Jalapeno is one of the most favoured varieties of chilli pepper that has been used for ages as a key ingredient to spice up a spectrum of culinary delights. This popular vegetable is botanically classified into fruit pods that belong to the genus Capsicum, members of the nightshade family Solanaceae, jalapenos are closely related to paprika, bell peppers and cayenne peppers. These small, fiery green peppers provide more than a kick of flavour and taste to nachos, tacos, pizza and many more delicacies.

A native species of Mexico and North America, it is a staple element in Tex-Mex cuisine, today these hot peppers are widely grown across the globe. Jalapenos are commonly pickled and consumed when green, but occasionally, they are allowed to completely ripen and turn red, yellow, or orange. The name jalapeno is derived from the Spanish word Xalapa, (also spelt Jalapa) the capital city of Veracruz, Mexico, where this hot pepper was originally cultivated for centuries. Later, it was familiarised to the rest of the globe through Spanish travellers.

Also Read: Capsicum: Different Types of Bell Peppers, Health Benefits, Nutrition in Red Capsicum, Recipes
Jalapeno Plant

Jalapeno Plant

Jalapeno is a perennial small herbaceous plant that grows up to 24-28 inches in height, bearing bullet-shaped fruits that is 6 to 7 cm long which comprises numerous white, circular, and flat seeds. Jalapeno peppers are small, green, or red in colour and moderately spicy that grows well in fertile, well-drained soil conditions. Adequate sunlight and moisture requirements are other factors that influence the flower, foliage, and fruiting of the plant. The active alkaloid compounds capsaicin, capsanthin and capsorubin contribute to its strong spicy taste.

Fresh green jalapeno peppers are readily available all-round the season. While buying jalapenos choose green, firm, uniform-sized pepper that are smooth with shiny skin and blunt ends. Avoid buying dry, wilt and pods with cracks, cuts, and surface bruising. Jalapenos can be stored at home in a vegetable cabinet inside the refrigerator at high relative humidity and it keep well for up to a week. While pickled jalapenos can be preserved for several months, when stored in the fridge. Choose fresh green jalapenos and add them to mashed potato, avocado, eggs, salad, dips, hummus, and curries to confer extra nutrition and spice.

What Is Jalapeno Called In India?

India is one of the largest producers of jalapenos, it is cultivated in the fine hilly soil regions and processes more than 10,000 metric tons of jalapenos in a year. It goes by several vernacular names such as Lalmirchi in Hindi, Lanka Maricha in Bengali, Menasinakai in Kannada, Molagu in Malayalam, Lal mircho in Marathi, Mircha Kaya in Telugu, and Milagai in Tamil.

How Hot Is Jalapeno?

The spiciness of food items is measured by the Scoville Heat unit scale and going by its standard measure, jalapeno has a wide range of pungency and fall in the medium hot range, units of 3500-8000.

Also Read: Are Chillies Really Good For You? Find Out More
Jalapeno

Nutritional Facts

Jalapenos are extremely low in calories and abound with nutrients including vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants. Being rich in vitamins A, C that works as potent antioxidants help combat free radical damage to the cells and bolsters the immune system and keeps the skin firm and radiant. While it is also loaded with vitamins B6 and folate that are actively involved in several bodily functions. Aside from these, one of the most active compounds in jalapenos is capsaicin, an alkaloid that renders peppers their characteristic spicy nature and offers umpteen number of health benefitting properties.

