How to Pick, Cut & Store Jalapenos

Wondering what to do with jalapenos, from how to pick and store them to how to cut and cook them? Well, get ready because you’re about to get some knowledge served jalapeno kitchen 😜

Here’s what we’ll cover in this guide:

The F.N. Sharp Guide to Choosing, Cutting and Storing Jalapenos – Plus, 17 Delicious Recipes to Try!

Before we get into all of our jalapeno-cutting tips and recipes, let’s go over some FAQs:

How and When to Pick Jalapenos

So you’re staring at a pile of jalapenos at the grocery store, farmers market or produce stand, wondering which ones will set your taste buds on fire and which ones will leave you feeling lukewarm. Fear not, for we have the tips for choosing the perfect jalapeno for your culinary adventures!

When choosing jalapenos, your first instinct may be to look for those with super smooth skin and vibrant green color with a nice gloss; however, the appearance of your jalapeno may also depend on how hot you want it. 

For example, that first instinct would land you on the younger jalapenos, which have that super smooth skin; however, this is also indicative of a milder jalapeno. So if you’re looking for a hotter jalapeno, you’ll actually want to look for ones that have what every woman avoids – stretch marks! The older the jalapeno, the more white marks and flecks it will have and the hotter it will be. Who says things don’t get better with age?

To make choosing jalapenos even easier, they also change color with age. So if you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between green and red jalapenos, it’s – you guessed it – their age! Red jalapenos are left on the vine longer, which gives them more heat (and makes them a little sweeter) versus green jalapenos. Just remember, the seeds and membranes inside the jalapeno hold most of the heat, so if you want to dial it down a notch, remove them before eating or cooking.

Need More Fruit & Veggie Choosing Tips? Check Out These Guides:
🔪 The F.N. Sharp A-Z Guide to Choosing, Cutting and Storing Fruits
🔪 The F.N. Sharp A-Z Guide to Choosing, Cutting and Storing Veggies

How to Store Jalapenos

First things first, when you bring home those fresh, uncut jalapenos, you want to store them properly to maintain their flavor and heat. The best way to do this is to place them in either a paper bag or a perforated plastic bag and store them in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. The perforations allow for some airflow, preventing the jalapenos from getting too moist and moldy. Just make sure to use them within a week or so for the best flavor!

How to Can Jalapenos

So, you’ve got a bunch of jalapenos and you’re wondering how to keep them fresh for longer? Canning jalapenos not only preserves their fiery flavor but also allows you to enjoy them long after their peak season. Let’s dive into the world of jalapeno canning, shall we?

What You’ll Need: Gather up your fresh jalapenos, some vinegar, water, and salt, some canning jars, lids, and a water bath canner. Make sure everything is clean and ready to go before beginning your jalapeno canning adventure.

Preparing the Jalapenos: Wash your jalapenos thoroughly and slice them into rounds or leave them whole, depending on your preference. If you like it extra spicy, keep the seeds in. If you prefer a milder flavor, remove the seeds before canning. 

Brine Time: In a saucepan, combine vinegar, water, and salt to create a brine solution. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for a few minutes. This brine will help preserve the jalapenos and give them that tangy kick we all love.

Canning Magic: Pack your jalapenos into the sterilized jars, leaving some headspace at the top. Pour the hot brine over the jalapenos, making sure they are completely submerged. Wipe the jar rims, place the lids on top, and screw on the bands until fingertip tight. Now, it’s time for the water bath canner!

Processing and Storage: Place the jars in the water bath canner, making sure they are covered with water. Process for the recommended time, usually around 10-15 minutes. Once done, carefully remove the jars and let them cool. Store your canned jalapenos in a cool, dark place and let the flavors mingle for at least a week before digging in.

Canned jalapenos can last up to a year if stored properly. Just make sure to check for any signs of spoilage before consuming. And remember, the longer you wait, the more intense the flavor!

How to Freeze Jalapenos

If you find yourself with an abundance of jalapenos, freezing is another great option to preserve their flavor. For uncut jalapenos, simply wash and dry them, then place them in a freezer-safe bag or container. They can be stored whole or sliced for easy use later on. For cut jalapenos, you’ll want to blanch them first to help preserve their texture and flavor. After blanching, dry them thoroughly and then freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet before transferring to a freezer-safe bag or container.

How to Store Cut Jalapenos

Now, let’s say you’ve already sliced or diced up more jalapenos than you need. No worries, you can still keep them fresh! Simply place the cut jalapenos in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag with a paper towel to absorb any excess moisture and store them in the fridge. Just make sure to use them within a few days to prevent them from getting mushy or losing their spiciness. If they do end up mushing out, wrinkling up or showing signs of mold, throw them away.

