Is Jalapeno a Fruit or a Vegetable? Discover its answer and the health benefits of this beloved spicy chili pepper below!
Jalapenos are a popular addition to many dishes, but have you ever wondered whether Jalapeno is a Fruit or Vegetable? The answer may surprise you!
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What is Jalapeno?
Jalapeno, a moderately-spicy chili pepper pod, belongs to the species Capsicum annuum. The average length of jalapeno is 5 cm (2 inches). However, it can grow up to 6 inches long. Jalapeno has a Scoville heat unit ranging from 2,500 to 8000 – higher SHU means a spicier experience.
Is Jalapeno a Fruit or a Vegetable?
Is Jalapeno a Fruit or a Vegetable? Despite common belief, jalapenos are classified as fruit from a botanical perspective. This is because they contain seeds and develop from the blossom of the pepper plant.
To be more precise, botanists classify jalapenos as berries because they are fleshy fruits containing multiple seeds. In fact, some other vegetables, such as tomatoes, zucchini, okra, and eggplant, also belong to the fruits category.
Where are Jalapeno From?
Jalapenos are believed to have originated in Xalapa, Mexico. The name “jalapeno” is derived from the word “Xalapa” (also spelled Jalapa), which is the capital city of Veracruz. Today, jalapenos are widely cultivated in many parts of the world, including the United States, Central and South America, and Asia. They are a staple in Mexican cuisine dating back to the time of the Aztecs.
Common Jalapeño Varieties
After finding out whether Jalapeno is a Fruit or a Vegetable? Keep scrolling to learn about some common jalapeno varieties.
1. Purple Jalapeño Pepper
Twice as hot as regular jalapenos, this variety grows in full sun with purple flowers. The color of this jalapeno turns from green to purple, finally ending in red. The best part is that you can eat purple jalapenos at every stage.
2. Yellow Jalapeno Jalapeño (Jaloro)
The Jaloro, also known as the yellow jalapeno, is a hybrid variation of the traditional jalapeno pepper. It offers a mild level of spiciness with a delightful fruity flavor.
3. Mucho Nacho Jalapeño
If you love all things spicy, the Mucho Nacho jalapeno variety is perfect for you. Its fruit appears green and changes to fiery red when ripened. This jalapeno variety is perfect for pickling, filling, and grilling.
4. Billy Biker Jalapeño
With a Scoville rating of 5,000 to 30,000 units, the Billy Biker variety yields larger fruit (4″ to 6″ in length) than others. Due to their strong and intense flavor, they are not recommended to be consumed raw.
5. TAM Jalapeño
Are you a jalapeno enthusiast who prefers a milder flavor profile? Look no further than the TAM jalapeno variety. This variety offers a subtle level of spiciness while still retaining the distinctive taste of regular jalapenos.
6. Black Jalapeño
Packed with flavor, this eye-catching jalapeno variety starts with green, then black, and finally turns red at maturity. These peppers grow up to 3.5 inches long.
7. Early Jalapeño
The Early Jalapeno variety is known for its fast maturation, taking only 60 days to become fully mature. This unique characteristic is what gave the pepper its name. So if you’re in an area with a shorter growing season, this variety is the right choice.
8. Sierra Fuego Jalapeño
Compared to other jalapeno varieties, the Sierra Fuego jalapeno produces an abundant amount of fruit. Its color changes from green to red after maturity.
Nutritional Value of Jalapeños
100 gms of raw jalapenos contain:
- Calories 29
- Protein 0.91 g
- Fat 0.37 g
- Carbs 6.5 g
- Cholesterol 0 mg
- Sugar 4.12 g
Vitamins & Minerals
- Iron 0.25 mg
- Vitamin C 119 mg
- Potassium 248 mg
- Vitamin E 3.58 mg
- Sodium 3 mg
- Vitamin K 18.5 µg
- Calcium 12 mg
- Vitamin B-6 0.419 mg
- Vitamin A, RAE 54 µg
Health Benefits of Jalapenos
1. Rich in Antioxidants
Packed with vitamins C and E, jalapenos possess a significant amount of antioxidant properties. Therefore this fruit is an excellent choice to eliminate free radicals. A study published in “The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” revealed that fresh jalapenos exhibit greater antioxidant levels than canned versions.
2. Has Anti-inflammatory Qualities
Jalapenos are a rich source of anti-inflammatory properties because of the active ingredient ‘Capsaicin.’ Thus it’s an excellent option to fight against inflammatory diseases.
3. Weight Loss
Jalapenos are an excellent means to shed excess weight, thanks to their capsaicinoid content. Adding jalapenos to your daily diet boosts your metabolism while curbing your appetite. Nevertheless, combine this dietary change with consistent exercise and a well-balanced routine for optimal results.
4. Maintain Optimal Heart Health
This study proves that capsaicin present in jalapenos promotes heart health by reducing the likelihood of developing cardiovascular diseases. Although initial research demonstrates promising results, further studies are required to substantiate these findings.
5. Helps Against Infections
Jalapenos contain capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin, which are powerful antimicrobial agents. These compounds are known to inhibit the growth of various bacterial pathogens, such as S. pyogenes, B. cereus, and Clostridium tetani.
Is Jalapeno a Fruit or Vegetable: Side Effects and Precautions to Consider
Along with some health benefits, jalapenos also cause a burning sensation in the mouth. However, the severity of this side effect depends on the variety of the chili consumed.
To prevent or alleviate the burning sensation, you can take the following precautions:
- Avoid Scarred Jalapenos- To ensure you get milder jalapeno peppers, look for those with fewer brown lines or blemishes on their surface.
- Remove Membranes- To reduce the spiciness of jalapenos, consider removing the membrane before their consumption.
- Drink Milk- When the spiciness of jalapenos becomes unbearable, drink cow’s milk to alleviate the burning sensation.
- Use Gloves- Using gloves while handling jalapenos prevents spicy compounds from getting into the eyes and causing irritation.
Is Jalapeno a Fruit or a Vegetable: Conclusion
Jalapenos offer numerous health benefits and a wide range of culinary uses. Whether you enjoy them raw, pickled, or cooked in various dishes, Jalapenos are a delicious addition to many dishes. Although their classification as a fruit may be debated, their unique taste and health benefits make them a popular ingredient worldwide. So, the next time you want to add a kick of spiciness to your food, use jalapenos.