How to tell if a pepper is hot?

Photo: Katherine Lenhart

There are peppers you know are going to be spicy (habaneros) and peppers you know are not (bell), but then there are the peppers that could be mild, hot, or “please remove my tongue from my mouth and place it in a glass of ice milk.” Luckily, there is an easy way to predict the spicy outcome, and it was right under our noses all along.

As Justin Chapple explained on this episode of Cookery by the Book, all you have to do to estimate a pepper’s spiciness is give it a sniff:

I actually learned this trick from my friend Melissa Clark who works for the New York Times. She said, what you do is you cut the jalapeno or the chili in half, and then you smell it. If it smells like a bell pepper, then it’s sweeter. But if it smells really spicy then you know it’s going to be a really hot chili, and you should maybe start with less before you add more. She taught me that, and I was like, why have I not ever known that? It’s such a brilliant trick.


Like Justin, I am also a little disappointed I didn’t already know that. It is as plain as the nose on my face, and I have kind of a big nose.

#96 | Just Cook It! | Cookery by the Book

It wasn’t until recently that researchers really understood the source of the ghost’s heat. One day last fall, Bosland and his colleagues were in the field cutting some ghost peppers when they noticed that the peppers walls were glistening in the sunlight. “Because the skin of the fruit is kind of a red-orange color, it’s sometimes hard to see that yellow vesicle. It just doesn’t pop out at you like it does on the white placenta tissue,” said Bosland. The glistening made them think that perhaps the veins weren’t just along the interior placenta, but lining the inside wall of the fruit itself. Bosland took the peppers to Peter Cooke, who runs the electron microscope lab at New Mexico State University, to image it.

It turns out that capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their fire, is well suited to fluorescence microscopy: Under the right conditions (think blacklights), it naturally glows in the dark. By giving the peppers the blacklight treatment, the researchers were able to show that though many varieties store the bulk of their heat in the center pith, some peppers work differently. They published their research in late 2015 in the Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science.

Bosland and Cooke found that super-hot chili peppers—fruits that top one million on the Scoville scale—store as much heat in their fleshy skins as they do in the pith. In a jalapeno, if you remove the seed capsule, you slash the amount of capsaicin by roughly 100 percent—essentially all of the heat is in the placenta. But if you remove the veins and seed capsule from a ghost pepper, you reduce the amount of capsaicin by only 50 percent. In super-hot peppers, roughly half their capsaicin is stored in the skin. Stated plainly, super-hot peppers don’t just have more capsaicin than chiller peppers; they store it differently.

“I’ve been saying that super-hot peppers are different for ten years,” said Ed Currie of the South Carolina based Pucker Butt Pepper Company. Currie breeds the Carolina Reaper, which at 1.5 million SHU claimed the title of the world’s hottest pepper in 2013. He’s also currently preparing to unveil a new pepper, currently titled HP56, which tops the Scoville scale at 2.2 million SHU—essentially with a bite as hot as pepper spray but in fruit form.

Currie can recite the health benefits of spice like a true pepper evangelist: The skin of super-hot peppers, he notes, has been studied for its cancer-fighting properties and effects on metabolism.

In fact, several studies in rodents and cells have found that capsaicin may help to fight cancers ranging from prostate cancer to colon cancer to leukemia. A 2015 study published in BMJ found that individuals who ate spicy foods almost every day had a 14-percent decreased likelihood of dying. Capsaicin is already a treatment for psoriasis and muscle aches—synthetic capsaicinoids are the key ingredients in over the counter muscle creams like Bengay.


Harvesting Jalapeno Peppers

In 3 – 4 month’s time, you’ll be ready to pick your jalapeno peppers. Ripe jalapenos are a 4 – 6 inches long, fat, firm, and develop a bright sheen.

They will turn a bright green, then begin to darken to a deeper green, then to black, and then to red. Jalapenos are ready to be picked when they are firm and bright green, but you can leave them on the plant all the way until they turn red.

