Jalapenos (or Jalapeño) are a staple to Mexican cuisines, but also quite versatile to go with many other dishes. If you want a hot, spicy kick in your dish that doesn’t burn your tongue, jalapenos are your best option.
Depending on your location, jalapenos might not always be available in your local grocery store. Thus, it sounds like a great idea to stock up jalapenos at home. This way, it comes handy whenever you need them to spice up your curry or salads.
If that’s the plan, you may ask yourself: how long do jalapenos last in the fridge? Can you freeze jalapenos? Do jalapenos go bad? How about pickled jalapenos?
If you are looking for more information on jalapenos’ shelf life, storage methods, and signs of jalapenos going bad, this article is for you! Read on!
How To Store Jalapenos
You probably have jalapenos supply in different forms, either whole fresh jalapenos, sliced jalapenos, or pickled ones. No worries, we cover one by one in this article.
Let’s start with fresh jalapenos.
If you plan to use these green stuff in a day or two after you bring them home, keeping them on the countertop or at room temperature is completely fine.
For longer storage, keep jalapenos in the refrigerator. Place them in a plastic bag or paper bag. Alternatively, keep them in an airtight container, and layer the bottom with a paper towel.
Moisture is the real enemy. You will need to keep jalapenos dry if you want to store them longer. Check them frequently and remove excess moisture and rotten jalapenos.
Don’t wash and slice jalapenos until you need to use them. But, if you happen to have sliced or chopped jalapenos, keep them in a sealed container and stash it in the refrigerator.
Storing pickled jalapenos is similar to storing other pickles. As long as the package is unopened, keep it in a cool, dry area, away from sources of lights and heat, preferably your pantry or cupboard.
After opening, keep the jar in the refrigerator. Always seal the lid tightly and use clean utensils to take the good stuff.
Can You Freeze Jalapenos?
Absolutely, yes. Fresh jalapenos freeze pretty well. It is not necessary to blanch or cook them before freezing, but you can always do it to your liking and how you plan to use them later. Please note than frozen jalapenos lose their crisp once thawed.
To freeze jalapenos, start with washing them thoroughly. Cut the stem and slice or chop jalapenos. Place sliced jalapenos in a tray and freeze them. Once frozen, transfer frozen jalapenos into a freezer bag. It is also possible to freeze them in the freezer bag or container directly.
Frozen jalapenos are great for preparing cooked dishes. In many cases, it is perfectly fine to use frozen peppers right into the pan. They will need to cook anyway.
How Long Do Jalapenos Last?
The shelf life of jalapenos varies considerably depending on the form and how you store them.
When kept at room temperature, fresh jalapenos are good to use within 2 to 3 days. Meanwhile, with proper storage in the refrigerator, fresh jalapenos can stay fresh up to 1 to 2 weeks.
As with other cut vegetables, sliced jalapenos also don’t last very long in the refrigerator, as they typically last only for 2 to 4 days. Better to slice or chop them shortly before use.
Freezing jalapenos is a great way to prolong their shelf life. Frozen jalapenos retain the desirable quality for up to 6 to 8 months.
Another way to preserve jalapenos is to pickle them. If you make home-canned pickled jalapenos, they should be good to consume within a year. Make sure you follow the canning procedure correctly.
Store-bought pickled jalapenos come with a “best-before” date printed on the package. Respect this date during your purchase and consumption. With good storage conditions, the products will maintain their peak quality until the date and possibly after it. After opening, use pickled jalapenos within 1 to 3 months.
How To Tell If Jalapenos Go Bad
As with other fresh fruits and vegetables, jalapenos will also lose their quality before starting to go bad.
First thing first, only buy fresh jalapenos. Select fresh, crisp, and vibrant green jalapenos. It can happen that, when you open a pack of fresh jalapenos at home, they are already soft or even have unseen moldy spots. If that’s the case, toss those ones before contaminating the others.
When exposed to moisture, jalapenos start to get soft, wrinkled and lose the crisp. Use these peppers immediately before they start going bad.
At some point, they might get too soft or watery. If it’s just a small part, remove this part and use the rest.
To spot jalapenos going bad, inspect if there is any rotten or moldy part. If jalapenos emit unpleasant odor in any way, also throw them away.
With pickled jalapenos, the guidelines are similar to other canned products. Start with inspecting the package. Only buy or use the stuff if the package is still perfect. Don’t use if the jar or can is leaked, dented, bulged, rusted, or spurted liquid after opening.
If the pickles emit a foul smell, or you see molds, slimy or cloudy liquid, bubbles, it’s also time to let them go.
Fresh jalapenos typically have an off-white color with a slightly yellow tint. Unless for dried seeds, brown color may indicate that the peppers are going bad.
Compared to other hot peppers, jalapenos range in moderate spiciness measured in Scoville heat units. Jalapenos are less spicy than Serrano, Cayenne pepper, Thai chilis, and Habanero, but are spicier than pepperoncini, Poblano, and Tabasco pepper.
Capsaicin is the substance that gives jalapeno (and other chili peppers) the heat and burning sensation. Capsaicin is located in the membrane or placental tissue, mostly in that white part inside the pepper. Thus, this white part tends to be the hottest part. Although the seeds do not produce capsaicin, they are also coated by this substance.
If you want to reduce the heat of peppers, cut away the white parts along with the seeds.
Jalapenos are versatile peppers that go well into many dishes beyond Mexican cuisines. As with other vegetables, jalapenos go bad after a while.
Fresh jalapenos have a short life, so use them while still fresh to spice up your meals. If you don’t plan to use them anytime soon, consider freezing or pickling them to benefit for longer shelf life.
Pickled jalapenos last longer than the fresh ones. As with any other foods, good hygiene and proper storage are important to keep your jalapenos supply as long as possible.
*Photo by ivusakzkrabice/depositphotos