Jalapeno peppers have a tart bell pepper-like flavor with a spicy kick. Although jalapenos are milder than many peppers – less than 10,000 on the Scoville scale vs. the cayenne pepper, which comes in at over 30,000 – some may still find the pepper too hot. To use jalapeno in your recipes without all of its heat, you must take steps to prepare the peppers before you use them. Jalapenos are available in the produce section of most major grocery stores.
Wear a pair of latex or plastic gloves to keep the heat off your hands.
Remove the stems from the jalapenos. You can pull them off with your hands or cut the tops off with a knife.
Slice the peppers in half lengthwise. Slicing them lengthwise gives you the best access to the seed pods.
Pull the seed pods out with your fingers. The seeds hold most of the heat. Once you remove the seeds, you can use the jalapeno or move on to the next step to remove even more heat.
Hold the pepper under a stream of cold tap water. Scrape the inside of the pepper with your thumb to remove the membrane. The membrane is a thin, blistered layer slightly lighter than the rest of the pepper. Once you rinse out the membrane, you can use the pepper or move on to the next step to remove even more heat.
Add the peppers to a Mason jar. Pour lemon-lime soda into the jar until the peppers are covered. If you do not have lemon-lime soda, add 1 tsp. of lime juice to the jar and pour in plain soda water until the peppers are covered. The soda will absorb the rest of the heat.
Cover the jar and put it in the refrigerator for two hours or more. Drain the peppers or remove the peppers from the jar and keep the liquid for use later. Let the peppers dry and use them as desired.
The heat in jalapeno peppers can irritate your mucous membranes and other sensitive tissues. Do not touch your face, eyes or other mucous membranes while handling hot peppers. If you are wearing gloves, remove them first. If you are not wearing gloves, rinse your hands with milk, and then wash with a grease-cutting soap, such as dish washing soap, first. If you accidentally touch yourself, flush the area with cold water.
- "The Chile Pepper Encyclopedia"; Dave Dewitt; March 1999
- US Hot Stuff: Chile Heat Scale
Max Whitmore is a personal trainer with more than three years experience in individual and group fitness. Whitmore has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Cincinnati, fitness certifications and dietetics training from Cincinnati State Technical and Community College. Whitmore has written for several online publishers.