Jalapenos are delicious and spicy, but they also have an interesting backstory. So, without further ado, here are some fun facts about jalapenos that you probably didn’t know.
Jalapenos Are Originally “Jalapeños”
Our beloved jalapenos are called “jalapeños” in Spanish. This word means “from Jalapa,” a city on the east coast of Mexico, in the state of Veracruz. On occasion, Mexicans also refer to jalapenos as “cuaresmeños” or “lent peppers.” This term originated because a long time ago jalapenos were available in Mexico City only during lent.
There Is a Scale to Measure the Hotness of Peppers
Until the early 20th century there was no way to measure the spiciness pepper. Enter Wilbur L. Scoville, a Detroit pharmacist who figured out a way to do just that. The process was fascinating. First, capsaicin oil was extracted from the pepper using alcohol. Keep in mind that capsaicin is the substance that makes peppers spicy. Then, five human testers took samples and diluted them until no spice was detected. The longer it took to dilute the spiciness, the higher the score on the Scoville scale.
Nowadays, the Scoville organoleptic test (that’s its technical name) has been replaced with modern technology. However, the Scoville scale is still in use. For example, a jalapeno scores between 3,500 and 10,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). According to this measure, our green friends are spicier than Italian pepperoncini (100-900 SHU) and Tabasco sauce (2,500-5,000 shu), but less pungent than habanero peppers (100,000-350,00 SHU) or Carolina reapers (1,000,000-2,200,000 SHU).
There Is a Variety of Jalapeno Called “Mucho Nacho”
Most U.S. jalapenos are grown in New Mexico, Texas, and California. Some of the most common varieties of jalapenos have fun or spicy names. Just take a look:
- Senorita (“little lady” in Spanish): this type of jalapeno is quite spicy. It typically registers about 5,000 SHU in the Scoville scale.
- Fresno chile: at 300-400 SHU, this is one of the mildest jalapenos you can find.
- Sierra fuego (“fire mountain range” in Spanish): this hybrid variety from the U.S. scores between 4,000 and 6,000 SHU.
- Mucho Nacho (“a lot of Nacho”): With a length of four inches and 4,500 to 8,000 SHU in the Scoville scale, this jalapeno sure lives up to its name.
More Facts About Mexican Food
We love all the curious facts that surround chicken and authentic Mexican food. If you are hungry for more facts, these are some previous posts you can check out:
- What is a wet burrito?
- Chicken and Mexican food: 5 curious facts
- Mexican Carne Asada is a way of life
- The amazing stories behind the names of Mexican food
- Mesquite, a symbol of Mexican culture
- Why Are chili peppers so important in Mexican cuisine
Enjoy Authentic Mexican Food at El Pollo Norteño
If what you want is Authentic Mexican food in Anaheim, California, El Pollo Norteño is the place to go.
Visit today any of our four locations (Anaheim, Santa Ana, and Garden Grove), order online, get in touch through Facebook, or call 866-MI-POLLO to enjoy our authentic Mexican dishes: amazing chicken grilled to perfection over real Mesquite charcoal, caldo de pollo, flan, carnitas, carne asada, and more!