If you like hot and spicy food, I'm sure you've had your eyes water from jalapeño peppers a time or two. But have you thought about growing them yourself? I've grown them a few times and there are many reasons for doing so. Jalapeño peppers have more benefits than just clearing out your sinuses while ingesting them. There are some health benefits. Hot peppers have shown to reduce blood pressure, may protect against some forms of cancer, may boost metabolism and, believe it or not, improve digestion. They contain vitamin A and C as well as beta-carotene and are low in fat and calories.
They are very easy to grow; just make sure they get plenty of sun. The growing period for a jalapeño plant is 70–80 days. When mature, the plant stands two and a half to three feet tall. Typically, a single plant will produce twenty five to thirty five pods. You will probably only need one plant. Jalapeño plants have shown to be a good repellant against some insects and critters. Many gardeners plant jalapeño pepper plants near their other crops to take advantage of this natural repellant.
Some think jalapeño are really hot. Well, yes and no. The jalapeño rates between 2,500 and 8,000 Scoville units in heat, but if you compare them to other peppers they are just child's play. From jalapenomadness.com below are the hotness rankings of some peppers of note from 'mild' to 'are you kidding me?':
Pepper Type & Scoville Units
Pepperoncini - tart and mildly hot -- 100 ~ 500
Jalapeño - most popular hot pepper -- 2,500 ~ 8,000
Chipolte - popular spice in restaurants -- 5,000 ~ 8,000
Cayenne - hot spice used in cooking -- 30,000 ~ 50,000
Orange Habanero - HOT pepper popular in chili -- 150,000 ~ 325,000
Naga Jolokia - Hindi for "Run Away Now!" -- 800,000 ~ 1,001,300
Pure Capsaicin - 100% pure adrenaline -- 15-16,000,000
Frankly, I like spicy food, but I'm scared of anything hotter than cayenne. I'll stick with my jalapeño peppers, thank you very much. By the way, capsaican is the compound that is the 'hotness' of the peppers. It's not a good idea to come into direct contact with it.
It's important to note that jalapeño peppers right off the plant are hotter than those in stores. I found that out the hard way. Ouch, pass the milk! I didn't know that after time and processing of the peppers they tend to lose a little of their fire. Anyway, I am a big fan of jalapeño pepper slices on many things - from nachos, chili and even in sandwiches. Yummy.
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Clay Miller (Clay_Miller)
Graphic designer/illustrator and owner of Miller Creative Designs, LLC who on Lunch.com likes to shareinsight on Greenand health insight, ideas and other tidbits.Creator/writer of Ways2GoGreen .com& … more
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The jalapeño is a vegetable, medium- to large-sized chili pepper which is prized for its warm, burning sensation when eaten. Ripe, the jalapeño can be 2–3½ inches (5–9 cm) long and is commonly sold when still green. It is a cultivar of the species Capsicum annuum originating in Mexico. It is named after the town of Xalapa, Veracruz, where it was traditionally produced. 160 square kilometres are dedicated for the cultivation of jalapeños in Mexico alone, primarily in the Papaloapan river basin in the north of the state of Veracruz and in the Delicas, Chihuahua area.