Everyone loves to eat jalapeno, either in salads, sandwiches, and burgers! But, have you ever wondered, Is jalapeno a fruit or vegetable? Let’s find out!
What Is a Jalapeno?
Jalapeno is a midsize, spicy chile pepper, famous for its moderate spiciness. It belongs to the ‘Capsicum annuum’ species. Native to Mexico, this pepper is now consumed worldwide. Jalapeno is generally eaten fresh, but it’s also used as a spice in different countries. The spiciness of this pepper comes from a compound called ‘Capsaicin.’ Ancient Aztecs were the first who discovered and used the jalapenos even before the arrival of Columbus.
Other Names for Jalapeno
Besides the name jalapeno, it’s also popular with other names which are:
- Huachinango – the ripe red jalapeno
- Chipotle Pepper – a smoked jalapeno pepper
- Chile Gordo – “Fat Chili Pepper”
Jalapenos are low in calories and carbs. Furthermore, they are rich in Vitamin C, E, K, and have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
100 gms of raw jalapenos contain:
- Calories 28
- Protein 0.91 g
- Total Fat 0.4 g
- Cholesterol 0 mg
- Total Carbohydrate 7 g
Vitamins & Minerals
- Vitamin C 118.6 mg
- Potassium 248 mg
- Vitamin E 3.58 mg
- Sodium 3 mg
- Vitamin K 18.5 µg
- Calcium 12 mg
- Vitamin B6 0.419 mg
Is Jalapeno a Fruit?
People usually think that jalapeno is a vegetable; however, it’s a fruit. From the botanical point of view, jalapeno is a fruit because it carries seeds and develops from the flower of the pepper plant. Even the so-called vegetables, namely, okra, cucumber, tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant, are also fruits. Jalapeno isn’t just to add spiciness, but it offers some fantastic benefits as well.
How Hot are Jalapeno Peppers?
Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) is used to measure the pungency of chili peppers. The SHU of an average jalapeno is 2500 – 8000. However, some of its species have mild and higher spiciness. But if you compared this pepper fruit with the hottest pepper in the world i.e., Carolina reaper having 2,200,000 Scoville Heat Units, then jalapeno seems like a sweet for you.
Common Jalapeno Varieties
Some of the delicious, spicy, and flavorful varieties of jalapeno are described below:
1. Purple Jalapeno Pepper
Fruit Size: 2 to 3 Inches
Purple jalapeno is a beautiful variant of the regular jalapeno pepper. Jalapeno of this variety changes its color from green to dark purple, then ultimately turns deep red. This variety flourishes in full sun with purple flowers. Most importantly, purple jalapeno is edible and delicious at every stage.
2. Yellow Jalapeno Pepper (Jaloro)
Fruit Size: Small (under 2 inches) Medium (4 to 6 inches)
Yellow jalapeno or Jaloro is a crossbreed variant of the original jalapeno. It’s mildly hot and has a fruity aftertaste. In 1992 the Texas Agriculture Extension Service created its first ‘Yellow jalapeno pepper,’ which shows strong resistance against the pepper viruses.
3. Mucho Nacho Jalapeno
Fruit Size: Up to 4 inches long
Ideal for filling and grilling, this jalapeno variety is excellent for flavoring a variety of dishes. Mucho nacho jalapeno begins with green and turns red in color when mature. This is one of the hottest and delicious species of jalapenos on the list.
4. Black Jalapeno
Fruit Size: Up to 3.5 inches long
Yeah! You heard it right! Jalapenos also come in black. Hotter than the regular jalapenos, the fruit of this variety starts with green, then black, and turns red when ripen. It’s one of the flavorous jalapeno variety. Next time, you see a black jalapeno, eat it without being afraid of a rotten one.
5. Billy Biker Jalapeno
Fruit Size: Up to 4 to 6 inches long
Billy biker jalapenos are the hottest variety of jalapeno. They offer larger fruit in comparison to the rest of the varieties. Don’t ever eat them raw because of their pungent taste and excessive spiciness. You can use them to enhance the flavor of a number of dishes.
6. TAM Jalapeno
Fruit Size: Small (under 2 inches in length) Medium (4 to 6 inches in length)
If you are a fan of jalapenos, but don’t like their extra spiciness? Then, this TAM jalapeno variety is for you. This specie has a mild heat with the strong taste of regular jalapenos. TAM jalapeno flourishes well in full sun and well-drained soil.
7. Early Jalapeno
Fruit Size: Small (under 2 inches in length) Medium (4 to 6 inches in length)
This jalapeno variety becomes mature in a short period, i.e., within 60 days, hence the name ‘Early jalapeno.’ If you live in an area where the growing season doesn’t last for long, then early jalapeno is for you. Because of its early maturing ability, it’s a strong contender in the farming.
