Jalapeño seasoning salt is a mixture of dried jalapeño peppers and salt. It is the condiment of choice for those who find habanero being too spicy and chipotle being too smoky. And, although this spice blend is native to Mexico, it is also widely used worldwide. In fact, it is one of the significant ingredients in crafting Tex-Mex or southern cuisine. A subtle saltiness along with a mild heat is what this seasoning provides. Jalapeño seasoning salt can be added during cooking. But, it is more popular to be used as a finishing salt to foods like pizzas, burritos, and even popcorn.
Jalapeño Seasoning Salt Trivia
- Jalapeño seasoning salt can be as low as 2,500 Scoville Heat Units (SHU) and as high as 10,000.
- Jalapeño is named after the city of Xalapa, also spelled as Jalapa, in Mexico.
- The National Hot and Spicy Food Day is celebrated every August 19th.
- Jalapeños were the first peppers to reach space via a NASA shuttle.
- Jalapeño seasoning salt can help in lowering blood pressure; it can also alleviate migraines.
- Jalapeño seasoning salt supports weight loss; it helps in boosting metabolism.
Jalapeño Seasoning Salt Buying Guide
Jalapeño seasoning salt is relatively easy to find in your favorite grocery stores and online shops. The only downside of buying commercially produced ones is the purity of its ingredients, as most of them have a high concentration of salt, spices and herbs, even stabilizers, and other preservatives. Another disadvantage is that you wouldn’t know how old the jalapeños are. The older they are, the tamer the flavor it brings, making it quite inconvenient to keep adjusting your recipes. Nevertheless, here are some things to look out for when you opt to buy the store-bought ones:
- You can find the jalapeño seasoning salt in the spice aisle section of the store.
- Check out the sodium content as commercially-produced jalapeño seasoning goes heavy on the salt. Better yet, opt for no-salt-added, reduced-sodium, or low-sodium, and just add salt as you normally flavor your dishes. And yes, some jalapeño salt seasonings are salt-free.
- Check out the ingredients list to see if there are other spices involved in the product.
- As always, pick the ones with lesser preservatives and hard to pronounce chemicals.
- Buy from stores that have a high turn-over rate.
- Often, seasonings from local food vendors and artisans in farmers’ markets are better than the mass-produced ones. Here, you’ll get close to no preservatives and the ingredients are usually organic. Their products are made in small batches and you might be able to get free samples along the way. And don’t forget that our Texas Real Food website is home to all Texan vendors that would love to hear from you.
Jalapeño Seasoning Salt Production & Farming in Texas
Jalapeño seasoning salt is composed of two obvious ingredients: jalapeño peppers and salt. As we now know, jalapeño is the state pepper of the Texas state. Texas is the third leading producer of jalapeños in the United States, following California and New Mexico. Thus, jalapeños are widely grown in this area, especially in the southern region, where peppers are usually harvested towards the beginning of the fall season. Due to modernization, some farmers grow these peppers in greenhouses so that they can harvest it throughout the season at their own convenience. On the other hand, salt is known as the oldest and most used mineral in the state. The city of Grand Saline even has enough salt to cover for another 200 centuries. Thus, the state is home to numerous producers of salt.
Pesticides, additives, and chemicals:
Jalapeño seasoning salt is usually free from additives and chemicals. However, some manufacturers add some chemicals to fortify the product while mass-producing a longer-lasting item at a lesser cost. Here are some additives and chemicals that we found on a few brands:
- MSG – Monosodium Glutamate is used to enhance the flavor of almost any product. It is the one responsible for creating that umami flavor. Although it is generally classified as safe to consume, it can cause headaches, flushing, palpitations, sweating, nausea, numbness, and weakness to some people. It allegedly can cause asthma, brain damages, and even cancer; however, these allegations remained controversial.
- Natural flavorings – These are additives that are used to intensify the flavors of the product. For jalapeño seasoning salt, some natural flavorings include garlic, onion, sugar, green bell pepper, and other spices and herbs.
