Pepper of the Week – Jalapeño

November 12, 2015 at 6:07 AM | Posted in Jalapenos, Pepper of the Week, Peppers | Leave a comment
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Immature jalapeños still in the plant pot

Immature jalapeños still in the plant pot

The jalapeño (/ˌhæləˈpiːnoʊ/ or /ˌhæləˈpeɪnjoʊ/, Spanish pronunciation: [xalaˈpeɲo] is a medium-sized chili pepper pod type cultivar of the species Capsicum annuum. A mature jalapeño fruit is 5–10 cm (2–4 in) long and hangs down with a round, firm, smooth flesh of 1–1.5 in (25–38 mm) wide. It is of mild to medium piquancy, 1,000 and 20,000 Scoville units in general. It is commonly picked and consumed while still green, but occasionally it is allowed to fully ripen and turn crimson red; and other cultivar variations of the same pod type exist. It is wider and milder than the Serrano pepper. The Chile Pepper Institute is known for developing colored variations.

 

 

Ripened jalapeños, red in color

Ripened jalapeños, red in color

The jalapeño is variously named huachinango, for the ripe red jalapeño, and chile gordo (meaning “fat chili pepper”) in Mexico. The cuaresmeño closely resembles the jalapeño; its seeds have the heat of a jalapeño, but the flesh has a mild flavor close to a green bell pepper.

 

 

In 1999, roughly 107 thousand acres in Mexico were dedicated towards growing jalapeños and as of 2011, that number had fallen to 101 thousand acres. Jalapeños account for thirty percent of Mexico’s chili production, and while acreage has decreased there has been a 1.5% increase in volume yield per year in Mexico due to increasing irrigation, usage of greenhouses, better equipment, knowledge, and improved techniques so that in 2009 619,000 tons of jalapeños were produced with 42% of the crop coming from Chihuahua, 12.9% from Sinaloa, 6.6% from Jalisco, and 6.3% from Michoacán. La Costeña (food company) controls about 60% of the world market and, according to company published figures, exports 16% of the peppers that Mexico produces, an 80% share of the 20% that Mexico exports in total. The US imports 98% of La Costeña’s exports.

According to the USDA, starting since 2010, California produces the most jalapeños followed by New Mexico and Texas, for a total of 462.5 million pounds of peppers (231,250 tons) in 2014. It is difficult to get accurate statistics on chilies and specific chilies as growers are not fond of keeping and sharing such data and reporting agencies often lump all green chilies together, or all hot chilies, with no separation of pod type. In New Mexico in 2002 the crop of jalapeños were worth $3 million at the farm gate and $20 million with processing.

China, Peru, Spain, and India are also producers of commercial chilies, including jalapeños.

 

 

In a 100 gram serving, raw jalapeños provide 29 calories and are an excellent source (> 20% of the Daily Value, DV) of vitamin C, vitamin B6 and vitamin E, with vitamin K in a moderate amount. Protein, dietary fiber, fat and other essential nutrients are low in content.

 

 

Fresh sliced jalapeño

Fresh sliced jalapeño

Jalapeños are a low-acid food with a pH of 4.8-6.0 depending on maturity and individual pepper. Improperly canned jalapeños can have botulism and in 1977 home-canned jalapeños led to the largest outbreak of botulism in the US in over a century. If canned or pickled jalapeños appear gassy, mushy, moldy, or have a disagreeable odor, then to avoid botulism, discard the food and boil the jar, lid and contents for 30 minutes in water, scrub all surfaces that may have come in contact with it, and wash all clothing and hands; discarding sponges or towels used in the cleanup in a plastic bag. Canning or packaging in calcium chloride increases the firmness of the peppers and the calcium content, whether or not the peppers are pickled as well as canned.

In 2008, fresh jalapeños from Mexico were tested positive for Salmonella leading the FDA to believe that the peppers were responsible for much of the 2008 United States salmonellosis outbreak. This large outbreak of Salmonella led to increased research into the detection of foodborne illnesses on jalapeños, the frequency and behavior of foodborne illness on jalapeños, and ways to prevent foodborne illnesses on fresh jalapeños. Contaminated irrigation water and processing water are the two most common methods that jalapeños become infected, as was the case in the 2008 outbreak. Jalapeños have similar microbial properties to tomatoes, the outer layer of their skin provides a safe environment for foodborne illnesses to survive and if damaged or chopped provides a growth medium pathogens. Washing fresh jalapeños is important to reduce pathogen counts both at the farm and consumer level, but without cold storage it is insufficient to prevent pathogen spread.