Growing peppers can be a lot of fun but beware, peppers will eventually fall off the plant if you leave them for too long, which will increase the chance of rotting.

Red jalapeno peppers are sweeter to the taste and not quite as hot, though they absolutely retain their jalapeno heat and flavor.

It is all a matter of personal taste. If you plan to dry your peppers, leave them on until they are red.

When peppers are done growing they will pull off the plant very easily. If they don’t come off easily they are still growing. Sometimes tiny brown lines will form on the peppers.

These are growth lines and indicate the pepper is done growing. If these lines are forming, pick the pepper regardless of it’s size.

If for any reason a pepper is picked before it is ripe, you can place it on a south-facing windowsill until it is bright green and ripe.

The more peppers you pick the more will harvest so pick peppers often as soon as they are ripe to continue your harvest growing.

No matter what type of pepper, they do not like weather that is too cold. If there is fear of frost, you can cover it at night and uncover it in the morning. has a garden area that tells you the risk of frost and the freeze risk. Do not go by frost risk, but instead go by freeze risk.

If there is a chance of freezing, the plants will not survive.

I’d suggest picking every pepper prior to any freeze risk or prior to it getting around 35 degrees at night. If the temperature drops lower than this the plant will die and the peppers will shrivel and die.

Tomatoes are only slightly different. Most of the tomatoes can still be picked even after the plant has died. Then they can finish ripening on the window sill in the sun.

Store the peppers in a clear bag in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer for up to two weeks.

If you aren’t able to eat your peppers within two weeks, there are many ways you can preserve them for continued use all year long.

Preserving Jalapeno Peppers

From Mildest to Hottest: A Guide to Peppers

Posted by Susan Waggoner
Sunday, November 26th, 2017

The mildest peppers such as sweet bell peppers and cherry peppers are at the bottom of the Scoville scale. In the middle are peppers like Serrano, yellow hot wax peppers, and red cayenne peppers. At the hottest end of the heat scale are the Habanero and the Scotch Bonnet.

What Makes Peppers Hot?

Several factors account for peppers’ heat. First, of course, is the type of pepper you’re dealing with and, beyond that, whether the particular strain of that pepper has been bred for maximum or minimum heat. The next factor is whether you remove the seeds and fleshy internal ribs of the pepper, where most of the heat resides. Finally, heat depends on when the pepper was harvested. Peppers that are harvested while still green have less heat, while those harvested when they have begun to ripen to red, orange or golden are hotter. Hotter still are peppers that have been left to fully ripen on the vine.

A few peppers, like the sweet bell peppers we’re all familiar with or the pimentos we find in green olives, will never be hot. Most peppers, however, provide a kick of warmth ranging from mild to volcanic. And how are unsuspecting pepper-lovers to know what they’re about to bite into?

A century ago, pharmacist Wilbur Scoville designed a heat-scoring test for peppers that’s still in use today. While an individual pepper can taste milder or hotter than its score due to other variables, and taste sensitivity can vary from person to person, the Scoville scale is a good guide to picking packs of peppers.

Sweet to Mild Peppers

Sweet bell peppers, in shades of red, green, orange and yellow, are the most commonly sold peppers in America. Their crisp, sweet flesh is perfect for salads, sandwiches, and dipping.
Scoville Rating: 0

Pepperoncini have a light green skin and are usually sold pickled. They are also known as Tuscan peppers or sweet Italian peppers.
Scoville Rating: 100 – 600

Photo Credit: Delicious on a Dollar

Cubanelle peppers, better known as Italian frying peppers, are very mild and perfect for sautéing. If you’ve eaten a sausage and pepper sub, you’ve eaten Cubanelles.
Scoville Rating: 100 – 1,000

Banana peppers, which range from yellow to ripening red, are generally mild enough to eat raw. Like sweet bell peppers, they are popular in salads, on sandwiches, and on pizza.
Scoville Rating: 500

Mild to Medium Peppers

Anaheim peppers, also known as California green chiles, are dagger-shaped hand-length peppers with a tough, light green skin. They are mostly served cooked and are especially popular for making chiles rellenos. When fully ripened, this pepper is known as the California red chile.
Scoville Rating: 500 – 1,000

