Jalapenos taste delicious in food but have you ever wondered what exactly are they? Find out is jalapeno a fruit or a vegetable in this article.
Before we learn “is jalapeno a fruit or a vegetable”, let’s learn more about them. Jalapenos are medium-sized, medium spicy chili pepper pods belonging to the species Capsicum annuum. They rest at a comfortable 3,500 to 8000 Scoville heat units (the international measure of spiciness). Jalapenos are commonly consumed fresh, but they may also be dried to be used as a spice. The reason for this spiciness is Capsaicin, the main constituent in all Capsicum.
Primarily from Mexico, Jalapenos hail from the Mexican city of Xalapa. Although certain records point to Jalapenos being used by the Aztecs as well. In cuisine, Jalapenos are used in various cultures and recipes throughout the world. Other than Mexico, China, Peru, Spain, and India are also chili-cultivating countries that grow jalapenos. On average, these chilies grow to be 2-3.5 inches long (5 to 9 centimeters), but certain varieties can grow as big as 6 inches (15 centimeters).
Is Jalapeno a Fruit or a Vegetable?
Jalapeno is a pepper. Belonging to the chili family, this puts it up to be a fruit. But it is frequently used as a spicy condiment to most recipes, which include meat or vegetables. So while being a fruit, it belongs to a similar ‘vegetable’ category of fruits along with tomatoes, zucchini, okra or eggplant.
Common Jalapeno Varieties
Purple Jalapeno Pepper
Twice as hot as regular jalapenos, this Purple Jalapeno variety grows in full sun with purple flowers. The chilies transition from green, to purple, finally ending in a red. They are edible at every color stage.
Yellow Jalapeno Pepper (Jaloro)
The Yellow Jalapeno pepper has a fruity aftertaste to it. Mildly hot, this particular breed was developed in 1992 for increased resistance to the many viruses that affect peppers.
Mucho Nacho Jalapeno
Growing up to 4 inches long (10 cm), the Mucho Nacho Jalapeno is ideal for dishes of Jalapeno with stuffing inside. Extremely hot, this Jalapeno is one of the spicier ones on this list. The peppers start green and turn red as they ripen.
Billy Biker Jalapeno
Another extremely hot jalapeno, the Billy Biker variety grows up to 3 and a half inches long (9 cm) and has a very pungent and strong jalapeno taste.
The TAM Jalapeno is the perfect pepper for a strong jalapeno taste but lesser heat. A mild Scoville rating of 1,000 to 3,500 units lets you have all the taste of jalapenos, but it packs a lesser punch to it.
A very prolific taste, Jalapenos also come in Black! Exploding with flavor, the Black Jalapeno is an eye-catching variety that starts off green, then black, and finally turns red at maturity. These peppers grow up to 3.5 inches long (9 cm) and have high heat – around 4,000 to 6,500 Scoville units.
Early Jalapeno, so-called because of its short maturity period, grows to completely ripe within 60 days. So if you’re in an area with a shorter growing season, the Early Jalapeno might be the variety for you. With a deliciously hot flavor ranging in between 4,000 and 6,000 Scoville units, the Early Jalapeno is a solid contender in Jalapeno farming.
Nutritional Value of Jalapenos
One raw Jalapeno has 4 calories, 0 grams of fat, 1 gram of Carbohydrates, 0.1 grams of protein, and 0.4 grams of Fiber.
Rich in Vitamins A and C, Jalapenos are also an excellent resource of Potassium.
Used generously, Jalapenos have a host of health benefits including:
1. Longer Life
Capsaicin promotes blood flow and prevents obesity, which both contribute to lengthening your lifespan by a couple of years.
2. Pain Relief
Capsaicin is a topical pain reliever. That is to say, applied to your skin, capsaicin can help alleviate symptoms of pain. But don’t go rubbing jalapenos on your wounds! That’ll burn. Use a controlled quantity of jalapeno-enriched creams or ointments for the treatment of arthritis, sore muscles, and nerve troubles.
3. Weight Loss
Spicy food is shown to help drop extra weight. Eating something like hot peppers regularly boosts your metabolism. Therefore, Jalapenos can help burn fat. They also help curb appetite.
4. Blood Sugar Control
If you consume chili peppers before a high-carb meal, it also helps prevent blood sugar spikes. Capsaicin has also been shown to control cholesterol and lipid levels.
The most common side effect of consuming Jalapenos is a burning sensation after eating. Depending on the variety of the chili consumed, this can range from mild to severe.
For the people with a low tolerance to heat, these are some precautions you can take to ensure you don’t get a bad reaction eating Jalapenos:
Avoid Scarred Jalapenos
Look for smooth skin on your Jalapeno peppers, as scarring indicates that the pepper is spicier than normal.
When handling peppers, it is a good idea to don some gloves as they protect the capsaicin from transferring to sensitive areas of your body like the eyes.
The white membranes inside the jalapenos contain the highest concentration of capsaicin. Removing them helps eliminate much of the heat of the pepper before consumption.
If you give yourself a strong burning sensation, drinking milk helps temporarily reduce the pain symptoms. Casein in milk helps overpower the Capsaicin in hot peppers, reducing the burning sensation.
Classified as a fruit but enjoyed as a vegetable, Jalapenos are widely used in salads, sandwiches, and vegetable dishes. It is good information to know the different varieties of jalapenos available for consumption, and their possible health effects. We hope you understand the answer to Is Jalapeno a fruit or vegetable in this article – let us know your thoughts in the comments down below!