The nutritional value of 100-gram raw Jalapeno, according to the data provided by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture):

Energy 29 calories

Protein 0.9 gram

Dietary fibre 2.8 grams

Vitamins

Folate 27 µg

Niacin 1.280 mg

Pantothenic acid 0.315 mg

Pyridoxine 0.419mg

Riboflavin 0.070mg

Thiamine 0.040mg

Vitamin A 1078 IU

Vitamin C 118.6mg

Vitamin E 3.58 mg

Vitamin K 18.5mcg

Sodium      3 mg

Potassium  248 mg     

Minerals             

Calcium      12 mg       

Copper       0.046 mg

Iron   0.25 mg    

Magnesium         15 mg       

Manganese         0.097 mg  

Phosphorus         26 mg

Selenium   0.4 µg       

Zinc   0.14 mg
Jalapeno pieces

Health Benefits Of Jalapeno

Supports Weight Loss

Jalapenos may help you lose weight considerably by triggering the metabolism, burning fat, and lowering appetite. The rich array of active compounds presents in Jalapeno including capsaicin and capsaicinoids have proven to boost metabolism by 5 %, thereby making it easier to shed those stubborn fats. Additionally, capsaicinoid supplements hold a significant role in reducing abdominal fat and cut down overall calorie intake by 50%. Thus, adding jalapeno as part of regular cooking is well-known to reduce the risk of becoming overweight or obese over a period.

Boosts Immunity

Fresh jalapeno is laden with vitamin C that provides about 118 mcg or almost 200% of the daily allowance of vitamin C per serving. Being a potent antioxidant, vitamin C is needed for collagen synthesis in the system, which plays a key role in maintaining the integrity of blood vessels, skin, tissues, organs, and bones. Adding foods rich in vitamin C supports the body to scavenge detrimental toxins, pro-inflammatory free radicals, bolsters the immune system and keep diseases at bay.

Prevents Cancer

The active compound capsaicin in jalapenos is credited for its potent anti-cancer traits, which are phenomenal for killing over 40 types of cancers without disturbing normal cells. It combats cancer by inhibiting the growth and division of cancer cells, slow down the formation of new blood cells around tumours and avert the spreading of cancers to other areas of the body.

Remedies Stomach Ulcers

Stomach ulcer is a common health condition that affects most people and caused due to the growth of H. Pylori bacteria, increased acid secretion, improper blood flow, stress, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking. Intake of spicy foods like jalapenos are known to worsen stomach ulcers, however, studies have proven this to be false. The fact is capsaicin in pepper may shield the stomach from developing ulcers and reducing stomach inflammation.

Natural Pain Relievers

Capsaicin works as an incredible pain reliever when applied topically. It eases pain temporarily by blocking the pain receptors cells in the regions where it is applied. It may produce a burning sensation initially, followed by numbness and offer total respite from pain. Nowadays, capsaicin lotions and patches are used to alleviate pain caused by the shingles virus, diabetic neuropathic pain and chronic muscle and joint pain. Furthermore, a nasal spray containing capsaicin is also beneficial in easing migraines.

Also Read: Heart Health: 5 Must-to-Add Spices In Your Diet Regimen For Enhanced Cardiac Well-being

Augments Heart Health

Capsaicin annum is attributed to diminishing bad cholesterol levels and lowers the aggregation of the platelet. Packed with huge volumes of vitamin C, A, and bioflavonoids, jalapeno helps to improve blood circulation and dilates blood vessels. Furthermore, it also helps to regulate blood pressure and lowers the risk of developing heart attack, stroke, and atherosclerosis.

Fights Infection

The host of bioactive compounds and vitamins present in jalapenos are potentially powerful in slowing the growth of foodborne bacteria and yeast. The extracts from jalapeno can impede the cholera bacteria from producing toxins and mitigates the impact of this foodborne infection. Moreover, several pieces of evidence have also shown that strong antibacterial activities of jalapenos help prevent strep throat, tooth decay and chlamydia infection.

How Do Jalapeno Peppers Taste Like?

Jalapenos are usually picked green and have a bold, grassy flavour and mildly bitter taste when they are unripened. As they turn red and ripen, they do not get any hotter, but the taste becomes somewhat fruitier and less grassy.

