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Featured Specialty Crop – Jalapeño

Jalapeño Facts & Trivia

Jalapeños originated in Mexico and have been in Mexican markets since the sixteenth century. Prior to the twentieth century the Red Jalapeño was most commonly sold at the market in its dried and smoked form as chile ahumados, known today as chipotle peppers. Named after the city of Jalapa in the state of Veracruz, Mexico, there are four main varaties produced in Mexico; Espinalteco, Morita, Tipico and Peludo. The Mexican states of Veracruz, Chihuahua and Oaxaca are major producers and cultivate approximately 40,000 acres a year. On average 20 percent of this crop is used to produce chipotle peppers, i.e. smoked Red Jalapeños.

Why is Jalapeño So Good For You?

Jalapeño chile peppers are very high in vitamin C, and are an excellent source for vitamins A, B6, and E. The peppers are also a good source of vitamin K, niacin, dietary fiber and folates. It is a source of the electrolyte potassium and the minerals phosphorus, copper, magnesium, manganese, calcium, iron and zinc. The spicy fruits contain flavonoids in the form of phytonutrients beta and alpha carotene, lutein-zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin, providing beneficial antioxidant benefits.

What does it look/taste like?

Red Jalapeño peppers have a conical shape and come to a broad end at their tip. Their shiny red skin is smooth and usually marked with characteristic striations known as “corking”. A characteristic that is reflective of the peppers maturity and is desired in the Mexican market but not so much in the United States. Their crisp flesh is slightly sweeter than the immature green Jalapeño, and has a notably hotter spice. Depending upon variety its Scoville range is from 2,000 to 10,000 units.

How do you eat it?

  • Red Jalapeño peppers can be used interchangeably in recipes that call for green Jalapeños.
  • Add fresh or roasted Jalapeños to salsas, sauces, guacamole, stews, soups, tamales, casseroles, dips or anything else that can take a little heat.
  • Cornbread, pasta dough, cheese soufflés and breads will benefit from its sweet heat.
  • Jalapeño peppers can be sliced and pickled (en escabeche) or cooked down to make pepper jelly.
  • When dried and smoked the Red Jalapeño is the most common pepper used to make chipotle peppers.
  • To store fresh Red Jalapeños keep refrigerated and away from moisture, use within one to two weeks.
Information Adapted from specialtyproduce.com

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