Jalapeno is a pepper fruit that belongs to the species of Capsicum Annuum. It comes in small to medium sizes, ranging between two and four inches in length. It is green and has a smooth exterior. Jalapenos originated from Xalapa, Mexico. They are still commonly grown in Mexico and are the most consumed chili pepper in the United States. They can be consumed in salads, salsa, and jalapeno jam.
The average Scoville Heat Unit of a jalapeno is about 5,000. Though it is spicy, it can be enjoyed in dishes comfortably. The spiciest parts of a jalapeno are the seeds and the membranes around them. The membrane contains most of the capsaicin, which contributes to the spice. You can remove the seeds and membrane before consuming the jalapeno to reduce its spiciness. You can also reduce the heat in jalapenos by soaking them in ice water for about 20 minutes or quickly blanching them in boiling water for about two minutes. You must ensure you dip the peppers in ice water immediately after blanching them to stop them from cooking further.
Health Benefits of Jalapenos
Jalapenos have several health benefits. They are rich in vitamins A, vitamins C and potassium. They also have carotene, an antioxidant that helps control cell damage. They are rich in folate and vitamins B and K. Most of the health benefits of jalapenos come from a compound called capsaicin. Some of its health benefits also include:
High in Nutrients
Jalapenos are rich in minerals, vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. They contain Vitamin C which fights free radical damage and Vitamin B6 which is an essential nutrient. They are also said to have Manganese and Folate.
Helps with Pain Relief
The compound capsaicin, found in jalapenos, is a natural pain reliever. Directly rubbing jalapenos on your skin will burn it. Therefore, you must use a compound in the form of creams, patches, or ointments. It can help control pain from arthritis, nerve trouble, and sore muscles.
Helps Control Blood Sugar Levels and Aids Weight Loss
Though jalapenos may not directly help bring your weight down, eating them regularly will improve your metabolism. It will also help burn fat easily and curb your cravings. Consuming jalapenos before a high-carb meal can also help prevent blood sugar spikes.
Precautions To Take While Consuming Jalapenos
While jalapenos have several health benefits, there are some precautions to take. Contaminated jalapenos may lead to illnesses like salmonella. You should seek your doctor’s advice before consuming jalapenos if you are pregnant or have a weak immune system. Some studies have shown that the capsaicin in jalapenos can lead to heartburn and cause issues for people with irritable bowel syndrome.
Ways to Eat Jalapenos
Jalapenos are most commonly used in salads. They can be paired with several vegetables and dressings and add a hint of spice to your fresh salads. You can slice the peppers thin or into matchsticks and toss them in the salad.
Jalapenos can be used in green sauces to form the base of many vegetable dishes or salad dressings.
Jalapenos can be stuffed to make popular jalapeno poppers. They taste great in salsa and marinades for roasted vegetables.
Jalapenos can also be eaten with jalapeno jam.
Another great way to consume jalapenos is with fruit. Jalapenos go well with summer fruits. They taste great with tropical fruits and combine well with the sweetness of the fruit to give you a balanced taste.
Fruits To Pair with Jalapenos
Fruits are great with jalapenos. The sweetness from the fruit and the hint of spice from the jalapenos offer a delicious taste. Some of the common fruits that go with jalapenos include:
Raspberries are a sweet fruit with a tart undertone. The heat from the jalapenos and the sweet tartness of the raspberry makes this combination the perfect balance of sweetness with heat.
Strawberries have a sweet taste, and this sweetness highlights the natural sugars in jalapenos. Strawberries also perfectly counterbalance the spice in the peppers bringing out a distinct taste.
Jalapenos taste great with fresh ripe blackberries. The taste of the blackberries brings out the sharp bite of spice from the jalapenos. Jalapenos and blackberries can be combined to make jams, spreads, and pastry fillings.
Other Fruits To Pair With Jalapenos
Besides raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries, other fruits go well with jalapenos as well. Some of these fruits are:
Can Jalapenos be Frozen?
It is easy to freeze jalapenos. When frozen, these peppers can last up to a year or more. You need to cut off the stem of the peppers and freeze them either as a whole or in slices. You must remove the membranes and seeds if you are freezing the peppers in slices. You can even freeze the peppers by placing them on a baking sheet or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and freezing them for just one or two hours. You can store the peppers in freezer bags by removing all the air from the bags before sealing to avoid freezer burn on the peppers. Another way to freeze jalapenos is by dicing and putting them in ice cube trays.
Though frozen jalapenos will not have the crispy texture of fresh peppers, they will maintain the heat and flavor well.
Jalapenos are versatile peppers that can be consumed in different forms. In summer, they make for a great snack or dish when combined with tropical fruits. So what are you waiting for? Purchase fresh jalapenos from the market and get ready to enjoy the pepper with your favorite combination of fruit or jalapeno jam.