Jalapeño is a cultivar of the species Capsicum annuum, originating in Mexico. It was named after Xalapa (Jalapa), Veracruz, where it was traditional produced. Jalapeño is also known as huachinango and chile gordo in Mexico.
Jalapeño plant can grow to 2.5-3 feet tall, with a growing period of 70-80 days. A plant usually produces 25-35 pods of jalapeño. The chilis are picked a few times during the growing period. Jalapeño is usually picked and sold when it is still green. Once picked, individual jalapeño ripen to red on their own accord, and can be eaten green or red. A ripe jalapeño is 2-3.5 inches long.
Jalapeño has a heat level that varies from mild to hot, a range from 2,500 to 8,000 SHU (Scoville Heat Unit), depending on cultivation and preparation. The heat, caused by capsaicin and related compound, is concentrated in picante, the veins that surround the seeds. Some handlers wear latex or vinyl gloves while cutting, skinning, or seeding jalapeños to prevent skin irritation.
A smoked, ripe jalapeño is known as chipotle
. Jalapenos can also be made into Jalapeno jelly; muddled and served in mixed drinks; or stuffed with cheese, usually cheddar or cream cheese, breaded and deep fried.
Forest & Kim Starr
Deep-fried andouille stuffed jalapenos