Whether you’re storing fresh, uncut jalapenos, sliced or diced jalapenos, or freezing them for later use, these spicy storage solutions will help you keep your jalapenos fresh and flavorful. So go ahead, stock up on those jalapenos and spice up your dishes with confidence!

What to do With Those Jalapenos: Cooking Tips & Tricks

Bowl of chili and F.N. Sharp Chef's Knife with chopped ingredients

Wondering what to do with those beautiful jalapenos? Oh, let us count the ways! 

  1. Dice ‘Em Up! From spicy salsas and pico de gallo, to chilis and frittatas, diced jalapenos are a must for adding a kick of heat!
  2. Slice “Em Up! Whether you’re making some tacos, burrito bowls, chicken tortilla soup or just want to add a little kick to your salad, sliced jalapenos make the perfect garnish!
  3. Grill ‘Em Up! One of the best ways to cook jalapenos is simply throwing them on the grill. Just slice them in half, remove the seeds (if you can’t handle the heat), and place them on the grill until they’re nice and charred. 
  4. Stuff ‘Em with Goodness! Another fun way to cook jalapenos is by stuffing them with delicious ingredients (like this recipe). Whether it’s cream cheese, cheddar cheese, or even bacon, the possibilities are endless. Pop them in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and you’ve got yourself a tasty treat!
  5. Pickle ‘Em for a Twist! If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try pickling your jalapenos (like with this recipe from Love and Lemons)? The tangy, spicy flavor of pickled jalapenos is the perfect addition to sandwiches, tacos, or even salads. Plus, they make a great homemade gift for your spice-loving friends.
  6. Blend ‘Em into a Sauce: For those who love a little heat in their dishes, blending jalapenos into a sauce is a great way to add flavor and spice. Whether it’s a creamy jalapeno ranch or a fiery salsa, the possibilities are endless.

Ready to Jump Into the Cooking? Skip on Down to the Recipes

How do You Get Jalapeno Juice and Residue Off Your Hands?

First things first, when it comes to handling jalapenos, and any other pepper that contains capsaicin, you may want to reach for some gloves before cutting them open. Capsaicin is what gives the peppers their heat, and while it is considered a chemical irritant and neurotoxin for mammals, it’s also believed to carry some health benefits. So, if you can take the heat, then stay in the kitchen, put on those gloves and get to choppin’! 

But, if you don’t have any gloves on hand, or it’s simply too late for that and you need a remedy for “jalapeno hands” like RIGHT NOW, then try one of these:

Milk Bath: Yes, you read that right. Soak your hands in a bowl of milk for a few minutes. The fat in the milk helps break down the oils from the jalapenos, providing some relief from the burning sensation. Plus, you’ll have soft hands afterwards – win-win!

Lemon Juice Magic: Lemons seems to come in handy for a variety of cleaning tasks, including those hands! To get rid of that jalapeno residue, squeeze some fresh lemon juice onto your hands and rub them together. The acidity of the lemon helps neutralize the oils from the jalapenos. Plus, you’ll have that fresh, citrusy scent lingering on your hands, which is said to help uplift your mood, increase alertness and reduce feelings of fatigue and stress, so another win-win!

Baking Soda Scrub: Like lemon juice, baking soda also comes with some cleaning power. Mix it with water to create a paste, then use it to gently scrub your hands. The abrasiveness of the baking soda helps exfoliate your skin while removing the jalapeno residue. Rinse off with warm water and voila, clean hands!

Olive Oil Savior: Counteract the jalapeno oils with some olive oil. Rub a small amount of olive oil on your hands, then wash with soap and water. The olive oil helps break down the spicy oils, leaving your hands feeling smooth and clean.

    There you have it, folks! Say goodbye to that fiery jalapeno residue and hello to clean, fresh hands. Now you can go back to cooking up a storm in the kitchen without worrying about the aftermath of those spicy peppers.

    How do You Get Jalapeno Juice and Residue Out of Your Eyes?

    If you make the mistake of cutting up some jalapenos (without gloves) then touch your eyes, leaving you with burning, watery eyes and a serious case of regret…it’s ok! It happens to the best of us! And fear not, dear home chef, for there is a way to banish that fiery jalapeno juice from your precious peepers – just follow these steps:

    Step 1: Don’t Panic! We know it stings like crazy, but rubbing your eyes will only make it worse. Take a deep breath and try to remain calm.