Jalapeño juice may be used as a remedy for seasonal allergies and clearing sinuses from colds.

 

 

Jalapeño peppers wrapped in crescent rolls

Jalapeño peppers wrapped in crescent rolls

Serving methods:
* Stuffed jalapeños are hollowed out fresh jalapeños (served cooked or raw) that are stuffed, often with a mix containing seafood, red meat, poultry, and/or cheese.
*Pickled jalapeños, a type of Pickled pepper, 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, which is a Pepper jelly, can be prepared using jelling methods.
* Jalapeño peppers are often muddled and served in mixed drinks.
* Jalapeño poppers are an appetizer; jalapeños are stuffed with cheese, usually cheddar or cream cheese, breaded or wrapped in bacon, and cooked.
* Armadillo eggs are jalapeños or similar chilis stuffed with cheese, coated in seasoned sausage meat and wrapped in bacon. The “eggs” are then grilled until the bacon starts to crisp.
* Chiles 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 breaded, and deep fried.
* Chopped jalapeños are a common ingredient in many salsas and chilis.
* Jalapeño slices are commonly served in Vietnamese pho, and are also a common sandwich and even pizza topping in the West.

Pepper of the Week – Cayenne Pepper

October 29, 2015 at 5:00 AM | Posted in Pepper of the Week, Peppers | Leave a comment
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A large red cayenne

A large red cayenne

The cayenne pepper, also known as the Guinea spice, cow-horn pepper, red hot chili pepper, aleva, bird pepper, or, especially in its powdered form, red pepper, is a cultivar of Capsicum annuum related to bell peppers, jalapeños, paprika, and others. The Capsicum genus is in the nightshade family (Solanaceae). It is a hot chili pepper used to flavor dishes. It is named for the city of Cayenne in French Guiana.

The fruits are generally dried and ground, or pulped and baked into cakes, which are then ground and sifted to make the powdered spice of the same name.

Cayenne is used in cooking spicy dishes, as a powder or in its whole form (such as in Korean, Sichuan, and other Asian cuisine), or in a thin, vinegar-based sauce. It is generally rated at 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville units. It is also used as an herbal supplement, and was mentioned by Nicholas Culpeper in his Complete Herbal, 1653, as “guinea pepper”, a misnomer for “guiana pepper”.

 
Most cultivated varieties of cayenne, Capsicum annuum, can be grown in a variety of locations and need around 100 days to mature. Peppers prefer warm, moist, nutrient-rich soil in a warm climate. The plants grow to about 20–39 in in height and should be spaced 3 ft apart. In gardens, the plants may be planted as close as 1 ft apart in a raised bed. This may reduce the yield of an individual plant, but will increase yields per unit area.

Chilis are mostly perennial in subtropical and tropical regions; however, they are usually grown as annuals in temperate climates. They can be overwintered if protected from frost, and require some pruning.

 

 

Thai peppers, a cayenne type pepper

Thai peppers, a cayenne type pepper

Cayenne pepper, by weight, is relatively high in vitamin A. It also contains vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium, and manganese. However, given the very small amount of cayenne pepper typically consumed in a serving, it makes a negligible contribution to overall dietary intake of these nutrients.

Cayenne pepper consumption dilates the blood vessels and speeds the metabolism due to the high amounts of capsaicin. With the consumption of cayenne peppers, the amount of heat the human body puts off is influenced. In animal studies, capsaicin has the ability to boost metabolism, which in turn causes weight loss. This increases circulation and blood flow to all major organs, facilitating oxygen and nutrient delivery. Capsaicin may support a healthy energy balance while suppressing appetite. Capsaicin has been shown to increase energy expenditure, so acts as a metabolism booster and is beneficial in long-term weight loss. A correlation has been shown between substrate oxidation and capsaicin. Capsaicin treatment sustained fat oxidation during weight maintenance, but did not affect weight regain after modest weight loss.