Poblano peppers are finger-length with smooth, dark green skin. Their thick-fleshed walls make them perfect for roasting and stuffing.
Scoville Rating: 1,000 – 2,000

Ancho peppers are poblanos that have been allowed to ripen to red, then harvested and dried. They are the backbone of many sauces, including mole.
Scoville Rating: 1,000 – 2,000

Medium Peppers

Jalapeño peppers are the world’s most popular pepper, used in everything from salsa to poppers to chili. Though most often harvested green, red jalapeños are also seen in stores. The number of carefully-bred varieties of this little giant accounts for an unusually wide range of heat levels.
Scoville Rating: 2,500 – 8,000

Chipotle is the name given to any variety of jalapeño that has been ripened to red, dried, and smoked. Chipotles are chiefly used as an ingredient in other dishes, and if you’re cooking with them, remember – a chipotle pepper weighs only one-tenth as much as a jalapeño, but packs the same heat, so go by count, not weight.
Scoville Rating: 5,000 – 10,000

Hot wax peppers, also known as Hungarian wax peppers, have a yellow or pale green skin and can easily be mistaken for banana peppers, listed above. However, they’re exponentially hotter, so make sure you know which one you’re dealing with. Hot wax peppers are usually eaten fresh or pickled, and are used to season sauces, soups, and stews.
Scoville Rating: 5,000 – 15,000

Serrano peppers, with their smooth and gloss dark green skin, are a slightly smaller version of a jalapeño, and almost as popular. They are good roasted, and are most often used in sauces, salsas, and as a garnish.
Scoville Rating: 6,000 – 23,000

Hot Peppers

Bahamian peppers, about an inch long, are shaped somewhat like old-fashioned Christmas tree lights. They can be harvested when unripe and green or fully ripe and bright red, and also come shades of orange and bright yellow. Unlike most peppers, which hang from their stems, Bahamian peppers grow in upright clusters, with their pointed tips in the air.
Scoville Rating: 95,000 – 110,000

Carolina Cayenne peppers, developed at Clemson University, they are resistant to a particular crop-destroying nematode. Long, thin, and bright red, the Carolina cayenne is related to – and closely resembles – the cayenne that’s dried and ground into spice. Be sure you know which kind of cayenne pepper you have, though, as a Carolina cayenne is more than twice as hot as a regular cayenne.
Scoville Rating: 100,000 – 125,000

Jamaican peppers are shaped somewhat like the Scotch bonnet, below, except that instead of wearing a Scottish tam, the Jamaican pepper wears a Hamburg-style hat with a crown and a brim. The varieties with the most heat are the hot red and yellow varieties, while another variety, that ranges from purple to chocolate brown, are a bit milder.
Scoville Rating: 100,000 – 200,000

Bird’s Eye peppers originated in Guyana, but are now widely grown across Africa, India, and Thailand. This can lead to a great deal of confusion, as what’s labeled a “Thai pepper” may be the hot bird’s eye or a milder pepper, while in Africa, the pepper also goes by the name of piri piri. The pepper’s name was inspired by its size – at just an inch or so in length, this pepper packs a lot of heat per square inch.
Scoville Rating: 100,000 – 225,000

Super Hot Peppers

Scotch bonnet peppers look like cherry tomatoes wearing over-sized tam o’shanters. At maturity, Scotch bonnets are yellow, orange, or bright red. They’re popular throughout the Caribbean, and flavor many marinades and jerk dishes.
Scoville Rating: 100,000 – 325,000

Photo Credit: Notes on the Menu

Habanero peppers are named for a city of Havana, which was once their chief trading port. Measuring from one to two inches in size, it resembles a small jalapeño or bell pepper that someone has pinched and left dents in. Colors range from light orange to deep orange to fiery red. Over the years, increasingly hotter strains of habaneros have been bred, and their Scoville rating was recently expanded from an upper limit of 350,000 to the eye-popping number below.
Scoville Rating: 80,000 – 600,000

