Don’t Ignore Jalapeño Peppers

Jalapeño is a medium-sized chili pepper. Most jalapeños are produced in southern New Mexico and western Texas. The growing period is 70–80 days in hot weather. When mature, the plant is about two to three feet tall. Typically, a jalapeño plant produces about 25 to 35 pods. During a growing period, a plant will be picked multiple times. As the growing season ends, jalapeños start to turn red, which have less flavor. Green jalapeño peppers have a lot of tiny lines on the surface when they are extremely hot and ready for picking.

A mature jalapeño fruit is about 2 to 3½ inches long and is commonly picked and consumed while still green. Once picked, individual peppers may turn red on their own. The flesh has a mild flavor close to a green bell pepper. The heat is concentrated in the membrane surrounding the seeds, which give the spicy flavor we all love.

When preparing jalapeños, don’t rub your hands on the eyes. Capsaicin, the chemical in jalapeños that makes them hot, can cause painful burning and redness. Fresh cut jalapeños can give your hands a burning sensation for hours. I found that out myself.

Jalapeño peppers can be used green or red in Mexican and American cooking. Chipotles are smoked, ripe jalapeños, a Mexican favorite.

I have only discovered jalapeño in Chinese cooking recently when I needed some chili peppers to make black bean garlic ribs (豉汁排骨). The results were wonderful. Four pounds of baby back ribs disappeared quickly. Wow, I can think of many ways to use jalapeño in my cooking. Oh, yes, I will definitely grow jalapeño peppers in my vegetable garden next year.


Flowering Chinese Long Beans

The best part about vegetable gardening is you get to see how plants grow from seeds to seedlings and then mature into crops. It is really a good experience watching the entire growing process. It makes you appreciate vegetables much more.

This year we (me and hubby) are growing the Chinese long beans (豆角 in Cantonese) for the first time. I asked my father for some seeds so we can learn how to grow them. We did not know what to expect since we have never done it before. But thanks to the gardening experience we have had the past few years, the beans are doing really well. We planted eight seedlings, only one did not survive. Their flowers are so pretty. The dark green beans have purple flowers. Light green beans have white flowers. I did not know the flowers only open for a few hours in the morning when the sun comes out. They develop into bean pods in the same day and continue to grow. It takes 60 days, from sowing to pods. Matured long beans hang in pairs. Learn more about long beans here.

Dark green long beans have purple flowers.  

Bean pods are always in pairs. 

Light green long beans have white flowers. 

Lynard made a video for me. It shows the bean flowers developed into bean pods.