    Step 2: Rinse, Rinse, Rinse! Head to the sink and gently splash cold water into your eyes. The cool water will help soothe the burning sensation and wash away the jalapeno residue. Keep rinsing for a few minutes until the discomfort starts to subside.

    Step 3: Milk to the Rescue! If the burning persists, grab a cotton ball and soak it in some cold milk. Milk contains casein, a protein that helps break down the capsaicin in jalapenos, providing relief from the heat. Gently dab the milk-soaked cotton ball around your eyes to help neutralize the burn.

    Step 4: Seek Help! If the burning sensation continues or if you experience any vision changes, it’s best to seek medical attention. Your eyes are precious, so don’t hesitate to contact a healthcare professional if you’re concerned.

    And there you have it! With these simple steps, you can say goodbye to the fiery wrath of jalapeno juice in your eyes. Remember, always handle spicy ingredients with care to avoid any spicy mishaps in the future. Stay safe and keep those eyes jalapeno-free!

    What’s the Best Knife for Cutting Jalapenos?

    F.N. Sharp Chef's Knife With Whole and Sliced Jalapenos

    When it comes to cutting those jalapenos, the best knife for the job really depends on your preference, so let’s quickly go over some of your best options:

    🔪 The Western Chef’s Knife: This often the go-to for professional chef’s, like our friend Chef Chaz who uses his F.N. Sharp Chef’s Knife for just about everything.

    Knife Knowledge 101: Why Every Kitchen Needs a Chef’s Knife

    🔪 The Japanese Santoku: This Japanese-style chef’s knife has also become a popular choice for both professional and home chefs, as seen in this how-to video by recipe developer Justin Grimm, who also explains why the F.N. Sharp Santoku is his favorite knife in this video.

    Knife Knowledge 101: Top Uses for a Santoku Kitchen Knife

    🔪 The Utility Kitchen Knife: For those who feel they need a smaller knife for the job, the utility kitchen knife is also a great option, as its mid-sized blade may be easier to work with. 

    Straight-Edged and Ready for Business: Get the F.N. Sharp Utility Knife

    🔪 The Paring Knife: Your best bet for recipes that involve hollowing out jalapenos or cutting them into slices or halves is the handy little paring knife

    Knife Knowledge 101: 5 Big Uses for the Handy Little Paring Knife

    🔪 The Boning Knife: Despite its name, the boning knife can also come in handy when hollowing out jalapenos for poppers, thanks to its super slim blade. 

    Knife Knowledge 101: Top Uses for a Boning Knife in the Kitchen

    Check out this guide for more on the best for knives for cutting veggies, and this guide for more on the knives every kitchen should have and how to keep them in tip-top shape!

    Get All the F.N. Sharp Essentials: The F.N. Sharp’s 6-Knife Set & Magnetic Knife Block

    How to Prepare and Cut Jalapenos

    Ready to slice and dice those jalapenos? First, give them jalapenos a nice wash and pat dry. Next, get your cutting board ready by placing a folded, damp paper towel underneath to help stabilize, if needed). Then, grab your knife of choice and follow along with the video above and/or the instructions below.

    For More on Cutting Boards, Check Out These F.N. Sharp Guides:
    🔪 The Best Cutting Board for Your Kitchen Knives
    🔪 How to Care for a Wooden Cutting Board

    How to Deseed a Jalapeno

    Wondering how to deseed a jalapeno without cutting it in half? The best way to do this is by cutting off the stem, then hold the jalapeno in one hand while using the other to carefully scrape out the insides using the tip of a paring knife. For smaller jalapenos, the slim blade of the boning knife may work better. Just be super careful when scraping out that jalapeno, making sure the tip of the knife doesn’t cut through (and into your hand).

    How to Dice a Jalapeno

    F.N. Sharp Chef's Knife With Whole and Sliced Jalapeno

    Need to slice up some jalapenos for your chili, burrito bowl or favorite Mexican dish? There’s really no right or wrong way – it’s all about preference! You can cut off the stem end and continue cutting into slices in whatever thickness you prefer, leaving those ribs and seeds intact for that extra kick of heat. Or, you can use the tip of your knife to deseed and remove the ribs either before or after slicing.

    How to Dice a Jalapeno

    F.N. Sharp Chef's Knife With Diced Jalapeno

    If your recipe calls for thin strips or diced jalapeno, begin by slicing off the stem end, then slice the jalapeno in half lengthwise. You can leave the ribs and seeds for a spicier jalapeno, or use the tip of your knife to remove them. Next, place your jalapeno halves cut-side down and slice lengthwise into thin strips. From there, rotate the strips and slice in the opposite direction to create perfectly diced jalapeno. 

