Featured Vegetable: Jalapeño Peppers
Whether you like a little or a lot of kick added to your meal, jalapeños may just be the perfect fit! Peppers come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors and probably the most questioned attribute - hotness. The Scoville Scale measures 'hotness' of chili peppers. Bell peppers are listed at 0 Scoville heat units (SHU) (no heat) and pure capsaicin tops the chart at 15-16 million SHU; jalapeño peppers are in the range of 2,500-8,000 SHU.1 The heat in jalapeños comes from capsaicin, typically most pungent where the seeds attach to a white membrane.2 But keep in mind, not all jalapeños are hot. Campbell's Seeds actually developed the first patented no-heat hybrid jalapeño pepper. In addition to the no-heat jalapeño, Campbell's Seeds is developing new hybrid varieties of hot jalapeños.
Most jalapeños are grown in Mexico but they can be cultivated in many locations, depending on climate. They can even be homegrown! Across the Southern US and into Mexico, more than 25 million pounds of fresh jalapeños are hand-picked each year and added as a key ingredient in Pace® products. Try some delicious recipes like Pineapple-Picante Stir-Fried Pork & Cabbage and Grilled Swordfish Steaks with Citrus Salsa or check out more recipes by visiting Pace®.
Jalapeños can be prepared in many ways. They can be consumed raw, cooked, or dried. Enjoy them any way you choose - eaten raw, stuffed with soft cheese or in a salad. They can be cooked and added to dips, salsas, soups, or sauces atop main dishes. Dried, pickled, jellied or smoked jalapeños can add a spicy twist to any recipe! Did you know a jalapeño that is dried and smoked is called a "chipotle"?
Jalapeño peppers provide an abundance of nutritional attributes to your diet. One-third cup of jalapeños is an excellent source of vitamin C, and contains vitamin A, Vitamin K and folate, and provides 1 gram of fiber- all for only 10 calories! Don't forget about capsaicin which is often used medicinally for pain relief, commonly as part of a topical cream or ointment. Some studies suggest that spicy foods, like those containing capsaicin, may increase your metabolism.
So the next time you are in the grocery store and looking to excite your taste buds, reach for some jalapeños. Whether you eat them in salsa with chips or as a stuffed side dish or appetizer - they are sure to please!