This Week’s Harvest: Jalapenos

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If you like spicy food, then you are probably a fan of the jalapeno pepper. They are moderately spicy, with a Scoville heat rating of  2,500–10,000. Right now, the garden is just beginning to bring forth these shiny, dark green peppers. If you don’t have a garden, you can find heaping baskets full of them at your local farmer’s market. (Find a local farmer’s market HERE).  As jalapenos sit on the vine, they ripen to a deep red.  They are milder when green and intensify in heat as they turn a darker red.

Jalapeno trivia: The jalapeno pepper is named for the Mexican town in which it was traditionally grown, Xalapa, Veracruz. A member of the chile pepper family, the jalapeno was used by the Aztecs, who smoked the jalapenos in order to preserve them.

Nutritional benefits

Jalapenos have a host of health benefits at a very low caloric cost.

  • One jalapeno pepper contains a negligible 4 calories and less than one gram of carbs.
  • Jalapeno peppers are very high in Vitamins A and C – just one little pepper contains 20% of the RDA of both vitamins!
  • Capsaicin, the substance that gives the peppers their heat, has the following properties: anti-inflammatory, vasodilator (improves blood flow and circulation), and metabolic booster.
  • Capsaicin also shows promise in cancer treatment. One study showed that the substance “turns off “NF-kB, a protein that promotes tumor growth.
  • Because of their inflammation reducing properties, jalapenos are an excellent addition to the diet of anyone who suffers from gout or arthritis.

Growing Jalapeno Peppers

Jalapeno plants can be easily grown from seeds. Start the seeds indoors and transplant when the seedling have 4 leaves and when all threat of frost has passed.  Use an organic compost to create a rich soil and plant them in full sun.

Using Fresh Jalapenos

WARNING: Hot peppers are the evil vindictive uncles of the vegetable garden family.  Handle them with care because when you cut them up, they fight back.  Use rubber gloves and do not rub your eyes, nose, mouth or any other mucous membrane (that I don’t want to hear about) after handling them.

Most of the heat is in the seeds.  Use or do not use the seeds accordingly to turn up (or down) the heat in your finished product.

If you do happen to get the juice or seeds on your skin (owie!) and you’re still having issues after washing the area, sometimes a milk compress can provide some relief – generally, though, you just have to wait it out.

Holy Jalapeno Relish

My absolute favorite use of jalapeno peppers is this relish. Because I like spicy foods a lot more than the rest of the members of my household, this condiment is a great spice-your-own topping for chili or Mexican food, or for stirring into a mild, family-friendly salsa.

The following photos show how to make half a pint of jalapeno relish. The canning version of this recipe can be found below.

1.  Wash your freshly picked jalapenos.


2.  Cut off the stems, then cut the peppers in half.

j p step 2

3.  (Optional) Wash a handful of cilantro leaves (amount to taste) and add

them to the bowl of the food processor.

jp step 3

4.  Add 1/4 cup of white vinegar and 2-3 teaspoons of

sugar to the bowl of the food processor

jp step 4

Step 5: Using the pulse function, puree the mixture until it reaches a chunky

consistency similar to that of hamburger relish.

jp step 5

Using a funnel, put your beautiful, bright green jalapeno

relish into a jar.  This will stay good in your refrigerator for 2-4 weeks

(if it lasts that long – you may find that you make foods specifically

in order to top them with yummy jalapeno relish. )

jalapeno relish

Preserving Jalapenos


When freezing jalapeno peppers, use your food processor to puree them.  Freeze the puree in ice cube trays until they are solid, then transfer the cubes into a large ziploc bag.


Drying jalapeno peppers is not recommended. They have a thicker flesh than other types of chile peppers and will often rot before they dry.  If you wish to use your dehydrator to dry the peppers, use a piece of waxed paper on the trays to catch the seeds.  Slice them into very thin rings. Alternatively, puree them and leave them overnight in a mesh colander over a bowl in the refrigerator, then spread this thinly over the waxed paper.


Holy Jalapeno Relish

canning version


  • 5 pounds of jalapeno peppers
  • 2 cups of sugar (white sugar or turbinado)
  • 4 cups of white vinegar
  • ½ cup of cilantro leaves (optional)

(Another option, if you want a condiment with less heat, is to replace up to half of the jalapenos with green bell peppers.)


