Jalapeños are often harvested in the fall, but you can also grow your peppers from seed. This guide will teach you how to know when jalapenos pepper is mature and ready to be picked so that you can enjoy them fresh or preserve them for later use.
Ways to Identify a Ripe Jalapenos
Once a jalapeno pepper has reached full size and a mature coloration (deep green or red), the pepper can be picked. Generally, it takes about two weeks for a jalapeno to ripen. Here are a few ways to know when your jalapeno pepper is ready for harvesting:
For the best flavor and ripest jalapenos, look for bright and shiny peppers with smooth skin. A ripe jalapeno will be a bright green color with smooth skin. If the peppers are turning red or brown, then they’re overripe.
Spicy and Floral Aroma
Another way to tell if your jalapenos are ripe is by their odor; if you smell a strong odor from them, it’s likely that the pepper is going bad. A ripe jalapeno should have a fresh-cut aroma, similar to a spicy and floral scent. It probably needs to be ripe if the jalapeno has an overpowering or pungent smell.
The Pepper’s Size
The size of your jalapeno pepper can help you determine how ripe it is. A jalapeno should be harvested when it is anywhere from 3 to 5 inches long. The longer the pepper, the hotter and more flavorful it will be. The length of a mature pepper depends on the variety of jalapenos and growing conditions.
Check for Corking
These are small, white lines that can develop on the peppers’ skin. This is entirely safe to eat and is actually a desirable characteristic for most people. The pepper will turn from green to red, and the white lines will start to disappear. At this point, it’s ready to pick and eat.
How to harvest Jalapeno Peppers
If you want to harvest jalapeno peppers, here is a simple guide to follow:
Identify Ripe Peppers
To pick jalapenos, you should identify ripe peppers. Ripe peppers can be selected when they are fully grown, but the fruit is still green. If the fruit is dark and the pepper is no longer hard or firm to the touch, it’s probably ready to harvest.
When picking jalapenos from your plants, be sure not to damage any part of the plant or pull off the stems. The stems of each plant should remain intact even after harvest. If pulled off prematurely, they’ll wilt faster than if left attached.
Hold the Plant
After identifying a ripe jalapeno pepper, you must secure the plant before attempting to harvest it. This means holding down the pepper with one hand.
Pull the Pepper Upwards
Gently pull the pepper upwards, taking care not to use too much force. If the plant is attached strongly enough that you need to use any amount of pressure, you may be pulling out roots and other vital elements of the plant.
Proceed by pulling upwards on each pepper until they come loose from their base without snapping off entirely or being too difficult to remove without damaging other parts around them. You should achieve a clean, easy break from the fruit from the plant.
Alternatively, you can use tools such as scissors or shears to help you get a clean detachment from the plant without the risk of damaging the plant itself.
Are Jalapeños Hotter When They Turn Red?
Some people say that red jalapenos are hotter than green ones, and there is some truth to this. However, the heat of a pepper depends on the plant’s genetics and environmental factors, like how long it has been growing in your garden.
The red color of the pepper is due to maturity and nothing more. The brighter red a pepper is, the more mature it is; green peppers are immature and have not yet fully grown in size or flavor. If you want your peppers to ripen into red instead of remaining green, allow them to stay on your plant for longer before picking them off.
How to Preserve Harvested Jalapeños
The most common method of preserving harvested Jalapeños is by freezing. Remove the seeds and wrap them in plastic wrap, then place them in freezer bags or containers. Do this with as many as you would like to keep on hand for later use, but be sure to mark down their dates so that you know how old they are when you decide to use them.
Another method is canning them at home using water bath canning methods (pint or quart jars). If this sounds intimidating, start small by making pickles with your harvest. Pickling preserves freshness better than other methods because salt helps keep food for long periods and prevents bacteria from growing inside the jar.
If you’re feeling ambitious, add herbs like garlic cloves or whole jalapeño peppers into each jar before closing it up with a metal lid crimped on tightly.
Health Benefits of Jalapeños
The health benefits of jalapeños are numerous. And here are some to pick your interest:
Rich in Vitamins A, C, and Potassium.
Jalapenos are a great source of vitamins A and C, so if you’re feeling down, try adding them to your diet. They also contain potassium, which is an electrolyte that helps balance fluids in the body.
With their high content of vitamin B6, jalapenos promote healthy digestion and help support nerve function. The small amount of vitamin E in jalapenos may have anti-aging properties. Jalapeños are also rich in trace amounts of other vitamins such as B1, B2, and E. Furthermore, they contain calcium which can aid bone health.
Also, Contain Carotene
Carotene is a nutrient that helps the body produce vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for vision and healthy skin, hair, and nails. Carotene can be found in dark green leafy vegetables, carrots, sweet potatoes, and yellow/orange fruits and vegetables.
It is an antioxidant that may help fight damage to your cells. It protects the body from damaging molecules called free radicals, damaging cells via oxidation. Over time, this damage can lead to several chronic illnesses, such as cancer or heart disease.
Capsaicin in Jalapenos Promotes Blood Flow
Capsaicin is the chemical compound that gives peppers their spiciness. It also has some health benefits, such as promoting blood flow, helping with weight loss, and blood sugar control. It has even been known to provide relief for people with arthritis.
Capsaicin, the active ingredient in jalapeños, is a natural pain reliever. It’s also an effective treatment for arthritis and other chronic pain conditions. However, you can only enjoy this benefit from capsaicin in ointment or cream form and not directly from jalapenos.
Jalapeno peppers are a staple of many kitchens, but they can be challenging to find fresh at the supermarket. If you want to know how to tell when jalapenos are ripe, practice some of the tips shared above. Also, you can save up your jalapenos for future use, ensuring you enjoy all the benefits associated with them.