Jalapeno is a medium-sized chile pepper pod-type cultivar of the species Capsicum annum. It is 5 to 10 cm long with hanging round, smooth, and firm flesh of 25-38 mm wide. Its pungency has a wide range. It is generally consumed both when ripe and unripe. Ripe jalapeno tends to be bright red, yellow, or orange.
With the significant cultivation in Mexico, in 1999, around 43000 hectares of land were dedicated for jalapeno production. About 30 percent of chili production in Mexico is contributed only by jalapeno. The next production of jalapeno is in California, followed by New Mexico and Texas. China, Peru, India, and Spain are also producers of commercial chili production, including jalapeno.
- Chipotles are smoked, ripe jalapenos.
- Fresh jalapenos chiles tornados are sautéed in oil till the skin is completely blistered. They are sometimes served with melted cheese on top.
- Stuffed jalapenos are filled with meat, seafood, cheese, or poultry.
- Jalapeno peppers are always muddled and served in mixed drinks.
- Texas toothpicks mean onions and jalapenos shaved into straws, lightly breaded, and deep-fried.
- Pickled jalapenos, whole or sliced, are always hot or cold on top of nachos (tortilla chips with melted cheese on top)
- Jalapeno poppers, an appetizer, are breaded or wrapped in bacon and cooked.
- Armadillo eggs are stuffed with cheese, coated in seasoned sausage meat, and wrapped in bacon. The eggs are grilled till the bacon crisps.
- Jalapeno Jelly, a pepper jelly, can be made using jelling methods.
- Many salsas and chilis contain chopped jalapenos.
Interesting Facts about Jalapenos
High in Nutrients: –Jalapenos are low on calories but rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. One raw jalapeno consists of –
- Fiber – 0.4 percent
- Folate – 2 percent of RDI
- Manganese – 2 percent of RDI
- Calories – 4
- Vitamin C – 10 percent of RDI
- Vitamin B6 – 4 percent of RDI
- Vitamin A – 2 percent of RDI
- Vitamin K – 2 percent of RDI
In line with other fruits and vegetables, jalapenos are an excellent source of fiber. If a person consumes 2000 calories, one pepper will give 2 percent RDI. Jalapenos vitamin C fights against free radical damage as it is high in antioxidants, and vitamin B6 is an essential nutrient that helps 140 bodily reactions. Unique compound capsaicin, an alkaloid, gives spicy characteristics and health benefits.
May Fight Cancer: – Capsaicin possesses anti-cancer properties that help to kill over 40 types of cancer cells without damaging normal cells. Three effects can be observed because of capsaicin –
- Slows the formation of new blood vessels around cancer tumors
- It prevents cancer from spreading to other parts of the body
- Stops the growth and division of cancer cells.
As a usual belief, people who eat more chili pepper tend to have cancer, but in reality, it is not so. The dosage that plays the role of a lower dosage might assist spread; a higher dose may slow the spread.
Can Help Prevent Stomach Ulcers: –The reasons for stomach ulcers may be listed as –
- Low blood flow to the stomach
- Growth of H pylori bacteria within the stomach
- Drinking alcohol
- Taking too many NSAID pain relievers
- High levels of stomach acids
A common understanding that spicy jalapenos induce stomach pain or ulcers is not proper. These types of spicy foods can protect the stomach from developing ulcers. The people affected by H pylori can feel the reduction in stomach inflammation, and capsaicin may even kill the infection. But there is no clarity on how much quantity needs to be consumed to affect this.
The stomach damage due to overuse of NSAID pain relievers and alcohol can also be reduced due to consumption of chili peppers by preventing the formation of ulcers in the stomach.
Can Help to Reduce Weight: – Jalapenos may boost the metabolism helping to burn fat and reduce your appetite, and thus you can lose weight. Capsaicin and other similar compounds like capsaicinoids may increase the metabolism by 4 to 5 percent every day, making it easier to reduce weight.
Apart from boosting metabolism, capsaicinoid supplements are known to reduce abdominal fat appetite, resulting in a person consuming 50-75 calories fewer per day. If one wishes to reduce weight, it is essential to consume a specific quantity of chili peppers daily as it is relevant to reducing the risk of becoming overweight or obese.
Can Keep Heart Healthy: – The primary reasons for heart disease are high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Capsaicin in jalapenos helps reduce the impact of these factors, which can keep your heart healthy.
By consuming 5 gm chili peppers before a high-carb meal, one can stabilize the blood sugar and control the high spikes that usually occur after a meal. Capsaicin also has low cholesterol and lipid levels as tested in animals, but it is not proven similar in humans.
In animals, capsaicin relaxes blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure, but it is not proven for humans. However, there is a chance that it may be beneficial for heart health.
Can be Natural pain Relievers: – When used externally, capsaicin is an excellent pain reliever. It temporarily blocks the pain receptors in the area of application, as a result of which one can feel a burning sensation firstly, then numbness, and lastly soothing of pain.
Pain due to shingles virus, diabetic nerve pain, and chronic muscle and joint pain can be relieved when applying capsaicin patches and lotions. Aged adults with rheumatoid arthritis can feel a 57 percent reduction when a capsaicin cream is applied to painting joints. Apart from applying capsaicin to the skin, its nasal spray can effectively relieve migraine pain.
Help Fight Infections: – Usage of spices and herbs in cooking prevents spoilage and food poisoning. The growth of common foodborne bacteria and yeasts is controlled due to the compound in jalapenos and other spices. It can stop cholera bacteria from producing toxins and prevent additional infections like strep throat, Chlamydia, and bacterial tooth decay.
- The smokey flavor of many Mexican dishes comes from smoked and dried jalapenos.
- The small lines that develop the ripe on peppers are called corking and are related to their heat levels.
- The plants grow best in acidic soil with a pH between 6 to 6.8.
- Because of plant breeders, one can find many varieties of these peppers like lemon spice, orange spice, and nadapeno pepper.
- The pepper was initially cultivated in Mexico, and its usage dates as back as thousands of years.
- This is a common plant that you can even grow in your backyard because of its low-maintenance feature.
- When fully ripe, the chilis turn to bright red.
- They can be planted in spring (March-April) and fall (July-August).
- They are the only chili pepper that left the earth. Yes, jalapenos have been to space with the Columbia space shuttle.
- There is a scale to measure the hotness of peppers. The scale is called Scoville Scale.
- Commercial peppers like jalapeno are mainly grown in New Mexico, California, and Texas in the US.
- Aztecs would smoke and dry jalapenos before consumption to preserve them.
- The compound capsaicin, which makes it spicy, is produced by the glands in their placentas.
Properties of Jalapenos
Jalapeno is a low acid food having a pH of about 4.8 to 6 depending on maturity and individual pepper. Packaging or canning jalapenos with calcium chloride give them the required firmness irrespective of pickled or canned. Like tomatoes, jalapenos tend to develop foodborne pathogens if the outer skin is broken and exposed for a long time. This was the outcome of the 2008 salmonella outbreak in the US. While it is intact, it protects from foodborne illness, as was found out back then.
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