Do you love adding jalapeno peppers to your dishes for a kick of heat? Well, you’re not alone! Jalapenos are an incredibly popular topping or ingredient among cooks, chefs, and even casual kitchen enthusiasts. But one common question we get is: “How long do jalapenos last?”
The answer isn’t always straightforward—it depends on how they’ve been stored, what stage of their life, and other factors. In this article, I’ll discuss the storage tips you need to know when buying jalapenos so you may enjoy them at their peak flavor for as long as possible. Read on to learn more!
What Are Jalapenos?
Jalapenos are a type of chile pepper that’s native to Mexico and Central America. Depending on their ripeness, they range in color from bright green to deep red. Jalapenos have a mild-to-medium heat level (around 5,000–10,000 Scoville Heat Units) with grassy and herbal flavor notes.
Are Jalapenos a Fruit?
Yes, jalapenos are indeed a fruit! Specifically, they’re a type of capsicum, the scientific term for nightshade family members. That means jalapenos share many similarities with tomatoes and bell peppers (also part of the nightshade family).
How to Pronounce Jalapeno?
Jalapeno is pronounced “hal-uh-PEE-nyoh,” emphasizing the first syllable. The word comes from the Spanish language, where it’s known as “xalapeño.”
Do Jalapenos Go Bad?
Yes, jalapenos can go bad if not properly stored and handled. They should be in an airtight container in the refrigerator and used within two weeks of storage. Inspect them closely upon purchasing for any signs of discoloration, spots, or bruises, and discard any spoiling peppers immediately.
How Can You Tell if a Jalapeno Is Bad?
There are many great ways to tell if a Jalapeno has passed its shelf life. First, check for signs of mold or discoloration. If the jalapeno is wrinkled, soft, or has turned black or brown in spots, throw it out — these are signs of bad jalapeños.
First, check for signs of mold or discoloration. If the jalapeno is still bright green—bright and unblemished—it’s likely at its peak flavor. If it’s turning yellow or orange, it’s starting to become overripe and may have a less desirable flavor.
If the jalapeno is wrinkled, soft, or has turned black or brown in spots, throw it out — these are signs that it’s gone bad. If the skin looks dry and is beginning to pull away from the flesh, it’s likely past its shelf life and may lack flavor or be bitter.
Bad jalapeños contain a strong sour smell when cutting into the pepper; discard any jalapeno peppers with an off smell.
What Happens if You Eat Bad Jalapenos?
So can bad jalapenos make you sick? The answer is yes. Eating bad jalapenos can cause food poisoning, which may accompany abdominal cramps, nausea, and vomiting. In the worst-case scenario, eating spoiled jalapenos can even lead to death if botulism is present within the peppers.
So How Long Do Jalapenos Last?
Having jalapenos on hand is a great way to elevate any meal. Naturally, you want them to last as long as possible. Understanding the shelf life of jalapenos is the key to ensuring they don’t spoil before you can enjoy them.
Fresh jalapeños can last 3-5 days at room temperature. You can freeze them for up to 8 months if you plan on using them at a later date. Sliced and chopped jalapeños have a shelf life of around 5 days, so it’s important to plan out when and how you’ll use them.
Canned jalapeños can last 3-6 months after the best-by date on the label. Once opened, canned jalapeños can be stored in the fridge for 1-2 months.
Do Jalapenos Need to Be Refrigerated?
Have you ever been unsure if fresh, canned, or store-bought jalapeños must be refrigerated? As a general rule of thumb, fresh jalapeños will last longer when stored in the refrigerator. If you have sliced or chopped jalapenos, you should keep them in a sealed container and stash them in the refrigerator.
Cold temperatures slow down the ripening process and inhibit bacteria growth. The same can be said for canned jalapeños—if opened, keep them refrigerated for optimal use.
Store-bought jalapeños that are still in their packaging may not need refrigeration (choose a cool and dark area, away from sources of heat) depending on how long you’ll be using them; however, it’s always best to keep an eye on freshness and practice food safety by keeping all items cold.
How Long Do Jalapenos Last in the Fridge?
For fresh jalapeños, store them in your refrigerator, and they will stay fresh for one to two weeks. Canned peppers have a longer shelf life, so you can keep them for up to 2 months when opened- just make sure that you keep the seals tight when stored.
Even if you bought store-bought jalapeños that were already cut and prepared, these should be used within 3 days of purchasing; otherwise, they will lose their flavor and freshness.