Also Read: Bell Peppers: Why This Colourful Veggie Should Be Part Of Your Daily Diet

Jalapeno Recipes

Jalapeno peppers not only taste splendid in every Mexican dish but also goes well in stir-fries, gravies, pickles, eggs, burgers, dips, salads, hummus to mention a few. This green fiery pepper is one of the tastiest spices around. Not only does it bring a kick of heat to dishes, but also adds a zingy flavour that is quite hard to replicate with any other ingredient.

Jalapeno Cheese Dip
Jalapeno Cheese Dip

Jalapeno cheese dip is a perfect accompaniment that goes well with crackers, bread, fitters, nuggets, nachos and tachos and many other snacks.

Ingredients

1 tbsp finely chopped, jalapeño pepper

1 tbsp unsalted butter

1 tbsp corn flour

3/4 cup milk

1 clove finely chopped, garlic

1 cup shredded cedar cheese

1 tsp cayenne pepper powder

Method:

In a saucepan melt the butter over medium heat, then add flour and whisk until it dissolves.

Add milk and whisk well to combine. To this add jalapeno pepper, garlic and stir continuously until the mixture thickens.

Remove the sauce from heat and add shredded cheddar cheese and cayenne pepper and stir well until the cheese is melted.

Nutritional Fact

Jalapeno dip is a good source of vitamins A, C, B, K and E that helps to boost overall health and well-being. Cheese packed with protein and calcium supports weight gain in a healthy way and fortifies bone and dental health. Furthermore, garlic makes it super delicious and provide you with healing activities.

Stuffed Jalapeno Pepper

Stuffed Jalapeno Pepper

Stuffed Jalapeño Peppers is a tasty recipe, made with a blend of spices, besan flour and herbs that serve as a great appetizer.

Ingredients

6 jalapeño peppers

1/2 cup besan flour

1 tbsp cumin powder

1 tbsp coriander powder

1 tsp garam masala powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp red chilli powder

Oil as required

2 tsp lime juice

Salt to taste

Method

For The Stuffing:

In a heavy bottom pan add besan flour and dry roast for 2-3 minutes, then add all the masala and spice powders and salt.

Keep stirring for a few minutes until the raw smell of the masala goes and the mixture should give a nice aroma from herbs and spices.

Turn off the flame, add lime juice when the mixture cools down and if it is dry, drizzle a few drops of water or oil. Stuffing is ready now.

To Stuff The Peppers:

Wash and dry the jalapenos.

With help of a sharp knife, slit in each pepper and carefully de-seed the peppers.

Stuff each jalapeno with prepared mixture carefully.

Heat the pan and add oil, place the stuffed jalapenos on the pan and cook them covered for a minute or two.

Then flip over carefully to cook the other side until the jalapenos turn nicely brown and wrinkled.

Serve warm with rice.

Nutrition Fact

Jalapeno is high in vitamins A, C, and antioxidants, that helps in triggering the immune system and fight infections. Besan flour is a great source of protein, fibre and vitamins, aids to regulate sugar levels and keep you satiated. While cumin, coriander powders support in improving digestion.

Side Effects

Jalapenos are mostly associated with many noticeable health benefits, however, there are also some potential side effects. Temporary burning sensation of the mouth after eating raw jalapeno is a common side effect, that may range from mild to severe depending on the spiciness of hot chilli.

To lessen the spiciness, you can remove the white membranes inside the jalapeno before cooking, as they have the highest concentration of capsaicin. People with acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome may limit the usage of jalapenos, as it may trigger symptoms. Other common side effects of taking excess amounts of jalapenos include abdominal cramp, burning, cramping and diarrhoea.

Conclusion:

Jalapenos are versatile fruits that pack with an impressive profile of nutrients and can be relished in a spectrum of culinary delights. These hot peppers are bestowed active compound capsaicin that is credited for several of their wellness incentives, including weight loss, pain relief, boost heart health and lowers the risk of cancer and ulcer. If you are one who relishes spicy foods and does not experience any side effects, jalapenos can be a healthy addition to your meal plan that renders extra zest and nutrition.