Volcanic Peppers

Bhut Jolokia peppers, native to northeast India, are also grown in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. They are also known as ghost peppers because the name translates to “ghost cobra,” and the peppers are used in India to keep elephants from tramping through fields. The pepper is roughly the size and shape of a jalapeño, but with a thin skin that, when ripe and red, is noticeably wrinkled.
Twice as hot as the hottest habanero, the bhut jolokia is frequently listed as the world’s hottest pepper.
Scoville Rating: 1,000,000 and up

Pepper Rx

It happens to every pepper lover at one time or another – you take a bite and suddenly your eyes are watering, your mouth is on fire, and you’re breaking out in a sweat. Instead of reaching for a glass of ice water, have some slices of raw apple on hand. They’re a much better way to cool the flames than ice water.

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I’m a full-time writer and food enthusiast. I love writing about food’s role in history and culture, and have found that cooking and fooling around in the kitchen is a perfect break from my work.
Give me a blizzardy day when I can make bread and soup and watch the snow pile up and I’m happy.

Red Jalapeño Vs. Green Jalapeño: PepperScale Showdown


The same…but different.

Jalapeño peppers are hands down the most popular hot pepper around, but most don’t know that it comes in different shades.

That’s right – there are green jalapeños and red jalapeños. What’s the difference? Is one spicier than the other? Do they taste different? Are the red versions hard to find? Let’s break down what makes these two hot pepper options tick in another PepperScale Showdown.

Red jalapeño vs. green jalapeño: What makes them different colors?

The big difference between these two peppers is simply age. They are the same pepper, just a green jalapeño is picked early in the ripening process, while a red jalapeño is left on the vine to mature. During the ripening, jalapeños, like other chilies, turn red. The process takes time so many jalapeños end up multi-hued, various shades of green and red during the aging process. And the same pepper plant may have some green, some red, and some various hues of each.

Is a red jalapeño spicier than a green jalapeño?

It is. The additional ripening on the vine means more capsaicin in the pepper itself. Capsaicin is what gives hot peppers their spiciness.

Now that’s not to say a ripened red jalapeño is going to jump out of its typical range on the Scoville scale (2,500 – 8,000 Scoville heat units). It’s not. You’re not about to get one that’s as hot as a serrano. It is, though, likely to sit at the top level of that spread compared to a green colored jalapeño.

Is one better for you than the other?

All peppers are full of vitamins and antioxidants, so every type is good for you. But there is something to be said for eating hot peppers that have been longer on the vine. The longer a chili has to mature, the more of these healthy compounds they have. So a red jalapeño, with its increase in capsaicin (known for great health benefits), vitamins, and antioxidants, is going to have some added health benefits compared to the green versions.

Does a red jalapeño taste different than a green jalapeño?

There is a slight taste difference. A green jalapeño has a fresh, crisp taste whereas a red jalapeño has a bit more sweetness to it. This can make a difference in recipes. Some prefer red jalapeños in hot sauces. In fact, Sriracha Hot Sauce, one of the most famous hot sauces in the world, uses red jalapeños as its base.

How hard is it to find fresh red jalapeño peppers?

It’s a lot harder than finding the green versions, that’s for sure. Green jalapeños are now a staple in supermarkets around the world. They are the most common chili pepper that you’ll find on store shelves. You’ll typically not see red jalapeños around at anywhere near the same level. As they have a much longer growing cycle, they aren’t as common as a whole. And then there’s the confusion that the color creates for a lot of buyers. Most people aren’t aware that a jalapeño can come in a different color, which makes them question whether these chilies are mislabeled, overly ripe, or even going bad.

But when you’re in the know about these two jalapeño shades, you can use that knowledge to your culinary advantage. These red versions bring a little extra kick and a hint of sweetness that works well with citrus salsas and tropical hot sauces. Keep in mind the kitchen possibilities the next time you come across them.