No matter how you’re storing fresh jalapeños, remember that air is their enemy, so keeping them sealed tightly will help ensure they last longer and remain as fresh as possible.
How to Store Jalapenos in the Fridge
Storing jalapeños correctly can help preserve their flavor and texture longer. Here are some steps on how to store jalapeños in the fridge:
- Choose firm, dark green, or red jalapeños free of grey specks or brown spots.
- Place the jalapeños in a plastic wrap and wrap it loosely, allowing some air circulation.
- Place the wrapped jalapeños in a paper bag with several paper towels at the bottom. This can help absorb any moisture that accumulates during storage.
- Put the paper bag with peppers in the fridge vegetable drawer, away from ethylene gas-emitting fruits such as apples and bananas.
- Store for up to 2 weeks and enjoy your perfectly preserved peppers!
Do Pickled Jalapeños Last Longer Than Non Pickled Jalapenos?
Yes! Pickling is a great way to increase the shelf life of all ingredients, and jalapenos are no exception. Pickling them in vinegar or another acidic substance helps to preserve their flavor, smell, and texture when stored at room temperature for a long time.
Their shelf life can be extended to several months, depending on the pickling type. If you want to make your fresh jalapenos last longer, reduce leftover waste, and enjoy delicious snacks by pickling these spicy peppers may be the way to go!
How Long Do Canned Jalapenos Last?
Regarding canned jalapeno peppers, shelf life depends on several factors. Proper storage is key — shelf-stable canned products are required to store in a cool, dry place like a pantry or cupboard.
Once you open the jar, keeping it in the fridge can help them stay good longer. Generally speaking, shelf-stable canned products like jalapeño peppers will keep unopened for up to two years. For safety reasons, use any opened cans of jalapenos within two months; however, if you notice any changes in their smell or texture before that time, discard them.
Can You Freeze Jalapenos?
Did you know that you can freeze jalapenos? It’s an excellent way to prevent any from going bad, especially if you’ve bought them in bulk. Frozen jalapenos retain the desirable quality for up to 8 months.
Freezing jalapenos is a great option for those who want to spice up countless dishes for months or even years down the line. However, frozen peppers work best in cooked dishes, like soups or stews, rather than fresh salsa or salads. Freezing jalapenos is a great way to preserve these whole foods.
How to Freeze Jalapenos Correctly?
Frozen jalapeños can make a great addition to any dish, adding a flavorful kick that is sure to please. But before you put them in the freezer, there are some steps you must take to ensure they will be good when you want to use them. Here’s how to freeze jalapeños correctly:
Method to Freeze Whole Jalapeno Peppers, Chopped or Sliced Jalapeños
- Choose jalapeños that are firm and have no brown or grey spots.
- Wash and dry all the jalapeños.
- Slice or chop the jalapeño peppers if you do not want to freeze them whole. Otherwise, keep the whole jalapenos for freezing.
- Freeze the jalapenos in a single layer on a tray lined with parchment paper until completely frozen – about 4 hours should do it.
- When frozen, remove from the freezer, put the jalapeños in a freezer bag or airtight container such as a reusable plastic container or zipper-lock bag, and place that container or bag in the freezer. Don’t overcrowd the bag to ensure your peppers don’t have too much freezer burn.
- This process is simple enough so that your jalapeños can stay good for up to 8 months!
- When ready to use, let the peppers thaw at room temperature for one hour before slicing or dicing. If you have frozen sliced jalapeños, you can use them directly after thawing.
Recipes Using Jalapeño Peppers
Jalapenos are tasty, spicy, and a great addition to many dishes. Here are some tasty recipes to use up those leftover jalapenos:
Jalapeno poppers are a fantastic appetizer or side dish. The crispy coating of the sliced Jalapeños perfectly matches a creamy filling. You can make them in various ways, from deep-frying to baking or even grilling!
If you’re a fan of cornbread, try making some jiffy jalapeno cornbread. It’s a delicious and spicy twist on classic cornbread. Mix a jiffy corn muffin with onions, diced jalapenos, and shredded cheese. Bake until golden brown in the oven, and enjoy!
Jalapeno fries are a great way to liven up your next game day. Simply slice jalapenos into fry shapes, coat in flour and spices, and then fry. Serve with some ranch dip or ketchup for dipping, and you’ll have a delicious snack perfect for sharing!
