Pepper fans will agree that there’s nothing more frustrating than picking (or buying) a beautiful, flawless pepper only to find out that it has very little kick. Well, thanks to Rachael Ray and her pepper-farm-owning friend, we now know the secret to choosing the perfect pepper every time.
During an episode of the Rachael Ray Show, Kelly, a jalapeno farm owner from Columbus, Nebraska, shared two tips with Ray that will insure that you get a spicy (or not-so-spicy) pepper on your next trip to the garden or supermarket. According to Kelly, bigger is better when it comes to jalapenos!
“The bigger the jalapeño, the spicier it is! If you’re looking for a little kick, go with a small pepper. For a big bang of heat, go big!” according to the expert.
Kelly also said to be on the lookout for jalapenos with cracks. “Heat cracks develop as peppers age and get spicier So, if you see a jalapeño with a bunch of stripes, beware, it’ll give some serious heat!”
Finding large “cracked” jalapenos at the grocery store can be difficult, but growing your own isn’t if you have good soil, plenty of sunlight and water. “Jalapenos do best in loamy, well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter. Full sun and warm temperatures are also important when growing jalapeno peppers,” according to master gardener Susan Patterson. “Although jalapeno plant care isn’t difficult, plants must be kept watered during hot, dry spells.”
If you’re lucky enough to find an abundance of perfect jalapenos or decide to grow your own, you’ll be happy to know that they are easily preserved by drying, freezing or using them in salsas and sauces that can be canned.