The jalapeño or jalapeno is a medium-sized chilli pepper. A mature jalapeño fruit is 5–9 cm long and is commonly picked and consumed while still green, but occasionally it is allowed to fully ripen and turn crimson red.
Good-quality Jalapeño peppers should be firm, smooth-skinned and have solid green colouring. Dry lines are not a blemish. They are signs of a mature pepper and indicate hotness. Avoid product that is soft, bruised, has wrinkled skin or spots of mould.
See the Scoville scale for a measurement of the spicy heat (or piquance) of a chilli pepper.
- Pickled jalapeños, sliced or whole, are often served hot or cold on top of nachos, which are tortilla chips with melted cheese on top, a traditional Tex-Mex dish
- Chipotles are smoked, ripe jalapeños.
- Jalapeño jelly can be prepared using preserving methods.
- Jalapeño peppers are often muddled and served in mixed drinks. (To muddle is to combine ingredients, usually in the bottom of a mixing glass, by pressing them with a muddler before adding the majority of the liquid ingredients. A muddler is a long pestle shaped often shaped like a baseball bat that is commonly made of wood, but modern designs can be found in stainless steel or plastic with teeth on the bottom.)
- Jalapeño poppers, also called armadillo eggs, are an appetiser; jalapeños are stuffed with cheese, usually cheddar or cream cheese, breaded or wrapped in bacon, and cooked.
- Stuffed jalapeños are hollowed out fresh jalapeños (served cooked or raw) that are stuffed, often with a mix containing seafood, meat, poultry, and/or cheese.
- Chillies toreados are fresh jalapeños that are sauteed in oil until the skin is blistered all over. They are sometimes served with melted cheese on top.
- Texas toothpicks are jalapeños and onions shaved into straws, lightly battered, and deep fried.