Very popular, especially in the United States. Often pickled or canned. A smoke-dried ripe jalapeño is referred to as a chipotle.
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The jalapeño is a fruit, a medium sized chili pepper with a warm, burning sensation when eaten. A mature jalapeño is 2–3½ inches (5–9 cm) long and is commonly picked and sold when still green, but occasionally when ripe and red. It is a cultivar of the species Capsicum annuum originating in Mexico. It is named after Xalapa, Veracruz, where it was traditionally cultivated. About 160 square km are dedicated for the cultivation in Mexico, primarily in the Papaloapan river basin in the north of the state of Veracruz and in the Delicias, Chihuahua area. Jalapeños are cultivated on smaller scales in Jalisco, Nayarit, Sonora, Sinaloa, and Chiapas. Overview A jalapeño plant with pods, the purple strips on the stem are anthocyanin, due to the growth under blue-green spectrum fluorescent lighting.
The jalapeño is variously named in Mexico as huachinango and chile gordo. The cuaresmeño closely resembles the jalapeño. The seeds of a cuaresmeño have the heat of a jalapeño, but the flesh has a mild flavor close to a green bell pepper.
As of 1999, 5,500 acres (22 km2) in the United States were dedicated to the cultivation of jalapeños. Most jalapeños are produced in southern New Mexico and western Texas.
Jalapeños are a pod type of Capsicum. The growing period is 70–80 days. When mature, the plant stands two and a half to three feet tall. Typically a plant produces twenty-five to thirty-five pods. During a growing period, a plant will be picked multiple times. As the growing season ends, jalapeños start to turn red. Jalapeños thrive in a number of soil types, and temperatures if they are provided with adequate water. Once picked, individual peppers ripen to red of their own accord. The peppers can be eaten green or red.
Jalapeños have 2,500 – 8,000 Scoville heat units. Compared to other chilis, the jalapeño has a heat level that varies from mild to hot depending on cultivation and preparation. The heat, caused by capsaicin and related compounds, is concentrated in the membrane (placenta) surrounding the seeds, which are called picante. Handling fresh jalapeños may cause skin irritation. Some handlers wear latex or vinyl gloves while cutting, skinning, or seeding jalapeños. When preparing jalapeños, hands should not come in contact with the eyes as this leads to burning and redness.
Jalapeño is of Nahuatl and Spanish origin. The Spanish suffix -eño signifies that the noun originates in the place modified by the suffix, similar to the English -(i)an. The jalapeño is named after the Mexican town of Xalapa (also spelled Jalapa). Xalapa is itself of Nahuatl derivation, formed from roots xal-li “sand” and a-pan “water place.” Serving styles
Chiles toreados are fresh jalapeños that are sauteed in oil until the skin is blistered all over. They are sometimes served with melted cheese on top. Chipotles are smoked, ripe jalapeños. Jalapeño jelly can be prepared using jelling methods. Jalapeño peppers are often muddled and served in mixed drinks. Jalapeño poppers, also called armadillo eggs, are an appetizer; jalapeños are stuffed with cheese, usually cheddar or cream cheese, breaded or wrapped in bacon, and cooked. Stuffed jalapeños are hollowed out fresh jalapeños (served cooked or raw) that are stuffed, often with a mix containing seafood, meat, poultry, and/or cheese. Texas toothpicks are jalapeños and onions shaved into straws, lightly breaded, and deep fried.