    Practice Your Jalapeno-Cutting Skills With These Recipes

    Are you ready to master those jalapeno-cutting skills? Here are 17 jalapeno-popping recipes to get you there!

    Oven-Baked Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers

    F.N. Sharp Paring Knife With Oven-Baked Jalapeno Poppers

    When you’re craving the sweet and spicy combination of jalapeno and cream cheese but want to skip the frying, then this recipe is all yours!

    Halved jalapenos, chopped bacon, white cheddar cheese, cream cheese, chopped cilantro and sliced chives all come together in this easy recipe for slightly healthier oven-baked jalapeno poppers!

    Cheddar Jalapeno Beer Bread

    F.N. Sharp Paring Knife and Bread Knife With Jalapeno Beer Bread

    This easy Irish beer bread recipe is made extra delicious by adding some shredded sharp cheddar cheese and diced jalapeno!

    It also comes with possiblities – you can cut it into slices to enjoy as is or for sandwiches, or try it toasted, cubed and skewered with some meat and other cheese for the perfect appetizer on a stick (toothpick).

    Veggie-Filled Mac ‘n’ Cheese Cups

    F.N. Sharp Utility Knife With Veggie-Filled Mac 'n' Cheese Cups

    Dice up some jalapenos, grab a muffin pan and get your oven ready for this delicious take on mac ‘n’ cheeseElbow macaroni, sharp cheddar cheese, panko breadcrumbs, and diced cherry tomatoes, onions and jalapenos all come together to serve up some mac ‘n’ cheese in the form of adorable little cups! Spicy, veggie-filled mac ‘n’ cheese? Say yes, please! 

    Double-Spiced Heirloom Tomato Salsa

    Bowl of Double-Spiced Heirloom Tomato Salsa

    Ah, salsa – what better way is there to get a dose of veggies than some fresh salsa piled on top of your favorite tortilla chips, tacos, burrito bowls or even that breakfast omelet? Packed with diced heirloom tomatoes, diced red onion, diced cucumber, diced jalapeno, and frozen corn, this tomato salsa recipe offers the perfect dose while making your taste buds dance!

    Sweet & Spicy Apple Salsa

    F.N. Sharp Utility Knife With Bowl of Apple Salsa and Ingredients

    Get a dose of veggies and fruit with this recipe for sweet and spicy apple salsaDiced apple, diced red or yellow onion, diced English cucumber, diced radish, diced jalapeno, roughly chopped cilantro, freshly squeezed lime juice, sweet agave and salt all come together in this sweet and spicy salsa recipe! Try it with your favorite tortilla chips or smothered over some chicken or pork!

    Homemade Pico de Gallo

    F.N. Sharp Chef's Knife With Ingredients for Pico de Gallo

    For an even fresher take on salsa, take a little peek-o at this recipe! Diced tomatoes, diced white onion, minced jalapeno, minced garlic, roughly chopped fresh cilantro, freshly squeeze lime juice, salt and pepper all come together to create this easy recipe for homemade pico de gallo that serves as the perfect topper to chips, nachos, tacos, burritos or whatever needs a kick of fresh flavor! 

    Chicken Tortilla Soup

    F.N. Sharp Chef's Knife With Bowl of Chicken Tortilla Soup and Ingredients

    When it’s cold outside (or inside your temp-controlled office building in the middle of summer), there’s nothing more warming than a bowl of chicken tortilla soup! Shredded rotisserie chicken, sliced celery, diced carrots, diced red onion, sliced jalapeno, diced tomatoes, finely diced garlic and a medley of spices all come together in this chicken tortilla soup recipe!

    Spreadable Mexican Cheese Ball

    F.N. Sharp Chef's Knife With Mexican Cheese Ball and Ingredients

    True or false? Jalapenos and cheese go together like peanut butter and jelly. If you answered true, then this Mexican cheese ball recipe is for you! This dippable and spreadable ball of yum is loaded with cream cheese, shredded cheddar and jack cheese, diced green chiles, diced yellow or red onion, finely diced jalapenos, finely chopped cilantro, pecans, pepitas and a slew of spices.