Jalapeno Cheese Ball
A Jalapeno cheese ball is a delicious and easy party dish. Simply mix cream cheese, onions, fresh jalapenos, and shredded cheese until combined, then shape into a ball. Roll in bread crumbs or crushed crackers for a crunchy coating, and serve with chips or vegetables!
Use chopped or sliced Jalapeños to make tasty Jalpeno wontons. Simply combine cream cheese, jalapenos, and onions in a bowl until combined. Fill small wonton wrappers with the mixture, then fold and seal shut. Fry or bake the wontons until golden brown and enjoy!
Jalapeno Queso Dip
Use jalapeno peppers to make a queso dip or Jalapeno Salsa. Make a flavorful jalapeno salsa with tomatoes, onions, and garlic. Simply combine diced tomatoes, jalapenos, onions, and garlic, then blend until smooth. Serve with chips for an easy appetizer or side dish!
Jalapeno Devilled Eggs
Add diced canned jalapeños to make jalapeno deviled eggs. Start by boiling some eggs until hard-boiled, then cool and peel them. Cut the eggs in half and remove the yolks. Mash the egg yolks with mayonnaise, mustard, and diced jalapeños to make a spicy filling. Fill the egg whites with the mixture and refrigerate.
Jalapeno Corn Dip
Have you tried a Jalapeno corn dip? This delicious jalapeno corn recipe is simple, easy to make, and a great snack or side dish. The jalapenos give it a nice spicy kick, and the creamy corn base makes it right.
More Questions About Jalapenos
Is a Jalapeno a Chili Pepper?
A jalapeno is indeed a type of chili pepper! The jalapeno is part of the capsicum annuum species, including bell peppers and cayenne peppers. Generally, the smaller the pepper is, the spicier it will be; however, that is not always the case.
Depending on where it was grown, its maturity and freshness at harvest time all contribute to how spicy it will be when you are ready to eat it.
Are Jalapenos Low Fodmap?
If you’re on a Low FODMAP diet but love your jalapenos, don’t worry — you can still enjoy them! The good news is that they are perfectly fine for people following a low-Fodmap diet in small portions.
However, if you have a particularly sensitive gut, it is wise to play it safe and test out eating just 1-2 slices of jalapeno before chowing down on the entire chili-filled dish.
Habanero vs. Jalapeno
When it comes to flavor, there are distinct differences between the Habanero and Jalapeno peppers. Habaneros have a much sharper, spicier flavor when compared to their milder Jalapeno counterparts.
Habanero peppers have thin walls and a distinctive tiny, lantern-like shape. They are considerably hotter than jalapenos and give off a unique aroma. In contrast, Jalapeno peppers have thick walls and tapered shapes that give them the moniker “hot sticks.”While both peppers have a good amount of heat, Jalapenos typically range between 5,000 and 10,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), while Habaneros reach up to 350,000 SHU.
In addition to the difference in heat index, Habaneros are slightly sweeter and fruitier than Jalapeños due to the higher levels of capsaicin they contain.
Jalapeno vs. Poblano
When it comes to choosing between jalapeno and poblano peppers, it depends on your tastes! Although both peppers originate from the same species (Capsicum annuum), they have distinct flavor profiles.
Jalapeños are spicier than poblanos, though their “heat” can vary depending on the particular pepper and its growing conditions. On the other hand, poblanos tend to be earthy and smoky-sweet while remaining mild compared to other varieties.
What Is the Best Jalapeno Substitute?
There are many suitable substitutes if you are out of jalapenos but still need a bit of heat.
Habanero peppers are often considered the best alternative for adding intense heat with smoky and tropical notes.
Alternatively, serrano peppers provide an abundance of flavor that is slightly milder and fruitier than jalapenos, making them ideal for those who may not enjoy the hotter option.
Of course, if you want something even milder, Anaheim or poblano peppers should do the job nicely – they have similar grassy undertones as a jalapeno but offer much less burn.
In conclusion, jalapenos are a great addition to any dish! They can add a unique flavor and some heat, depending on how much you use. It’s important to remember that jalapenos can lose their flavor over time and will go bad if not stored correctly. Store them in a bag or an airtight container in the fridge or freezer to ensure they last longer.
Additionally, you can use some great jalapeno substitutes if you don’t have any on hand! Habanero peppers, serrano peppers, Anaheim, or Poblano peppers are great additions to your meals.