If you want your peppers dried (to crumble or grind), attach a string to their stem, and hang them in a dark place. Another fun way to store peppers is to pickle them. Peter Piper had it right—these things are delicious! Remember, the seeds and veins are the hottest part of the pepper, so it’s easy to reduce the heat by removing these two things before using the pepper.

A single jalapeño plant will generally produce about 25-30 peppers per season.

Spice up any meal with these little peppers and it’s sure to be a hit! Here are some of our favorite jalapeño recipes:
Jalapeño Hushpuppies
Grilled Cheese and Bacon Jalapeño Poppers
Jalapeño Cracklin’ Corn Bread
Mexican Shrimp and Grits
Peppery Coleslaw with Orange Chili Vinaigrette
Sweet Potato Chili Cakes with Cilantro Lime Sauce
Grilled Chicken with Rhubarb Salsa
Biscuit and Blue Cheese Bread Pudding
Mahi Mahi Lettuce Wraps