Photo by Gary Hess via Flickr

The Jalapeno pepper is one of the world’s most well known spicy chili pepper. They are produced in huge numbers in Mexico and are used in cuisine across the globe. They are also one of my personal favorite peppers to grow at home, thanks to them being easy to maintain, and very prolific producing plants.

Basic Info about Jalapenos:

PepperGeek participates in various affiliate programs. This means that links contained in this article may provide us a commission should you decide to make a purchase on the linked website.

If you’re curious about the Jalapeño pepper, or just want to know how to use it in your cooking, you’re in the right place. In this article, I will share everything about the jalapeno, from the spiciness level, to how to grow them, to how to safely store them at home.

Click to Skip Ahead:

  • Origin & History
  • Characteristics
  • Jalapeno Peppers Scoville Rating
  • Other Varieties of Jalapeno
  • Growing Jalapenos
  • How To Use & Store Jalapenos

Where are Jalapeños From?

Usage of the jalapeno pepper dates back 1000s of years in South America. They were most notably cultivated and smoked for long-term storage, and thus the Chipotle pepper was born. With its origins in Mexico, the Jalapeño pepper’s name literally means “from Jalapa” (or Xalapa), which is a large city in Mexico. This is where the pepper was originally cultivated.

Arid Mexican climate.

Mexico is still the most prolific country for producing Jalapeno peppers, with an estimated 70,000 acres (approx. 109 square miles) dedicated to growing them. They are also produced in large numbers in the United States, primarily in Texas and New Mexico which both border with Mexico. The climate is ideal, as this region is where the pepper was originally discovered.

Over 22 million pounds of Jalapeños originated from Mexico in 2016 alone.


In order to taste the most original type of Jalapeno pepper, you should look for seeds deemed “heirloom” seeds. These are varieties of the jalapeno that have not been crossbred or hybridized. They will give the most authentic and original flavor of the indigenous pepper.

Characteristics of the Jalapeño Pepper

The Jalapeno pepper is known as the “fat chili” pepper (or chile gordo), due to its rotund shape. When compared to other spicy chili peppers, like the serrano pepper, it is much thicker. This means that the pepper has a great crunch and thickness for chunky salsa and spicy guacamole.

Appearance Of Jalapenos

Unlike many of the super-hot peppers, like the Carolina Reaper or the Ghost Pepper, the jalapeno is a very consistent looking pepper. Plants tend to produce very similar peppers in appearance, across the board.

Depending on soil nutrition and growing season length, peppers can be longer, wider and sometimes spicier. In ideal conditions, the peppers will reach around 3-4 inches in length, and about 1 inch in diameter.

Have you ever grown a weird-looking jalapeno? Let us know, we’d love to see it!

Jalapeno Peppers Scoville Scale Rating

A Jalapeno pepper is a traditional spicy pepper that is commercially available. It is a common ingredient in salsa, taco fillings, guacamole, and lots of other spicy dishes. However, on the Scoville Heat Unit scale, the Jalapeño is relatively tame.

At just 2500-8000 Scoville Heat Units (SHUs), the jalapeño pepper is about 1/600th the heat of the world’s hottest peppers.

Jalapeno Pepper on the Scoville Scale.

To put it simply, Jalapeno peppers rank between 2,500 and 8,000 SHUs on the Scoville scale. We think that the Jalapeño has the perfect amount of heat for most cooking applications, but can be too spicy for many people when eaten raw. Depending on growing conditions, jalapeño pepper heat can range from almost unnoticeable to very spicy. It is well below the heat of a Habanero but is above a poblano or Chile de Arbol.

Tip: Try testing your jalapeño peppers hotness by slicing off the very tip of the pepper and quickly dabbing it on your tongue. This is the least spicy part of the pepper and will have just a bit of heat if the pepper is a spicy one. If you are brave, slice off the stem side and give it a taste. This is where the membrane and seeds are, along with much more heat.

Other Types of Jalapeno Pepper

Over the years, plant breeders have crossed many other pepper varieties with the Jalapeno. This is a safe process (learn more about plant breeding here), and has produced some of the hottest, and most bizarre pepper varieties that exist.

