WHAT IS IT?
Jalapeño powder is ground, dried jalapeño chiles, a mildly spicy pepper (3,500-8,000 SHU). Why keep the ground around? If you need more kick than black, or white, pepper can offer up, but less heat than cayenne brings on, this powder hits the heat sweet spot!
Ground loses most of the fresh version’s bell pepper notes. It just brings on a mild-to-moderate heat. It’s also a great salt substitute, when used in moderation.
The jalapeño is found throughout both Central and North America. There are five species of the pepper, twenty-one major varietals, and hundreds of sub-varietals.
Mexico is still the largest producer, and consumer, of them.
Jalapeños are grown commercially, as well, in California, New Mexico, and Texas.
The pepper is particularly used in Tex-Mex, and Mexican cuisines, but the ground can find its way into any food.
The ground jalapeño finds its way into
- Taco seasoning;
- Bloody Mary mix;
- Jalapeño ranch dressing/dip;
- Meat rubs;
- Low-sodium spice blends.
A FEW IMPROVISATIONAL RIFFS:
- The gentle kick in my Nogales crabcake;
- Cacio e Peppecito – My Mexican riff on the Italian classic subs Jalapeño powder for black pepper;
- Along with Cacique queso, and masa harina, a role player in my Tex-Mex muffins;
- Sprinkle, with a touch of salt, on to papaya for a spicy riff on your morning fruit.
- In the salsa blanca that I make to top the poached egg of my Nubes de Maize (Corn Clouds)
Jalapeño powder is from a pungent pepper. When ground into a powder, it can become airborne much more easily. If it spills, clear the area, and let the dust settle before cleaning up, and/or proceeding with your cooking.
If you breathe the powder in, and it’s irritating your nose, you can use a strong saline (salt water) rinse. Salt helps flush out the pepper, and draw out the capsaicin from the mucus membranes of your nose.
Jalapeños originate in the soils of Mexico, in the area around what is now the town of Jalapa. Use of them goes well beyond the Aztecs, prior to the Spanish conquest, and the peoples of the region before them, dating back thousands of years.
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