Cayenne pepper is also claimed to be an aphrodisiac because it contains capsaicin. It has also been shown to aid in the oxidation of adipose tissue, regulate high blood pressure, promote healthy liver function and tissue production, help regulate the digestive system, and promote healthy mucus production in the membranes that line internal organs.

 

 

Capsicum frutescens

Capsicum frutescens

Cayenne is a popular spice in a variety of cuisines. It is employed variously in its fresh form, dried and powdered, and as dried flakes. It is also a key ingredient in a variety of hot sauces, particularly those employing vinegar as a preservative. Cayenne pepper is often spread on sandwiches or similar items to add a spicy flavor.

 

Kitchen Hint of the Day!

May 9, 2015 at 5:08 AM | Posted in Kitchen Hints, Peppers | Leave a comment
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If you’ve never made chili before, you probably have some idea that proper chili should be pretty spicy and you may be tempted to reach for store-bought chili powder. But, you’ll get better results and a truer heat by finding some dried chiles like chipotles, guajillos, anchos, and pasillas, toasting them, and grinding them using a coffee grinder.

The Scoville Scale – If you can’t stand the heat….

April 21, 2015 at 5:28 AM | Posted in Peppers | Leave a comment
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Pepper stand at market in Texas, with Scoville scale.

Pepper stand at market in Texas, with Scoville scale.

The Scoville scale is the measurement of the pungency (spicy heat) of chili peppers or other spicy foods as reported in Scoville heat units (SHU), a function of capsaicin concentration. The scale is named after its creator, American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville. His method, devised in 1912, is known as the Scoville Organoleptic Test.

Unlike methods based on high-performance liquid chromatography, the Scoville scale is an empirical measurement dependent on the capsaicin sensitivity of testers and so is not a precise or accurate method to measure capsaicinoid concentration.

 

 

THE SCOVILLE SCALE of Peppers

Some Jalapenos

Some Jalapenos

15,000,000 – 16,000,000: Pure Capsaicin
2,000,000 – 5,300,000: Pepper Spray
1,400,000 – 2,200,000: Carolina Reaper
1,200,000 – 2,000,000: Trinidad Scorpion
855,000 – 1,041,427: Ghost Pepper
425,000 – 577,000: Chocolate Habanero
350,000 – 577,000: Red Savina Habanero

 
100,000 – 350,000: Habanero
100,000 – 350,000: Scotch Bonnet
50,000 – 100,000: Thai Pepper
50,000 – 100,000: Chiltepin
50,000 – 100,000: Malagueta Pepper

 
40,000 – 60,000: Pequin Pepper
30,000 – 50,000: Cayenne Pepper
30,000 – 50,000: Tabasco Pepper
10,000 – 23,000: Serrano Pepper
5,000 – 10,000: Hungarian Wax
2,500 – 8,000: Jalapeño Pepper

 
1,500 – 2,500: Rocotillo Pepper
1,000 – 1,500: Poblano Pepper
500 – 2,500: Anaheim Pepper
100 – 500: Pimento Pepper
100 – 500: Pepperoncini
0: Bell Pepper

 

Herb and Spice of the Week – Cayenne Pepper

July 17, 2014 at 5:37 AM | Posted in Peppers, spices and herbs | Leave a comment
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A large red cayenne

A large red cayenne

The cayenne pepper, also known as the Guinea spice, cow-horn pepper, aleva, bird pepper, or, especially in its powdered form, red pepper, is a cultivar of Capsicum annuum related to bell peppers, jalapeños, paprika, and others. The Capsicum genus is in the nightshade family (Solanaceae). It is a hot chili pepper used to flavor dishes. It is named for the city of Cayenne in French Guiana.

The fruits are generally dried and ground, or pulped and baked into cakes, which are then ground and sifted to make the powdered spice of the same name.

Cayenne is used in cooking spicy dishes, as a powder or in its whole form (such as in Korean, Sichuan, and other Asian cuisine), or in a thin, vinegar-based sauce. It is generally rated at 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville units. It is also used as an herbal supplement, and was mentioned by Nicholas Culpeper in his Complete Herbal, 1653, as “guinea pepper”, a misnomer for “guiana pepper”.