Here are a few hybrid varieties of Jalapeno Peppers that exhibit different characteristics than the original.

Lemon Spice Jalapeno

This yellow variety of jalapeño was produced by New Mexico State University and has a vibrant color. They are still a very productive plant and have the same heat level as a traditional jalapeno. Add some beautiful color to your home garden with this hybrid variety.

The Nadapeno Pepper

This variety of jalapeno has the same great taste of a true jalapeno but has none of the heat. It is a sweet, green pepper for those who can’t take the heat!

Orange Spice Jalapeno

Another vibrantly colored hybrid, the orange spice jalapeno will stand out in your garden. With great heat and high productivity, this is a great pepper to spice things up. These would also produce a beautiful color for homemade hot sauce!

Farmer’s Jalapeno

One of the more distinct and bizarre varieties, the Farmer’s Jalapeno pepper has lots of “corking” or striation marks. Some refer to this pepper as the potato pepper, due to its appearance. However, the white marks do not change the delicious flavor. Also, these peppers grow to be very large for a Jalapeno. That makes them great for stuffing or roasting!

Growing Jalapeño Peppers

It is satisfying to grow and eat your own produce at home. Growing jalapenos is extremely satisfying because you often end up harvesting 20 or 30 peppers off of each plant! Here is the basic overview of how to grow your own jalapeno peppers at home.

Where to buy Jalapeño Seeds Online

There are a number of great resources for Jalapeno seeds, but if you are looking for a traditional pepper, simply use Amazon. Seeds are very affordable, and one packet should keep for 2 years or more when stored in a cool, dark place.

If you want to grow more unique Jalapeno peppers, try either or Both have a great variety of seeds and offer affordable pricing. You can also order in bulk if you want to grow lots of peppers!

When to Plant Jalapeño Seeds Indoors

Depending on your climate, you may need to start your plants indoors. In climate zones 4-7+, you should start your jalapeno seeds indoors between February 15th – March 15th. You may start earlier, or later depending on your growing season, but early March tends to be the sweet spot. Plants are then hardened off and moved outdoors around May 1st, or whenever the risk of frost is gone.

Use this handy planting calendar and input your postal code for basic instructions on when to plant your pepper seeds indoors.

Read our in-depth guide to starting pepper seeds indoors here!

How Long Until Jalapeño Plants Produce Peppers

First off, jalapeno plants need as much sun during the day as possible. If you do not have a location with full sun, try to relocate your plants for ideal conditions. With full sun, you can expect your peppers to produce within a typical period of time. With less sunlight, the peppers can take longer to mature.

Most jalapeno varieties are harvested mid to late season. This means that generally speaking, jalapenos are ready to pick about 70-80 days after transplanting outdoors. For most people in hardiness zones 4-7, this means that harvesting starts in late July. However, if you got a late start on your pepper plants, or your plants don’t get full sunlight, you may need to wait until August or later for peppers to ripen.

What Are The White Lines on Jalapeno Peppers?

Jalapeno peppers will often develop small white lines along the pepper’s skin during ripening. They appear as cracks but are actually scars from the peppers growing quicker than the skin. When the skin breaks, the pepper heals and forms these lines.

This is completely normal and is known as “corking” to seasoned pepper growers. It is actually a desirable characteristic and often indicates a pepper is mature and ripe.

One myth regarding these striation marks is that they mean the pepper is spicier. This is not true, although a more mature pepper is usually hotter than an under-ripened pod.

How can you tell when Jalapenos are ripe?

It is easy to know when your jalapenos are ready for picking. Look for these telltale signs of a ripe jalapeno:

  • Peppers turning red
  • White marks appearing on peppers
  • Growth has slowed or stopped
  • Recommended harvest period has arrived

Don’t be afraid to pick your peppers. They can be harvested at any time during the growth period. One consequence of picking a pepper too early is that it may not have had time to properly develop seeds. You may also experience lower heat levels. However, you should pick the peppers as soon as you feel they are ready so that the plant can focus energy on producing more peppers!

