One of the things we love most about pizza is the way that it lays the base for culinary creativity in a way that few other foods can match. From different crusts to experimentation with cheeses and, of course, the mixing and matching of a near infinite number of topping combinations, there is a type of pizza for everyone.
Jalapenos are an excellent addition to any pizza – particularly for those who are a little more adventurous when it comes to flavour. Fiery and fragrant, you’ll find this exotic pepper scattered on top of our Chilli Tongue pizza for a bit of extra kick that will challenge even the most seasoned chilli lovers. Let’s learn a little more about this pungent pepper.
For those who have never had the pleasure of eating them before, jalapeños are a type of chilli pepper. Measuring an average of 2-3.5 inches in length and 1 inch wide, they are a medium-sized chilli, perfect for chopping into chunky slices to use as a garnish for any number of dishes.
Native to Mexico, jalapeños have gained a loyal following all around the world – adored for their versatile flavour profile and accessibility in terms of spiciness. Jalapeños stack up at an average of 5,000 Scoville Heat Units, which is spicy, but not insanely hot. This makes them suitable for a wide range of applications in cooking.
You will usually see green jalapeños, but you can also eat the mature red variety. Both are equally delicious. They are usually stored in vinegary brine where they loose some of their vibrant colour, but also take on a cultivated, more savoury flavour.
The jalapeño is arguably the most versatile chilli pepper in the world. You will find it used in a number cuisines worldwide as a central element or as a flavour enhancer. Jalapeños can be pickled and eaten whole, they can be stuffed or used to stuff, they can be roasted whole or blended into a paste or sauce.
Fresh – Sometimes jalapeños are eaten fresh. It is a crispy and fragrant pepper and is particularly delicious when sliced very thin and used as a garnish for…well, just about anything.
Pickled – Jalapeños are most commonly cut into chunky slices and pickled – known as jalapeño en escabeche. This is how you will usually buy them from the supermarket and the kind you will find on pizzas, tacos, quesadillas, salsas or salads.
Chipotle – You may have heard of chipotle before, but did you know that these kinds of peppers are actually jalapeños? In this process, the jalapeños are dried and smoked, then used as an additive for rice, beans and meat. You can even make your own smokey chipotle sauce.
Ground – Jalapeños are often sometimes into a fine power for use as a spice element in cooking. While it won’t impart a huge amount of flavour, jalapeño powder will do an excellent job of heating up a dish.
As with many other peppers, jalapeños have a number of health benefits:
Arthritis: Capsaicin, the substance that gives peppers their heat, is a potent anti-inflammatory which helps reduce swelling and pain for those suffering from arthritis.
Cancer: Studies have also shown that capsaicin is able to kill some cancer cells, specifically prostate cancer cells.
Pain and headaches: Capsaicin is also known to block the neuropeptide known as Substance P, which is the main pain transmitter to the brain.
Vitamins: Jalapeños are a rich source of vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that helps prevent damage from free radicals, rogue molecules that can cause cell damage in your body, as well as produce white blood cells which help boost immunity. It is also rich in vitamin A which supports skin and eye health. Both vitamins can also help reduce blood pressure.
Ulcers: Peppers can kill bad bacteria in the stomach which can cause stomach ulcers.
• Despite their universal popularity, only a relatively small portion of Mexico is used for their cultivation, primarily in the Papaloapan river basin in Veracruz, Chihuahua.
• Although Mexico is the world’s biggest producers of the Capsicum annuum plant that jalapeños come from, you will also find them growing in China, Peru, Spain, and India.
• As history tells it, the ancient Aztecs were the first to use jalapeños in cooking, however, they didn’t pickle them or eat them raw, opting to dry and smoke the peppers, chipotle style.
• The are considered mild-medium on the Scoville Heat scale, coming it at anywhere between 2,500 and 10,000 units. This is nothing compared to the world’s hottest chilli – the Carolina Reaper – which weighs in at more that 1.5 million units.
• Jalapeños were the first peppers that traveled into space.
Here are Manoosh we use only the freshest, tastiest ingredients on our pizzas, including the best jalapeños we can get ours hands on.
If you want to read more about chillies we use here at Manoosh, check out our article on peri peri sauce.