Growing jalapeno peppers from seed or transplants. Seeds and plants available for mild and fiery hot jalepeno pepper strains. When to pick them for best flavor. Freezing and drying fresh jalapenos.
Jalapeno pepper plants grow to a height of approximately 3 feet. They have thin, dark green leaves that wilt easily in wind or under drought conditions.
Once a newly planted jalapeno pepper plant grows to a height of 6-8 inches, it will begin to flower provided it is kept warm and given enough light. The flowers are quarter inch white stars with yellow anthers in the centers. They tend to face downward.
Next comes the fruit. Pepper plants are self-fruitful and do not even require insects to pollinate them. Just the movement of the blossoms in the breeze will do the trick. They do sometimes have a problem holding their fruit.
When growing jalapeno peppers, sprinkle a pinch of Epsom salts on top of the soil just as they come into bloom. This will help the plants to set and hold their crop.
Jalapeno chili peppers are 2-3 inches long and about an inch wide when mature. They are usually picked and used while they are still green.
On average, jalapenos measure 5,000 units on the Scoville scale. To put this in perspective, bell peppers measure 0 and habenero peppers measure 300,000.
To complicate matters, there are several varieties of jalapeno chili peppers and they are not always properly labeled in the supermarket, or in the garden center.
Some varieties, like 'Fooled You', are not hot at all. If this is what your green grocer is stocking, it will indeed fool you, if you are expecting a hot jalapeno pepper.
'Hot False Alarm' offers mild heat.
'Mucho Nacho' is both larger and hotter than the average jalepeno. 'Biker Billy' is probably the hottest strain.
When growing jalapeno peppers from seed, remember to start them 12 weeks before you plan to plant them out into the garden.
It is better to start the plants in 4 inch pots than to plant them all together in a seed flat. There is too much risk of root damage when the plants have to be separated later.
Place 2 or 3 seeds in each pot. Just cover the seeds with potting mix. Water them in gently. Keep the pots warm and barely moist until the seeds sprout.
Once the seeds sprout, move the pots into bright light. Once the second set of leaves forms, remove all but a single plant from each pot by pinching it off just above the soil. Don't pull the excess seedlings out as this may disturb the roots of the pepper plants you are keeping.
Feed the jalapeno hot pepper transplants every 2 weeks with a water soluble plant food mixed up at half strength.
Transplant them into the garden once the roots have filled the 4 inch container.
Mild 'Hot, False Alarm' Jalapeno Hybrid, 1 Pkt. (30 seeds)"
Transfer the plants from the 4 inch pots into 8 or 10 inch pots. Set them into the sunniest spot you have and remember to water them regularly.
Growing jalapeno peppers in containers is a way for someone who lives in a condo or apartment to enjoy fresh, home grown hot peppers.
For more explicit instructions, see: Secrets to Successful Container Vegetable Gardening.
There are 3 methods of preserving jalapeno peppers: freezing, drying and canning.
Freezing jalapeno peppers is simple. Just cut off the stem, remove the seeds and veins (you can use a jalapeno pepper seeder for this) and chop the fruit.
Spread the minced jalapeno peppers out on a buttered cookie sheet. This is to keep them from freezing into a solid block. Pop the cookie sheet into the freezer until the chopped peppers are firm. Then transfer them into a plastic bag or container.
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