Jalapeño chilli peppers are among the most popular and commonly available hot chilli pepper seeds in the world. The 5 to 7cm (2 to 3in) smooth, dark green fruits which ripen to red have thick walls with a rounded tip. Jalapenos are found in a broad range of Latin dishes. Green Jalapenos have a green-vegetable flavour while red have a sweeter flavour and are often pickled or smoked. A chipotle, (pronounced: chi poat lay), is a jalapeño that has been smoked.
Jalapeño are very versatile: hot enough for a good kick, but still mild enough to use as a vegetable and well adapted for the UK short-season growing, they take 75 days to harvest. The jalapeño rates between 2,500 and 5,000 Scoville units on the heat index. The heat is concentrated in the seeds and the veins, so if you want it on the milder end of its scale, remove those parts.
Jalapenos can be easily seeded and added to soups, stews and dips or enjoyed whole when roasted with meats or stuffed. Try them raw, lightly sautéed, or pickled and notice how the heat level and flavour subtly changes with different preparations. If you are not already a keen fruit and vegetable grower, you will have to try it to believe it….but be warned, shop bought will never be good enough for you again!
Storage of Seeds: Store seeds away from children, sealed in their packaging in a cool, dry, dark place, or in a fridge. Never store them in a freezer as the sudden temperature drop is likely to kill them. Don't leave the seeds in direct sunlight as the heat generated may kill them.
Sowing: Sow from Mid February to Mid July Fill small cells or trays with a good sterile seed compost and sow the seeds on the surface. “Just cover” with a fine sprinkling (3mm) of soil or vermiculite. Keep the compost moist - don't let the top of the compost dry out (a common cause of germination failure) If you wish, spray the surface with a dilute copper-based fungicide. Cover the pot or tray with plastic film or place in a heated propagator, south facing window or a warm greenhouse. The ideal temperature is around 18 to 20°C (65 to 72°F)
Transplanting: When the seedlings have produced their first pair of true leaves they can be potted on into individual 7-10cm (3-4in) pots. Use good quality potting compost and mix in some organic slow release fertiliser. Pot the chilli on again before it becomes root-bound. Water the seedlings regularly, but don't let them become waterlogged as this encourages rot. Don't let them dry out as they rarely recover at this stage. Water the soil, not the foliage. Once the plants have established, it is better to water heavy and infrequently, allow the top inch or so to dry out in between watering.
Seedlings should be grown in good light, but should not be exposed to direct sunlight from late spring to early autumn. Weaker sunlight from autumn to spring is unlikely to do them harm. Once seedlings have put on some growth they need lots of light. Growing them under a grow-light produces excellent stocky plants, as will a warm sunny windowsill. Adult chilli plants need lots of light. However, more than 4 hours or so in hot direct sunlight will dry them out quickly. Acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 2 to 3 weeks before they are moved permanently outside. Plant them into rich moist soil. Flower do not form and fruit will not set if the temperature is much below 17°C (62°F) for most of the day, so wait until June/July for best results with outdoor planting.
Fertilising: After the first flowers appear, feed every one or two weeks with a half-strength liquid tomato feed. You could also add some Seaweed extract to the water once a week.
Pollinating Flowers: (optional) Chilli plants are self fertile and will generally pollinate themselves. However, if you want to give them a helping hand to ensure that lots of fruit are set indoors, use a cotton wool bud to gently sweep the inside of the flowers, spreading the pollen as you go. The flower's petals will drop off as the green middle part of the flower starts to swell slightly. This is the chilli pepper beginning to grow.
Harvesting: Chillies will take a few weeks to develop and a further couple weeks to turn from green to red. You may pick them off the plant any time after they are fully developed but the longer you leave them on the hotter they will become. Do not leave them on for too long, as delaying after the chili is ready for harvest will result in a decline of further yields.
Storage: After picking, if you aren't going to eat them fresh, dry the peppers by putting them into a mesh bag, hang the bag up in a dry, airy, but not sunny spot. When they are completely dry, you can make paprika by grinding the peppers. Don't grind the stalks. You can regulate the spiciness of the result by including more or less of the seeds and veins.
WARNING: Be careful handling chilli seeds as they can cause a painful burning sensation: wash your hands thoroughly . DO NOT rub your eyes after handling chilli seeds!!!
Etymology: Jalapeño is pronounced: hah lah pain yo,Chilli terminology is confusing; pepper, chili, chile, chilli, Aji, paprika and Capsicum are used interchangeably for chilli pepper plants in the genus Capsicum. The word Capsicum comes from the Greek kapto, meaning "to bite" (a reference to pungency or heat). In Mexico a Capsicum is called a Chile pepper - Chile enthusiasts around the World often use the spelling Chile.
|Packet Size||20 Seeds|
|Average Seed Count||No|
|Common Name||Mild, 2,500 to 5,000 Scoville units|
|Other Common Names||Peppers, Capsicum, Chilli, Chile or Chilli|
|Natural Flower Time||No|
|Fruit||Smooth, dark green fruits which ripen to red|
|Height||Grows to around 1m (36in) tall|
|Time to Harvest||75 days to harvest|
|Aspect||Grow in good light, but should not be exposed to direct sunlight|
|Soil||Rich moist soil.|
|Harvest||Pick them off the plant any time after they are fully developed|
|Time to Sow||Sow from mid February to mid June|