 

 

 
Most cultivated varieties of cayenne, Capsicum annuum, can be grown in a variety of locations and need around 100 days to mature. Peppers prefer warm, moist, nutrient-rich soil in a warm climate. The plants grow to about 2–4 ft (0.6–1 m) in height and should be spaced 3 ft (0.91 m) apart. In gardens, the plants may be planted as close as 1 ft (30 cm) apart in a raised bed. This may reduce the yield of an individual plant, but will increase yields per unit area.

Chilis are mostly perennial in subtropical and tropical regions; however, they are usually grown as annuals in temperate climates. They can be overwintered if protected from frost, and require some pruning.

 

 

 

Thai peppers, a cayenne type pepper

Thai peppers, a cayenne type pepper

Cayenne pepper, by weight, is relatively high in vitamin A. It also contains vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium, and manganese. However, given the very small amount of cayenne pepper typically consumed in a serving, it makes a negligible contribution to overall dietary intake of these nutrients.

Cayenne pepper consumption dilates the blood vessels and speeds the metabolism due to the high amounts of capsaicin. With the consumption of cayenne peppers, the amount of heat the human body puts off is influenced. In animal studies, capsaicin has the ability to boost metabolism, which in turn causes weight loss. This increases circulation and blood flow to all major organs which facilitates oxygen and nutrient delivery. Cayenne pepper may support a healthy energy balance while suppressing appetite. Capsaicin has been shown to increase energy expenditure, so acts as a metabolism booster and is beneficial in long-term weight loss. A correlation has been shown between substrate oxidation and capsaicin. Capsaicin treatment sustained fat oxidation during weight maintenance, but did not affect on weight regain after modest weight loss.

In a low-concentration cream applied to the skin, capsaicin has no meaningful effect in helping relieve neuropathic pain; rather, it causes skin irritation.

Cayenne pepper is also claimed to be an aphrodisiac because it contains capsaicin. It has also been shown to aid in the oxidation of adipose tissue, regulate high blood pressure, promote healthy liver function and tissue production, help regulate the digestive system, and promote healthy mucus production in the membranes that line internal organs.

 

 

 
Cayenne is a popular spice in a variety of cuisines. It is employed variously in its fresh form, dried and powdered, and as dried flakes. It is also a key ingredient in a variety of hot sauces, particularly those employing vinegar as a preservative. Cayenne pepper is often spread on sandwiches or similar items to add a spicy flavor. Buffalo wing sauce often contains cayenne.

 

 

Farfalle with Jennie – O Turkey Italian Sausage and Peppers

February 8, 2014 at 9:22 AM | Posted in Jennie-O Turkey Products, pasta, Peppers, Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Pasta | Leave a comment
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A favorite among Steve and Rachael’s family, thanks for passing it along!

 

 

Farfalle with Jennie – O Turkey Italian Sausage and Peppers
Ingredients:

8 ounces Whole Grain Farfalle Pasta (bow tie pasta)
12 ounces, or more, Jenny – O Turkey Sweet or Spicy Italian Sausage (if using links, remove sausage from casings)
1 medium Green Bell Pepper, seeded, membrane removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium Red Bell Pepper, seeded, membrane removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup Swanson Low-Sodium Beef Broth
Kosher or Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Peppercorn to taste
1/4 cup chopped Flat Leaf Parsley (Italian parsley)
Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese for accompaniment

 

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package directions, preferably al dente (firm to the bite). Drain and keep warm.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook sausage over medium-high heat, breaking up into bite-sized chunks, until browned; drain fat.
Add the bell pepper and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the beef broth. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper; stir in parsley and the cooked pasta and toss gently to combine.
Serve immediately garnished with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Makes 4 servings.