8. Sierra Fuego Jalapeno
Fruit Size: 3.5 inches long
The Sierra Fuego jalapeno offers a huge amount of pepper fruit in comparison to the rest of the varieties. This pepper starts with green, then turns red in color when ripen. Sierra Fuego is hybrid and hotter than the regular jalapeno.
How to Grow Jalapenos in a Pot?
Planting jalapenos in a pot not only gives you fresh pepper fruit but save your few bucks as well. Instead of using seeds, purchase a seedling of jalapeno from your nearest nursery. Follow the below steps to grow jalapeno pepper plant in a pot:
1. Pot Selection – First, choose a pot that’s twice as deep and wide in comparison to the nursery pot. Make sure that it has proper drainage holes.
2. Organic Potting Soil – Now, fill the pot halfway with organic potting soil and a little bit of compost.
3. Remove Seedling from Nursery Pot – Take out the root ball of jalapeno seedling from the nursery pot. Loosen up its roots and soil using your hands with firm pressure.
4. Plant the Seedling into a New Pot – Now, set the root ball into the pot. Add more potting soil around it, until it’s covered properly and press the soil with your hands. Be careful not to damage the roots while doing this procedure.
5. Water the Plant – Once it’s done, give the plant a good watering.
- Jalapeno plant loves full sun. Put the plant under the direct sunlight for at least 6 hrs.
- Always make sure to water them regularly.
- Repot the plant every two weeks, as it gets bigger.
Benefits of Jalapeno
Jalapenos are rich in essential nutritional elements, and their daily consumption can provide you with a variety of health benefits.
1. Can Promote Weight loss
Jalapeno is an effective way to lose those extra pounds. It’s effective because of the capsaicinoids named active ingredients. Eating jalapenos on a daily basis increases your metabolism, reduces your appetite, and energy intake. However, regular exercise and a good routine also play a vital role in weight loss.
2. Fights Against Infections
As jalapeno is a potent anti-microbial agent, it inhibits a number of infections, causing bacteria such as Streptococcus pyogenes, B. cereus, Clostridium tetani, and B. subtilis. This is all possible due to the capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin content present in the jalapeno.
3. Has Anti-Oxidant Properties
Jalapeno has huge amounts of antioxidant properties because of its richness in vitamin C and E. Antioxidants fight against the free radicals that damage the healthy cells. According to a study of “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry,” Fresh jalapeno has high antioxidant content in comparison to the canned ones.
4. Possess Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Jalapeno possesses anti-inflammatory properties, thanks to its active ingredient ‘Capsaicin.’ This characteristic makes it a major candidate against various types of inflammatory diseases. Eat it regularly to reap its plethora of health benefits.
5. Keep Your Heart Healthy
According to a well-reputed study, capsaicin found in jalapeno chili pepper can keep your heart healthy by lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The preliminary research shows its potential, however, more human studies are needed to be done.
Top Five Recipes that Uses Jalapeno
Below are the 5 most popular recipes that include jalapeno as the main ingredient.
1. Jan’s Jalapeno Popper Pizza
Enriched with flavor and goodness of jalapenos, try this delicious pizza that can be prepared within an hour. The full recipe is here.
2. Smoky Jalapenos
Make this mouthwatering bacon-wrapped smoky jalapeno appetizers, that ensures no leftovers. You can use any variety of jalapenos, but the yellow one is preferable.
3. Quick 10 Minute Pickled Jalapenos
If you are a pickle lover and prefer to make it on your own. Then try this tangy and sweet pickled jalapenos that can be prepared only in 10 minutes. The detailed recipe is here.
4. Jalapeno Popper Corn Salad
This creamy salad is filled with the flavors of jalapeno and the sweetness of fresh corns. Try this amazing jalapeno recipe that will definitely leave you speechless.
5. Kiwi-Jalapeno Jam
Instead of using the store-bought commercially produced jam, try this homemade kiwi-jalapeno jam. It’s ideal for spreading on bread or with any dish you want. Try this recipe now.
Precautions to Consider
Jalapeno is safe and known for its immense health advantages. But it’s essential to keep in mind some precautions while eating this spicy fruit.
- Wear hand gloves while handling the jalapeno, as it’s spicy and can cause irritation or burning sensation if accidentally get into your eyes.
- While purchasing jalapenos, always avoid the scarred ones, because they are spicier than usual.
- Avoid over-consumption of jalapenos, as they can cause stinging sensation inside your mouth for a short period. Drinking a glass of milk may give you some relief from it.
- If you want less spicy jalapenos, then remove their inner white membrane, as they have a higher concentration of compound named ‘Capsaicin,’ responsible for their spiciness.
- If you are suffering from heartburn, avoid the use of jalapenos.
We hope, after reading the above article, you’ll understand the answer to, Is jalapeno a fruit or vegetable. Include them in your meals and enjoy the spiciness along with their potential advantages. Besides this, do you know, that cherry stems possess health benefits as well, check it out!