    Mexican Veggie and Cheese Frittata

    F.N. Sharp Utility Knife With Sliced Mexican Veggie & Cheese Frittata

    Frittata! It’s just as fun to say as it is to make! And this recipe is not only perfect for spicing up those dull mornings, it’s also a great way to eat (and really enjoy) those veggies! Eggs, shredded Monterey jack, crumbled cotija cheese, thinly sliced scallions, halved cherry tomatoes, diced bell pepper, diced jalapeno and spices all come together in this Mexican veggie and cheese frittata recipe!

    Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

    Plated Chicken Enchiladas With Fork and F.N. Sharp Utility Knife

    Grab a rotisserie chicken and turn any boring weeknight into a party in your mouth with this easy, cheesy chicken enchilada recipe! All you’ll need is some tortillas, shredded Monterey jack and sharp cheddar cheese, a finely diced poblano pepper, a finely diced yellow onion, a finely diced jalapeno pepper, and some flour, chicken stock, tomato paste and spices for a homemade red sauce.

    Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

    Plated Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas With F.N. Sharp Chef's Knife

    When you’re looking for an easy weeknight dinner, fajitas almost always fit the bill – especially when there are no dirty pans involved! This recipe combines sliced boneless chicken breasts, thinly sliced red bell peppers, thinly sliced yellow onion, sliced jalapeno, fresh lime juice and zest, homemade fajita seasoning and garnishes for some deliciously easy sheet pan chicken fajitas!

    Mexican Stuffed Peppers

    Mexican Stuffed Peppers With F.N. Sharp Utility Knife and Ingredients

    Get ready to stuff your face with some taco-style Mexican stuffed bell peppers! With this recipe, halved bell peppers, chopped white onion, diced jalapeno, ground turkey, shredded Monterey jack cheese, rice and spices all come together to create some deliciously spicy Mexican-style stuffed peppers! Move over Taco Tuesday, Stuffed Peppers Saturday is the new thing!

    Instant Pot Pulled Pork With Radish-Jalapeno Slaw

    Plated Instant Pot Pulled Pork With Radish-Jalapeno Slaw

    Every BBQ lover knows that pulled pork and cole slaw are the best of friends, but this recipe takes it to another level by adding some diced jalapeno, radish and cucumber to that slaw mix! Add in a fresh or frozen boneless pork roast, some smokey spices, some summery beer and the Instant Pot, and you’ll have these delicious pulled pork and radish-jalapeno slaw sandwiches ready in no time! 

    White Bean Chicken Chili

    Pot of White Bean Chicken Chili With F.N. Sharp Chef's Knife

    If you’re a fan of white beans, then you’ll love this easy recipe for white bean chicken chili! Shredded chicken breast, diced yellow onion, diced bell pepper, diced celery, diced jalapeno, diced green chilis, cannellini beans, chicken broth and spices all come together to create a bowl so full of flavors and textures that everyone will be clamoring for a second bowl of that spicy goodness!

    Instant Pot Turkey Chili

    F.N. Sharp Chef's Knife With Bowl of Instant Pot Turkey Chili and Ingredients

    When chilly nights call for warm bellies, this recipe doesn’t disappoint! Ground turkey, diced red onion, diced shallot, diced bell pepper, diced and sliced jalapenos, diced garlic, diced tomatoes, black beans, chipotles in adobo, Worcestershire sauce and a medley of spices all come together to create this smoky and spicy turkey chili recipe, ready in just 35 minutes with the Instant Pot!

    Pork Tostadas With Spicy Apple-Broccoli Slaw

    F.N Sharp Utility Knife With Plated Pork Tostadas With Apple-Broccoli Slaw

    Pork and apples go together like pork and beer – and with this recipe, you get the best of both worlds! Ground pork, sliced fresh broccoli florets and stems, diced jalapeno, sliced Granny smith apples, sliced red onion, freshly squeezed lime juice, apple cider vinegar, a trio of spices and a little bit of beer come together in this recipe for pork tostadas with spicy broccoli apple slaw!

    Blueberry-Jalapeno Jam

    Plated Blueberry-Jalapeno Jam on Toast Next to Jalapeno and Bowl of Blueberries

    Ready for a “bluesy” jam session that is sure to get those taste buds tapping? This recipe is the ultimate in cocktail party food! It’s sweet, it’s tart, it’s citrusy and spicy – what more could a group of people drinking good booze want? Diced jalapeno, fresh or frozen blueberries and cranberries, sugar, lemon juice and zest all come together in this recipe for sweet and spicy blueberry jam.

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1 Comment
  1. Thank you for this excellent post! I found it incredibly insightful and informative. Your thorough explanation of the topic really helped me understand it better. I appreciate the effort you put into writing this and look forward to reading more of your content in the future.

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