Baked Stuffed Poblano Peppers w/ Mini Ears of Corn with Chili Lime Butter

September 27, 2013 at 5:33 PM | Posted in baking, cheese, Jennie-O Turkey Products, Old El Paso Products, Peppers, Uncle Ben's Rice | 1 Comment
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Today’s Menu: Baked Stuffed Poblano Peppers w/ Mini Ears of Corn with Chili Lime Butter

 

Baked Stuffed Poblano Peppers 006

 

 
Spent the morning at a local park, just enjoying the beautiful weather. Then the family started our outdoor sprucing up for the rest of the day. For dinner finally got around to the Poblano Peppers, after being distracted by the Rainbow Trout yesterday. For dinner; Baked Stuffed Poblano Peppers w/ Mini Ears of Corn with Chili Lime Butter.

 

 

I’ve had made Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers but it’s the first time I’ve stuffed the Pablano Peppers. They’re a lot easier to work with than the Jalapenos because their bigger and easier to handle. I started by splitting the Poblano Pepper in half and removed the seeds and ribs. Set them aside and gathered my stuffings for them. To stuff it with I used 1 packet Old El Paso Taco Seasoning, Jennie – O Extra Lean Ground Turkey Breast (120 calories 0 carbs), Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain Medley Brown Rice and Quinoa with Garlic, and fresh grated Dutch Gouda Cheese. I cooked the Ground Turkey ahead of time that way when I stuffed it in the Pepper it wouldn’t take as long when baking. As I fried the Ground Turkey I seasoned with Sea Salt, Ground Black Pepper, Roasted Ground Cumin, along with the Old El Paso Taco Seasoning Packet. After it was done I sit aside until I was ready to use for the Stuffing. The Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain Medley Brown Rice and Quinoa with Garlic was leftover from the other night’s dinner so I just had to reheat it a tad before adding into the Pepper.

 

Ready for the oven!

Ready for the oven!

 

I also made a Tomato Sauce to top or baste the Pepper in as it was baking. For the Sauce I used 1 8 oz. can of Tomato Sauce and 2 Green Onions that I diced up. In a small sauce pan I added the can of Tomato Sauce and the diced Green Onions and heated on medium heat for about 10 minutes and turned it on low until I was ready to use it. Having everything ready I Stuffed the peppers with the Ground Turkey and the Rice and Quinoa mixture. Ladled about half of the tomato sauce into a 13- by 9-inch casserole dish. Place the peppers on top and ladle over the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the Peppers with the Gouda Cheese, cover the casserole dish with foil and baked for 30 minutes. Removed the foil from the top and cooked until the peppers were very soft, about another 5 minutes. These came out incredible! Half of the Pepper was enough for me. The combination of the Peppers and all the ingredients worked well together to give some fantastic flavor! Have to keep this recipe.

 

 

I also boiled a couple of Green Giant Mini Ears of Corn that I buttered with a Chili Lime Butter. The Butter is easy to make. Just took I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, 1 teaspoon Chili Powder, and zested 1/2 a Lime. Mixed it all together and done. The Stuffed Pepper and Corn makes one fine meal. For dessert later a Healthy Choice Chocolate Swirl Frozen Yogurt.

 

 

 

 

 

POBLANO PEPPERSPoblano Pepper
The poblano pepper is a mild chili pepper normally grown in Mexico. Fresh poblano peppers are wide and usually served stuffed. Poblanos have a mild taste like bell peppers. The Scoville Heat Unit is used to determine the level of heat in peppers. The measurement for a poblano pepper is 2,500 to 3,000 units, as compared to cayenne pepper, for instance, which has a heat unit of 35,000. Generally, poblano peppers have the same nutritional components as other chili peppers.

 

Poblano peppers, cooked or raw, are very low in calories and fat. The calorie and fat content does not change when cooked unless cooking oils or butter are added. One cooked poblano pepper has 13 calories. A poblano pepper has well under a half gram of fat, and only a small fraction of that is saturated fat. Poblano peppers do not have cholesterol. Extremely low-calorie foods, such as poblano peppers, make healthy snacks to maintain a low-calorie diet.

 
Cooked poblano peppers are low in carbohydrates. One poblano pepper contains 2.7 grams of carbohydrates, which is only 1 percent of the total daily value. Out of the 2.7 grams of carbohydrates, 1.1 gram is dietary fiber. This represents 4 percent of the recommended daily allowance of fiber. According to the Mayo Clinic, fiber has a number of health benefits, including regulating bowel movements, controlling blood sugar levels, reducing cholesterol and possibly aiding in weight loss.

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