Dried Jalapeno Flakes
Dried Jalapeno Flakes (pronounced "haa-luh-pay-nyow"), Capsicum annuum, is also called dried jalapeno, jalapeno flakes, or jalapeno pepper flakes.
What Are Jalapeno Flakes
Jalapeno Flakes are similar to the more common red pepper flakes but are from the dried jalapeno chiles. Jalapeno Flakes are a bit hard to come by even though Jalapeno peppers are the most common chile pepper used in the U.S. With a gentle pungency but noticeable heat, most fresh jalapenos are picked when they are still green in color, while a select few are left on the plant until they are fully ripened at the end of the season. At this point, the peppers turn a deep crimson red and are then typically (but not always) dried and smoked . Jalapeno Flakes can be used to add a bit of kick to chili, pizza, soups and stews.
History of Jalapeno Peppers
The word jalapeno first appeared in the late 1950s and translates to "of Jalapa" which comes from Mexican Spanish Jalapa (which refers to Xalapa, the capital city of the Mexican state of Veracruz) which was derived from the Nahuatl (the ancient Aztec language) word Xalapan which translates to "sand by the water".
Jalapenos are one of the first and oldest cultivated crops in the Western Hemisphere, dating back to before the Aztec civilization (1345-1521). They originated in the region of Mexico that today is northern Mexico City. Most chiles can be dried using the sun, but not Jalapenos. Chile historians believe that the Aztecs first smoked jalapeno peppers because the fleshy, thick jalapeno was difficult to dry in the sun and tended to rot. This "smoke drying" process was initially used for drying meats, but the Aztecs found that smoking allowed the chiles to be stored for a longer period of time as well.
As the Aztec empire began to rise, so did their interest in importing and exporting. Smoked jalapenos (today known as Chipotle chiles) were highly prized in trading and were also used at royal rituals. At an Aztec banquet, jalapenos were used in a ceremonial sauce that was served to the emperor and his guests. It was prepared with a mixture of chiles, tomatoes, nuts, pumpkin seeds, chocolate and caramel. This sauce was used to flavor venison, fowl and seafood. In Mexico, only the pickled version of this pepper is called a jalapeno. The fresh green pod is called 'cuaresmenos'. In the US, it is called a jalapeno whether its fresh or pickled.
Bernardino de Sahagun, a Franciscan friar, missionary priest and pioneering ethnographer (one who conducts the systematic study of people and cultures), arrived in New Spain (modern day Mexico) in 1529. He quickly learned the Nahualt (pronounced "nä wätl") language and spent the next 60 years studying the Aztecs and their culture. He described the typical Aztec market as having "hot green chiles, smoked chiles, water chiles, tree chiles, flea chiles and sharp-pointed red chiles. To further illustrate the importance that the Aztecs placed on chiles, they classified them into 6 categories based not only on their level of pungency (low to high), but also on type of pungency (broad to sharp)."
Jalapeno Pepper Cultivation
Jalapeno plants typically reach a height of 2-1/2' to 3', with a single main stem. These multi-branched plants have light to dark green leaves that measure about 2" wide by 3" long. The flower petals (corollas) are white, contain no spots, and mature into conical and cylindrical pods that are approximately 1-1/2" wide and 2 -3 inches long. Most jalapenos are harvested while still immature and are their familiar green color, a select few are allowed to fully ripen to a deep red color. The full growing period of jalapenos is between 70 and 80 days and under ideal growing conditions each plant will produce between 25 and 35 pods.
While ingenious to Mexico, these chiles are also grown in the southwestern US and throughout South America. In Mexico, they are primarily grown in Oaxaca, the Lower Palaloapan River Valley and northern Veracruz. In the United States, California is the leader in jalapeno chile production, followed by New Mexico and Texas. Jalapeno chiles can be grown in a variety of soil types and climates, although they grow best in semiarid climates. Those that are planted in hot humid areas tend to produce significantly lower yields per plant and tend to not be as spicy.
Where Are Our Jalapeno Flakes From
Depending on the time of year and product availability, our green jalapenos are grown in either Mexico or the US.
What Do Jalapeno Flakes Taste Like
Earthy-grassy flavor with a sharp heat.
How Hot Are Jalapeno Flakes
These chiles are considered a medium heat chile coming in at between 2500 and 8000 SHU (Scoville Heat Units).
Can I Substitute Jalapeno for Red Pepper Flakes
Yes. While you can certainly substitute Jalapeno Flakes for red pepper flakes you should be aware that these are not the same thing. Jalapeno Flakes are milder and considered a medium heat chile flake at 2500 - 8000 SHU, and also have a bit more flavor. Red Pepper Flakes are considered a hot heat chile flake at 30000 - 35000 SHU and do not possess much flavor at all.
How Do You Use Jalapeno Flakes
Jalapeno Flakes can be used in chili, corn bread, salsa, sauces, spice blends, stews, taco meat or sprinkled over chicken, eggs, pork chops and of course pizza!
Jalapeno Powder Substitution
Approximately ¾ - 1-1/2 teaspoons is equal to one fresh jalapeno (knowing that sizes of jalapenos can vary greatly).
|Also Called||Dried jalapeno, jalapeno flakes, or jalapeno pepper flakes|
|Recommended Uses||Use in chili, corn bread, salsa, sauces, spice blends, stews, taco meat or sprinkled over chicken, eggs, pork chops and of course pizza|
|Flavor Profile||Earthy-grassy flavor with a sharp heat|
|Scoville Heat Units||2500 – 8000 SHU|
|Botanical Name||Capsicum annuum|
|Cuisine||Mexican or US|
|How To Store||Airtight container in a cool, dark place|
|Shelf Life||1-2 Years|
|Country of Origin||Mexico or US|
|Dietary Preferences||Gluten Free, Kosher, Non-GMO|
Hungry for More Information
Serving Size1 tsp
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*