Jalapeños are a popular variety of chili pepper. Their heat is rated as moderate (yes, there are hotter chili peppers than jalapeños!). Typically these peppers are two to three inches long. Their color is green with a red blush. They actually will turn completely red if allowed to mature on the plant. Interestingly, jalapeños are mildly antibacterial.
Choose jalapeños with glossy, firm skins. Avoid any that have soft spots or signs of bruising.
Store your jalapeños in the refrigerator – in a loosely sealed plastic bag. They usually keep for at least one week.
IMPORTANT! Handle hot peppers of all kinds, including jalapeños, with extreme care! Use gloves while handling and preparing them. Discard gloves immediately after use and avoid touching your skin and especially your face and eyes. The juices are volatile and will cause significant irritation if they come in contact with your skin. Remove the seeds before use and finely chop your peppers before adding them to a recipe.
As with many deeply color vegetables, jalapeños are a good source of fiber and multiple vitamins – including vitamins A, B6, K and E. The heat factor is due to capsaicin – that nutrient is what causes the burning sensation we attribute to peppers.