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Food by Letter – J is for Jalapeno

Jalapeno

The Jalapeno pepper is likely the most popular and best known spicy chili pepper in the universe…in fact, jalapenos were the first peppers that traveled into space on a NASA shuttle. Bonus: they also have been found to help lower blood pressure, fight migraine headaches and lose weight.

Usage of the jalapeno pepper dates back 1000s of years in South America. The ancient Aztecs were the first people to use the jalapeno, but it did not become a global sensation until Columbus spread hot peppers around the world in 1492. Mexico is still the most prolific country for producing Jalapeno peppers, with an estimated 70,000 acres dedicated to growing them. They are also produced in large numbers in the United States, primarily in Texas and New Mexico.

Jalapeno peppers rank between 2,500 and 8,000 SHUs on the Scoville scale. For us, that’s the perfect amount of heat for most recipes, but can sometimes be too spicy for people when eaten raw. Depending on growing conditions, jalapeno pepper heat can range from almost unnoticeable to incredibly spicy. It is well below the heat of a Habanero but is above a poblano or Chile de Árbol.

If you’re thinking about growing jalapenos here in Central Oregon, start these peppers indoors around April 28th. Then, around July 3rd you can start watching the weather and as soon as no frost is forecast, go ahead and transplant them into the ground.

FBL Tips and Tricks

FBL Recipes

Want to try out these tasty peppers for yourself? Try our yummy jalapeno dip recipe (it’s a crowd pleaser, we promise!). Besides the flavor, one of the things we love about this recipe is that it comes together really quickly. Counting the time it takes to chop the peppers, the total prep time is under 10 minutes!

Ingredients

  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 envelope dry ranch dressing mix
  • 1 large red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 5 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 bag of chips (your preference)

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sharp cheddar cheese, ranch dressing mix, red pepper, and jalapeños until evenly combined.
  2. Place prepared dip into a dish.
  3. Serve with chips and enjoy!