  1. In a food processor, finely chop the peppers.  Don’t turn them into a pureed mush – make them the consistency of relish.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large cooking pot, stir the sugar into the vinegar and bring to a boil.
  3. Immediately reduce the heat and stir in your hot peppers.
  4. Use your food processor to chop the cilantro leaves, if you are using them, then stir them into your relish. (Be sure to use the leaves only – the stems are bitter and unpleasant.)
  5. Bring the relish back to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes until heated through.
  6. Ladle the relish into sanitized pint jars allowing ½ inch of head space.
  7. Process the jars in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.  Be sure to adjust for altitude.

Pickled Jalapenos

These aren’t even vaguely similar to the dull, washed out looking grocery store versions!

  • 5 pounds of jalapeno peppers
  • 4 tbsp of coarse non-iodized salt
  • 4 cups of white vinegar
  • 1 cup of distilled water
  • (optional) thinly sliced onion or crushed garlic


  1. Taking care to protect your skin with gloves, thinly slice your washed jalapenos into rings.
  2. Meanwhile, in a stockpot, bring the vinegar, water, and salt to a boil.
  3. If using, divide your onion and/or garlic across your warm, sanitized pint jars .
  4. Fill the (still warm) jars with jalapeno slices, packing them tightly.
  5. Pour the boiling liquid over the jalapenos, allowing 1 inch of headspace.
  6. Process the jars in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.  Be sure to adjust for altitude.

jalapeno rings

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Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

Leave a Reply

  • Jalapenos are absolutely all about FLAVOR, and not heat. These delectable pepper flavor enhancers have been a consistent part of my diet for “decades”. Cut the stem off, split in half, (remove and save the seeds to “next time”) and experiment to your taste buds delight. Start with a “little” and increase as experience dictates.

    AMONG MY VERY FAVORITES: Take LARGE jalapenos, split in half, remove seeds…stuff with cream cheese, wrap in a strip of bacon secured with a toothpick, and put on the grill till the bacon is DONE. BEST appetizer south of “Yankee land”. :)!

    • I core em then dump the seeds then pack em full of jack cheddar then grill em standin up absolutely delish

    • Hi Coral ~

      There is always some variation, I’ve found, but approximately 4 pints to 5 pounds of peppers. Sometimes I end up with an extra half pint jar too. 🙂


  • I don’t have canning equipment. (Or really that many jalepenos, but ordered an extra bag of them from the CSA this week.) Would the relish recipe be freezable if I make an extra batch or two? I also love to have extra hot pepper relish to add since my family doesn’t like food quite up to my level of heat.

    • Hi, A!

      I honestly don’t know if this would freeze well. I tend to think not. However if you make the relish and stop at the step where you ladle it into the jar, you can put it immediately into the refrigerator, where it will stay good for about a month. The vinegar and peppers do not spoil quickly.

      You can also try freezing a small amount for a week, then thawing it to see how it does. If you are going to freeze it, I’d suggest that you cook the relish on the stovetop for about 2 minutes before storing it.

      I’d love to know how it turns out if you decide to try freezing it!

      Best wishes ~


  • Daisy,

    For the Fresh pepper relish, what is the approx. amount of peppers to use for the recipe above.

    Thank you

    • Hi Allan! I didn’t put a measurement because I just usually make that when I have “enough” from the garden. So if you’ve got maybe 8 or more good-sized jalapenos, you would be able to make approximately a pint jar of this. You can adjust down the amount of vinegar that you put into it if you don’t end up with quite a pint of chopped peppers – it just needs to be enough to keep them moist but not have them floating.

      Sorry I don’t have more specific measurements for this – I’ll do that when my pepper plants provide me with jalapenos this summer. I hope this helps!

  • Hello Daisy! I love that the fresh recipe is just jalapeños, I’m looking at extending the life of the garden peppers in a way that I can use them in other recipes. I do have one question. I’m curious why you add the sugar. Is it to cut down on the acidity? Have you ever added salt instead?

    I’m also going to try the freezing method! I’m super excited about that one!! Thanks for sharing your knowledge!!

    • The sugar just makes this recipe a bit more like candied jalapenos but uses far less sugar than that recipe. It was just a flavor I was trying to duplicate in an easy-to-consume form. If you wanted to, you could definitely do the same thing with salt, or even with nothing but jalapenos and vinegar.

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