- Silicon Dioxide – This chemical compound is also known as silica. It is used as a thickener, stabilizer, anticaking agent, and carrier for aroma and flavor. Although it is safe to consume, it can lead to lung problems when consumed past its RDA.
- Rice concentrate – In the absence of the synthetic silicon dioxide, rice concentrate has been the substitute additive. Likewise, it acts as a thickener, stabilizer, anticaking agent, and carrier for aroma and flavor. It is sometimes listed as “rice hulls” and it is the fiber and silica part of rice’s bran. Technically speaking, rice concentrate does not have any white rice. And although it is generally classified as safe to consume, it can cause itchiness and rashes to the skin.
- Caramel Color – It is a water-soluble food coloring that is made from caramelizing natural sources such as sugar or corn. Nonetheless, it acts as an emulsifier and a dye for a more appetizing color. Although this additive is generally safe to eat, it might increase the risk of high blood pressure or hypertension if eaten regularly and in great amounts.
- Gum Arabic – This additive is a natural gum that is made from the sap of the Acacia tree. It acts as a thickener, stabilizer, and emulsifier to bind all the flavorings and sweeteners included in the product. Hence, although it is classified as safe to consume, it can cause nausea, bloatedness, and mild diarrhea.
Jalapeño seasoning salt is packaged in many ways. It can come in either single-use or resealable pouches, packets, pet bottles, paper containers, cans, jars, and cartons. Another popular packaging of this product is the plastic or glass bottle with an attached grinder on its cap.
Enjoying Jalapeño Seasoning Salt
Jalapeño salt is the seasoning of choice when you’re looking for a mild saltiness with subtle heat. It can be sprinkled on dishes while cooking or curing, or you can use it as a finishing salt on pizzas, tacos, burritos, burgers, steak, vegetable specialties, and even in popcorns.
Jalapeño seasoning salt is best kept in a sealable bag or air-tight container. You can also put them in shakers with a lid on. It should be then stored in a cool and dry area far from humid and hot zones like stoves, grills, and ovens to prolong their shelf life. You may opt to use a funnel when transferring the seasoning into jar shakers to prevent it from spilling. Although jalapeño seasoning salt can last for about 3-4 years, its flavor weakens over time and it might absorb some moisture, which can make it lumpy. Thus, your seasoning is at its best within the first 3 months from the production date.
Make your own Jalapeño Seasoning Salt:
As we now know that jalapeño seasoning salt can be done from scratch by anyone in the comfort of their homes, it’s time to get started. We highly suggest that you do this ahead of time and store it until you’re ready to use it. You can also put the seasoning salt in jar shakers for easy access and convenience. Below is a quick recipe that you will surely love:
Yield: 2 cups / 32 tablespoons
- 1 ½ lbs jalapeño peppers
- ½ cup salt (table salt or a combination of different salts)
- ¼ cup total of garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, Mexican oregano, chili powder (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 150ºF or set the dehydrator to 95ºF.
- Meanwhile, prepare the jalapeños by slicing them in half-lengthwise or quarter-lengthwise, depending on the size of the peppers. Wash them nicely with warm water and dry thoroughly using a kitchen towel. Chef tip: Use a pair of gloves or thong when handling the peppers as it can burn your skin.
- Lay them separately on a sheet tray and dry them for 10-12 hours. If your oven has fans, turn it on. The jalapeño peppers have to be completely dry but still malleable.
- Cool the jalapeños down to room temperature and pulverize them using a blender or food processor to make jalapeño powder – sometimes all you need is two or three pulses! Chef tip: When opening the lid of your equipment, do not let your face close to the vessel. Powdered jalapeños can go through the air and it might hurt your eyes if you do that. Just, prepare to sneeze though.
- Add salt in the mixture and store your jalapeño seasoning salt in ziplock bags or shakers.