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The jalapeño ( ; ; or ; Mexican pronunciation ) is a 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 Mexicomarker. It is named after the town of Xalapa, Veracruzmarker, where it was traditionally produced. 160 square kilometres are dedicated for the cultivation of jalapeños in Mexicomarker alone, primarily in the Papaloapan river basin in the north of the state of Veracruzmarker and in the Delicias, Chihuahuamarker area. Jalapeños are also cultivated on smaller scales in Jaliscomarker, Nayaritmarker, Sonoramarker, Sinaloamarker and Chiapasmarker.

The jalapeño is known by different names throughout Mexico, such as huachinango, and chile gordo. The cuaresmeño very closely resembles the jalapeño in appearance, but the two are sold separately in Mexico. The seeds of a cuaresmeño have the heat of a jalapeño, but the flesh has a mild flavor closer to that of a green bell pepper.

,   in the United States were dedicated to the cultivation of jalapeños. Most jalapeños were produced in southern New Mexico and western Texas.

Jalapeños are a pod type of Capsicum. 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. During a growing period, a plant will be picked multiple times. As the growing season comes to an end, the jalapeños start to turn red.

Once picked, individual peppers ripen to red of their own accord. The peppers can be eaten green or red.

The jalapeño rates between 2,500 and 10,000 Scoville units in heat. In comparison with other chili peppers, the jalapeño has a heat level that varies from mild to hot depending on cultivation and preparation. The heat, which is caused by capsaicin and related compounds, is concentrated in the veins (placenta) surrounding the seeds, which are called picante. — deseeding and deveining can reduce the heat imparted to a recipe that includes jalapeños. They also have a distinct acidic taste. Handling fresh jalapeños may cause mild skin irritation in some individuals. Some handlers choose to wear latex or vinyl gloves while cutting, skinning, or seeding jalapeños. When preparing jalapeños, the hands should not come in contact with the eyes because this can lead to a very uncomfortable burning sensation and redness.


Jalapeño is of both Nahuatl and Spanish origin. The Spanish suffix -eño signifies that the noun originates in the place modified by the suffix, similar to the English -(i)an. Thus, the jalapeño is named after the Mexican town of Xalapa (also spelled Jalapa). Xalapa is itself of Nahuatl derivation, formed from roots xal-li "sand" and a-pan "water place".


Five jalapeno peppers.

  • A chipotle is a ripe jalapeño that has been smoked.
  • Jalapeño jelly, while not commercially available in as wide an area as other jalapeño products, can be prepared in a method similar to other jellies..
  • Armadillo eggs are stuffed jalapeños, a popular 1990s American dish. Texas Torpedo, and Jalapeño Poppers are other names for cheese-stuffed jalapenos.
  • Texas toothpicks are jalapeños and onions that are shaved into straws, lightly breaded, and deep fried.
  • Jalapeño Poppers are a popular appetizer made of jalapeños stuffed with cheese, usually cheddar or cream cheese, which are then breaded and deep fried.

See also


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