Jalapeño is a medium-sized chili pepper native to Mexico. It is also known as the chile gordo, a Spanish term that translates to “fat chili pepper.” Perhaps, due to its round shape and wide size. Jalapeños consistently range from 2-4 inches long and 1-1.5 inches wide. They have a thicker skin when compared to other hot peppers such as serrano and habanero. Thus, they offer a wonderful crunch and thickness that works perfectly on salsas, guacamoles, and other garnishes. They also provide refreshing, rich, smoky, and earthy flavor notes, especially when roasted or smoked. Furthermore, they also give a mild heat, with Scoville units that range between 3,500 to 8,000. This makes its heat ranks at 1/600th of the world’s hottest peppers.
Nevertheless, the name “jalapeño” is a Spanish word that means “from Xalapa,” which is also spelled with the “J.” It is the capital city of Veracruz, Mexico, where the peppers originated. Jalapeños exist even before the conquest of Spain. The Ancient Aztecs were the first ones to use them. However, they smoke-dry these peppers instead of eating them. These smoke-dried jalapeños are what we know and call chipotle. Chipotles, along with its byproducts like chipotle moles, soon become popular in the Aztec markets. Then, it was introduced in the United States as a way of preserving food. Today, Mexico remains to be the leading producer of jalapeños worldwide. In America, these peppers lead in the states of California, New Mexico, and Texas, especially to the areas near the border of Mexico. Furthermore, jalapeño pepper has become the official state pepper of the Texas state since 1995.
Family: Solanaceae (Nightshade)
Genus: Capsicum (Pepper)
Species: Capsicum Annuum
Binomial Name: Capsicum Annuum ‘Jalapeño’
Jalapeño Pepper Trivia
- The National Hot and Spicy Food Day is celebrated every August 19th.
- Jalapeños were the first peppers to reach space via a NASA shuttle.
- 16 is the Guinness World Records’ most number of jalapeño eaten in a minute. It was Alfredo Hernandes who won the award on the 17th of September 2006, at the La Costeña Feel the Heat Challenge in Chicago, Illinois.
- On the 1st of May 2011, the Major League Eating records Patrick Bertolli for eating 275 pickled jalapeños in 8 minutes. On the 16th of September 2007, he ate 191 pickled jalapeños in 6.5 minutes in the “Short-Form.”
- Cocaine was being shipped from Mexico to the United States through pickled jalapeños.
- In order to ship cocaine to the United States, Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin Guzman “El Chapo” operated a “Comadre Jalapeños” cannery in the Mexican city of Guadalajara, Mexico.