What To Do With Jalapenos

Do you have a bunch of jalapeños in the fridge? Need some ideas on how to use them? There are tons of ways to cook, preserve and store your jalapeño peppers after you have harvested. Here are a few ideas.

Make Salsa

A key component of salsa? You guessed it, jalapeños. The other ingredients are tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro, salt, and maybe a little bit of lime juice. Experiment with proportions and use your peppers to add the desired amount of heat. Whip it all together and dig in!

Make Pickles

Learn all about pickling peppers on our post by clicking here.

Why do cucumbers get all the love when it comes to pickles? Making pickled jalapenos at home is easy. All you need is some vinegar, salt, spices, and your peppers.

Quick Pickled Jalapeno Peppers.

Freeze Them

Read our guide to freezing jalapenos here.

Freezing your jalapenos fresh is a great way to preserve flavor, heat, and color for later use. Large harvests of jalapenos can be overwhelming, and freezing is a super quick and easy way to keep them fresh longer.

Make Hot Sauce

Read our vinegar hot sauce guide here.

Making your own hot sauce can be a fun experiment at home. If you have a blender or a food processor, you can make hot sauce in about 1 hour! Be sure you be careful and follow our guide to avoid any of the common mistakes and issues.

Dry Them For flakes

Read our guide on dehydrating peppers here.

One last option is to dry your peppers to store them for many months. This method also allows you to grind the peppers and produce a hot pepper flake or powder. This is one of the simplest methods to use your jalapeno peppers and can make for a great addition to many meals.

I hope this article gave you some great ideas about jalapeno peppers, and how to get the most out of them. They are one of the most versatile hot peppers available, so it’s no wonder you can pick them up at almost any grocery store. Thanks for reading!


One of the original PepperGeeks! When Calvin isn’t gardening or learning more about peppers, he might be traveling new places or playing some music.

A quick overview of the spice quotient of peppers – Scoville rating

What is the Scoville rating?

How hot or spicy is a particular chili pepper? Have you ever wanted to know that before you used it in your favorite recipe? Well, there is a means of quantifying the amount of spicy heat of a chili pepper. This scale of measurement is know as the Scoville scale or Scoville rating.

How does it work?

The spicy heat of a chili pepper is a result of the presence of capsaicin. Capsaicin in the chili pepper stimulates nerve endings in the mucous membranes (mouth, nose) which gives us the sensation of spice. In larger concentrations, it can also cause sensation on the skin.

The capsaicin organoleptic test measures the spiciness of the pepper by manually tasting a diluted solution containing extracts of the pepper in question.

Who invented this scale?

Wilbur Scoville, an American chemist, was responsible for the creation of the Scoville scale from his work at Parke-Davis pharmaceutical company on the hotness of various chili peppers. Since its creation in 1912, the Scoville scale is still a popular means of measuring hotness.

Why is there a large range on the scale for various chili peppers?

Like any other plant, chili peppers plants are affected by variation in soil, climate (temperature, humidity, rainfall etC)and seed-lineage. Hence, the hotness of a chili pepper grown in Mexico will be different from that of a pepper grown in say Arizona. However, good gardening practices can help retain the natural heat of the pepper.

