Growing a jalapeno plant is pretty easy to do. We have about 30 jalapeno plants in our garden, and the plants are loaded with peppers. This is great for us because we love jalapenos and all kinds of spicy foods.
Jalapenos can be used fresh, roasted, and dehydrated to use in appetizers, flavor main dishes, and homemade sauces.
Growing A Jalapeno Plant
Start your jalapenos from seed about 8 weeks before our last frost date. Learn everything you need to know about seed starting.
Like other peppers, jalapenos like warm weather. So wait 2-3 weeks after the last chance of frost, then set out young jalapeno plants where they will receive at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.
Pepper plants will grow happily in the garden or containers. They just need to be planted level with their root ball, and benefit from a light mulch like straw. Make sure to water deeply especially during the hottest days of summer.
Picking your peppers encourages the jalapeno plant to make lots and lots of peppers, and they benefit from an addition of liquid fertilizer about one per month.
You shouldn’t have much trouble growing a jalapeno plant, but jalapenos can be subject to damage by grasshoppers, hornworms, armyworms, aphids, and soldier bugs. If infestation is mild, just hand pluck and kill pests. In extreme cases, try an organic pesticide like those that contain spinosad.
Jalapeno plants can also be affected by diseases like blight, powdery mildew, and blossom end rot. Keeping them weeded, fed, and watered is the best defense against disease.
We usually find that jalapeno peppers grow and produce happily despite disease and pest stresses.
Depending on the variety of jalapeno plant you grow, you may have a pepper that turns from green to brown or red. Usually, they become sweeter as they turn colors, and some varieties are very hot while others are very mild.
Harvest from your jalapeno plant when the jalapenos are green or after they turn red or brown. It is normal for some varieties to develop brown lines or scars on them as they mature. Scarred peppers are completely fine for eating and preserving.
Ways To Cook And Preserve Jalapenos
Eat them raw. We love eating raw jalapenos. The flesh is sweet, but there is a definite kick of heat. Depending on the variety, jalapenos can vary from mild to very hot. Watch me eat a couple varieties of jalapenos on youtube.
Our favorite use of fresh jalapenos is to stuff them with cheese and wrap them with bacon, and there’s a quick and easy way I do this.
Cut tops off of jalapenos and pull off tips trying to remove seeds and pulp. If any are left, I’ve used a tiny 1/4 teaspoon to poke in and remove the rest of the whites and seeds. It’s okay to leave them in there, but the seeds and the whites are super hot.
Now stuff them with cheese. The type of cheese is up to you. I like pimiento cheese, cream cheese, or even a cheddar cheese stick!
Then wrap them in raw bacon and poke a toothpick in 3 sides to hold it on. At this point, you can fry the bacon on the stove until it is just cooked, and finish them in the oven until the cheese is nice and melty.
Using the toothpicks to prop them up, place them in a muffin tin (or use a jalapeno popper tray) and bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bacon is crispy. Easy and delicious.
Roasted jalapenos are amazing! Roasting in the oven or on the grill, then stuff them, dice them, or whatever your heart desires.
I will admit that I am not a big canner. It is not something I have ever loved doing. I don’t know why. I just can’t get into it.
But I keep making myself do a little more every year because I think it is such an essential task for a home gardener. And even I can make a quick pickle for jalapenos.
I use equal parts water and vinegar and a teaspoon of salt. Bring the brine to a boil and pour over jalapeno slices in a clean jar. Then, if I’m only making one or two jars, I might store them in the fridge as is or process in a water bath and store in the pantry.
Here’s a step by step recipe for super easy pickled jalapenos.
Or make a homemade hot sauce with this recipe by Teri at Homestead Honey.
Sweet and spicy jalapenos
Have you heard of cowboy candy? Check out this sweet and spicy recipe.
love adore jalapeno jelly. Check out this spicy jalapeno jelly recipe at Farm Fit Living.
To freeze jalapenos, cut them in half and pull out seeds and whites. Lay them on a cookie sheet cut side down in a single layer on metal cookie sheet. Place in freezer for at least an hour.
When completely frozen, remove them and place in plastic bags. Squeeze out all the air you can and put them back in the freezer.
Mindy at Farm Fit Living also suggests making a puree with fresh jalapenos and freezing them in an ice cube tray. That’s a great idea!
We have recently started using a commercial dehydrator from Cabella’s, and I am excited to get some jalapenos in there. Commercial dehydrators are a few hundred dollars, but you can also get dehydrators on amazon for under $50.
Follow these directions for how to dry jalapeno peppers at Brown Thumb Mama.
You can sub jalapenos for other hot peppers in recipes.
Why not give it a shot with this recipe to make your own chili flakes from Liz at Eight Acres.
Saving Seeds From Your Jalapeno Plant
To save seeds from your jalapeno plant, simply remove the seeds from peppers and lay them in a single layer on a paper towel or plate until they have dried out – about a week. Save the seeds in a paper envelope, and plant them next year.
For even more ideas on using jalapenos, check out 100+ Recipes for Jalapenos on Pinterest.
So what is your favorite jalapeno recipe?