Surely you have already tried on some other occasion the jalapeno pepper. This vegetable is very popular in various cuisines, especially in Mexico. It is very striking that sometimes it can sting more than others, why is that?
In this post we will explain what exactly is the jalapeño pepper and how is its cultivation. In addition, we will discuss how spicy is it and why it can sting more or less. If you feel even a little curious, I recommend that you continue reading.
What is jalapeno pepper?
The jalapeño pepper receives this name because its traditional production is carried out in Xalapa, a Mexican city located in Veracruz. It is also known as chile cuaresmeño and It is a variety of chili that is most consumed and cultivated in the American continent. Only the country of Mexico dedicates more than six thousand hectares to plantations of this vegetable, the most producing regions being the Delicias area and the region belonging to the Papaloapan river basin. The plant belongs to the genus Capsicumwhich in turn is part of the Solanaceae family.
Regarding the size of the jalapeño pepper, it usually measures around ten centimeters long, while its base usually measures about three centimeters wide. It is an elongated, meaty and firm vegetable. Considering its attractive appearance and its high aromatic level, it is not surprising that it is very popular in world gastronomy. Of course, it is not for everyone’s palate. Those who are less spicy should avoid eating this vegetable.
The jalapeño pepper is used in cooking before and also after its ripening. It should be noted that a high percentage of the total production of this vegetable It is used for drying. It is a method of preserving food. It is basically a process by which water is extracted from the vegetable. The jalapeño pepper that has gone through this process is called “chipotle pepper”, which would translate as “smoked chili”.
As we have already mentioned, the main jalapeño pepper production regions are Delicias, which is in the state of Chihuahua, and the Papaloapan river basin, which is in Veracruz. There, not only cultivars of this species are planted every year, but also various hybrids. In those areas where these plants are planted under irrigation, the yields are very good, reaching yields of about 25 tons for each hectare planted.
How are chili peppers grown?
Apart from these large jalapeño pepper producing regions, there are also others where cultivation is rather on a small scale. These are some small areas in the states of Chiapas, Sinaloa, Sonora, Nayarit and Jalisco. The total area that they allocate to the cultivation of jalapeño peppers is approximately one thousand hectares.
As is often the case with cultivars of other pepper varieties, the jalapeño pepper is also typically planted before the wet season begins. In addition, high temperatures are very good for this vegetable. Regarding the harvest, it usually takes place about seventy days after sowing. Each plant usually gives between 25 and 35 chilies. It should be noted that this vegetable is prone to contracting alternaria blight or gray spot, so it is highly recommended to take preventive measures and monitor the crop.
How hot is the jalapeno pepper?
Now let’s go to a question that surely many of you are already asking yourself: How spicy is the jalapeño pepper? In general, we could say that it is tata from a variety of chili with a medium level of spiciness. On the Scoville scale, a measure of heat in chili peppers that we will discuss later, the jalapeño has points between 3,500 and 3,600.
However, it should be noted that the intensity of the itching is not always the same. It varies depending on the variety of the seed and the environmental and terrain characteristics. What causes the itch is an alkaloid known as capsaicin. Generally, this chemical compound is concentrated above all in the seeds and in the veins found inside the chili. Therefore, if these elements are removed before consuming the jalapeño pepper, the spiciness effect will be considerably lower.
It should be said that capsaicin is not only used to achieve spicier dishes. It also has some medicinal properties. that make it a very popular element for the production of medicines. Among these properties are its analgesic, anticancer and antioxidant effects. In addition, it is also used to produce tear gas.
How does the Scoville scale work?
Before we have commented on the score that the jalapeño pepper has on the Scoville scale. But what is this scale exactly? Well, it is a measure of the heat that chilies, chillies and peppers have. That is to say: Of the fruits of those plants that are part of the genus Capsicumwhich are those that contain capsaicin. The number indicates the amount of capsaicin that may be present and is represented in Scoville SHU units (Scoville Heat Units). Many spicy products, such as sauces, use this measurement as an indicator.
What is the Scoville Scale?
But how exactly does the Scoville scale work? How do they get those numbers? To determine how much capsaicin is in chili peppers, an extract of capsaicin is diluted in sugar water. This process is repeated until no committee of examiners can detect even a trace of spiciness. Therefore, it is about the degree of dissolution of the initial extract, or in other words: The number of times it has had to be diluted. So, the higher the number, the hotter the chili. As you will probably already imagine, this method can be very inaccurate, since the test that is carried out falls on the subjective opinion of human individuals. For this reason, although the scale sometimes indicates that something is not very itchy, a person who is not used to it can notice it a lot.
Do you like spicy or rather not? If not, eating jalapeno peppers can be Russian roulette.