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Blog - jalapeño

Warm Up with Hot Salsa

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If it's chilly (or downright frigid!) outside, warm up inside by cooking with jalapeño peppers.

All about jalapeños

The jalapeño is a variety of chili pepper. Jalapeños and other chili peppers are unique foods because when eaten they produce a sensation of heat or burning in the mouth, which is called piquance (pronounced peek-antz).

When most people think of jalapeños, they think of Mexican food. Jalapeños were first grown in a Mexican city called Xalapa (pronounced ha-la-puh). Can you hear how the name of the city sounds like the word jalapeño?

Jalapeños are important ingredients in spicy hot Mexican foods such as salsa, burritos and nachos, as well as hot sauces. The jalapeño’s sensation of heat is caused by a compound found in it called capsaicin (pronounced cap-say-uh-sin). This compound is more concentrated in the white membranes inside the jalapeño that hold the seeds. This means that these parts of a jalapeño are the hottest.

According to Michael Hultquist, cookbook author and chili pepper expert, a jalapeño can be mild tasting, “Jalapeño peppers naturally vary in heat levels from 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville Units, so some are milder than others. However, the majority of the jalapeño heat resides in the pepper innards, so if you core your peppers and remove all the seeds and white insides, you’ll greatly reduce the heat.”

Jalapeño peach salsa recipe

Sweet salsas are delicious because of the unexpected combination of sweet and spicy. Eat this with tortilla chips, toasted bread, or rice and beans. Substitute canned peaches (drain and rinse them first) when fresh are not available.

This recipe is a perfect example of ways to add more fruits and vegetables to meals. Try substituting fruits like nectarines, mango and pineapple. Experiment with different kinds of peppers until you find the perfect balance of sweet and spicy.

Ingredients

•3-4 jalapeño peppers, minced
•2 cups peaches, peeled and diced
•2 cups tomatoes, diced
•2 green onions, chopped
•2 cloves garlic, minced
•2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
•1 tablespoon lime juice
•1 tablespoon cider vinegar
•Salt to taste

Instructions

In a large bowl, add jalapeño peppers, peaches, tomatoes, onion, garlic and cilantro. Mix well. Add lime juice, cider vinegar and salt. Toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Safety note

Be extremely careful when cutting jalapeño peppers. Do not touch your eyes and make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after cutting them, as liquid from the peppers can cause burning and stinging.



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