When it comes time to harvest jalapeños bring the heat. Just one jalapeño pepper plant can be harvested multiple times, producing up to 70 peppers in one growing season!
Such a large harvest from a single plant can leave even the most spice-loving gardener bewildered. By learning different ways to store jalapeños gardeners can avoid attempting to incorporate fresh jalapeños into every summer meal.
Fresh jalapenos can be stored for up to a month in the refrigerator but jalapenos can be pickled and last for a year.
Besides their impressive quantities, jalapeños literally bring the heat in the form of capsaicin. When handling hot peppers in any way, including harvesting, preparing, or cooking it’s a good idea to wear plastic gloves. If capsaicin comes into contact with skin or eyes it will cause a burning sensation.
How To Store Fresh Jalapenos
For longer storage of up to a month store fresh jalapenos wrapped in paper towels in the crisper drawer in the refrigerator. If you plan on eating the jalapenos in the next 2-3 days leave them on the counter in a shaded area.
The optimal storage temperature for fresh peppers is 45℉. Room temperature, averaging around 70℉, is far from ideal storage conditions for jalapeño peppers.
Do not wash jalapenos before storing them in the refrigerator and if you do wash them make sure to dry them completely.
By leaving jalapenos on the counter at room temperatures they have their maximum flavor. When you harvest jalapenos is the major component that affects taste.
As the pepper ripens and changes color it will accumulate more sugars and more capsaicin. If looking to maximize jalapeño sweetness and hotness harvest when the peppers are fully mature.
Jalapeños can be harvested at any time on the plant. Sometimes it makes sense to harvest some early to have peppers earlier in the season and it encourages the plant to keep producing peppers meaning you might have more peppers by the end of the season if you pick some early.
After harvest, keep peppers whole and unwashed to maximize length of storage. Moisture is the enemy! Whole jalapeño peppers can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator until they begin to show signs of spoilage.
Signs of spoilage include visibly wrinkled skin, a softened texture, and visible black or brown spots. When ready to use, jalapeños must be washed to remove any potential pathogens or contaminants.
Wash peppers with cool, clean water and dry with paper towels before cutting. Once cut, jalapeños must be stored in the refrigerator to minimize risk of harmful bacterial growth. Cut jalapeños will last 2-4 days in the refrigerator.
Do Jalapenos Last Longer in the Refrigerator?
The ideal storage temperature for jalapenos is 45℉. When stored properly in the refrigerator jalapeños can last up to a month! When stored at room temperature, fresh jalapeños typically last 3 days before showing signs of spoilage.
Average home refrigerators are much closer to the ideal storage temperature for jalapeños, averaging around 40℉. By storing jalapeño peppers in the refrigerator, reactions that contribute to the chemical and physical degradation are drastically slowed.
It is best to not wash peppers before storing them in the refrigerator. If you feel like you have to wash them make sure to dry them thoroughly before storing them.
Wrap the jalapenos in paper towels to maintain a dry environment around the jalapeños. The paper towels will absorb moisture from the peppers themselves or from the refrigerator environment.
Store Jalapenos in Vinegar
Storing jalapenos in vinegar is a great option when you get a big harvest of fresh jalapenos. With just three ingredients, jalapeños take on an acidic tang that helps to balance out their heat, and help them last for an entire year.
Pickled jalapenos can add some summer zest to tacos, pizza, salads, guacamole, salads, or sandwiches even in the depths of winter.
Proper equipment is required prior to pickling jalapeño peppers. Collect canning jars with lids and a water bath canner.
Check that the jars are free of chips and cracks and are washed in hot, soapy water, and rinsed well. Ring bands free of dents or rust may be reused but the lids should be new.
Only peppers, salt, and vinegar are needed to pickle peppers. Pickle jalapeños as soon as possible after harvesting and be sure to harvest peppers that are firm and free from bruises, blemishes, and insect damage.
On average, about 1 pound of peppers will yield a pint of pickled peppers. When selecting salt, be sure to use canning or pickling salt to best maintain pepper appearance.
Table salt contains additives that can make pickling liquids cloudy and iodized salt can darken the peppers. While all vinegars can be used for pickling, distilled white vinegar is recommended to best preserve the color of the peppers.
Regardless of the type of vinegar selected, it is very important to ensure that it contains at least 5% acetic acid. Jalapeños are naturally low in acid, and the additional acetic acid prevents potentially harmful microbial growth during storage.
Avoid boiling the vinegar solution for too long in order to prevent loss of acetic acid. When pickling any produce, it is incredibly important to follow recipe directions very carefully! When preserved improperly peppers can cause sickness.
Once canned, store peppers in a cool, dry, dark place where storage temperatures do not exceed 75℉. Avoid eating jars of pickled jalapeños that appear gassy, mushy, moldy, or smell bad. Store opened jars in the refrigerator.
Store Jalapenos in Olive Oil
Jalapenos roasted and then stored in olive oil have a softer flavor than fresh jalapenos. This can be a nice change of pace if you have a large harvest of fresh jalapenos.
Roast jalapeños in a broiler or on a grill until skins are bubbly and blackened, about 20 minutes. Remove the skin and cut flesh into thick strips. Remove the seeds to reduce the spice if desired. Add pepper strips to a jar and cover with olive oil. Cover and refrigerate immediately.
Peppers stored in oil must be consumed within 5 days. If longer storage is desired, jalapeño in oil mixtures can be frozen.
The naturally low-acidity of jalapeños and the oxygen-free environment in the oil creates an ideal environment for the growth of potentially harmful bacteria.
Commercial vegetable-in-oil mixtures can be stored at room temperature only because they are acidified. Acidification (such as adding vinegar when pickling) prevents bacterial growth.
Please comment below with your own experiences or advice on how to store jalapenos.