Scoville Ratings of various peppers

Pepper Scoville Rating Pepper Scoville Rating
Pepperoncini 100 – 500 Hungarian Wax 5,000 – 10,000
Hungarian Paprika 100 – 500 Thai-Kung Pao 7,000 – 12,000
Sonora Pepper 300 – 600 Ancho Gigantea Pepper 1,000 – 15,000
New Mexico 6 Pepper 500 – 1,000 Serrano 6,000 – 23,000
NuMex Twilight Pepper 900 – 1,000 Serrano Tampiqueno Pepper 6,000 – 23,000
Aji Dulce 800 – 1,200 Royal Black pepper 5,000 – 30,000
Ancho Pepper 1,000 – 2,000 Yellow Peter Pepper 5,000 – 30,000
Poblano 1,000 – 2,000 Chile De Arbol Pepper 15,000 – 30,000
Numex Espanola Pepper 1,000 – 2,000 Tabasco 30,000 – 50,000
Pasilla Bajio Pepper 1,000 – 2,000 Long Red Slim Cayenne 30,000 – 50,000
Anaheim 500 – 2,500 Santaka Pepper 40,000 – 50,000
Numex-Big Jim 500 – 2,500 Fish Pepper 45,000 – 75,000
Garden Salsa 2000 – 4,500 Tepin Pepper 50,000 -100,000
Jalapeno 2,500 – 5,000 Jamaican Yellow Pepper 100,000 – 200,000
Mirasol Pepper 2,500 – 5,000 Habanero 100,000 – 350,000
Red Cherry Bomb 2,500 – 5,000 Carribean Red 400,000 – 460,000
Chimayo Pepper 4,000 – 6,000 Jamaican Hot Chocolate 300,000 – 500,000
Black Hungarian Pepper 5,000 – 10,000

We have all these peppers available at the Sweet Corn Organic Nursery store. If you have any questions about growing and harvesting peppers, we’d love to lend a helping hand.

Oh! and go easy on some of the spicy ones, they can be hotter than expected :)!

Red Jalapenos vs. Green Jalapenos

Red Jalapeños vs. Green Jalapeños: What’s The Difference?

Are red jalapeño peppers any different than green jalapeños? Does the taste change along with the color? Fine Dining Lovers tackles this hot topic and we’ve got some surprising information on this spicy pepper and its many personalities.

Jalapeño Peppers: Fun Facts

Jalapeño peppers derive their name from the Mexican town of Jalapa, which is the capital of the coastal state of Veracruz.

When jalapeño peppers are dried and smoked they are known as chipotle peppers. Canned chipotles in adobo sauce are popular in Mexico and the Southwestern United States.

What’s the difference between red and green jalapeños?

The main difference between red and green jalapeño is time. All peppers begin as green fruit (yes, technically they are fruits) and turn red when they ripen. The ripening process allows the pepper to develop more capsaicin, the substance that makes them spicy.

image: Three if By Bike/Flickr

Red Jalapeño Peppers

Red jalapeño peppers are harder to find than the green variety because they take longer to grow. Thus, it may not be available at your local market. However, red jalapeño seeds and red jalapeño power are readily available online through specialty stores such as Out of Mex.

How To Use Red Jalapeños

Red jalapeños may be used in any recipe you’d normally use green jalapeños: salsas, sauces, marinades, braises, stews and even brines.

Keep in mind that red jalapeños range from 2,000 to 35, 000 Scoville heat units. If you like things a little less spicy be sure to remove the veins and the seeds before using. Wearing gloves makes this task much easier and remember not to touch your eyes after chopping chilies!

The jalapeno is the most popular spicy pepper in the world. It’s actually a chili pepper, which means it’s also the most popular of the chili variety. For as long as it’s been a staple in spicy cuisine, it has been synonymous with the color green, but jalapenos can be red, too! I didn’t even realize this until I picked up a red one from our local farmers market not long before writing this.

The Difference Between Red and Green Jalapenos…

The main difference between the red and green peppers are how far along they are in their ripeness. Red jalapenos are left on the vine longer, which gives them more time to ripen and acquire their red color. You can even find jalapenos that are a mixture of red and green.

Is One Spicier than the Other?

Yes! Red jalapenos are spicier than green ones. And if you’ve ever had a green jalapeno before, especially a fresh one, then you know they are plenty hot enough. Only true lovers of spicy food will appreciate the red ones more than the green.

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Where to Find Red Jalapenos…

Red jalapenos are less common than green ones, and they are much harder to come by. It’s not likely that you will ever see one in your local grocery store, but speciality food stores might be one place you can come across them. As I mentioned earlier, I found mine at a local farmers market. You can also buy them online, but so far I’ve only seen them being sold online either canned or jarred, not fresh or dried.

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