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It seems like it is always hit and miss when it comes to eating jalepenos. What are some ways to tell if the jalapeno is hot or not, besides tasting it?


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A cooking thermometer really is a handy piece of equipment :-) – Mien Jun 19 '11 at 18:46
Drop a piece of jalapeño on the floor. If your pet tries to eat it and recoils in terror, it's spicy. Unfortunately, mine eventually learned that not everything on the floor is edible. – BobMcGee Jun 20 '11 at 0:48… very closely related question... – baka Oct 26 '12 at 20:53
up vote 10 down vote accepted

The only way to test for capsaicin besides tasting is chemical testing, namely liquid chromatography. Problem is, the same kind of chili can be quite different in heat, even on the same bush it can be quite different from my experience. No idea why, though.

Here is one tip on how to check the heat of a chili without actually eating part of it, but still cutting it apart: Cut through the chili below the stem, touch the membranes, touch your tongues, feel the heat.

You can adjust the amount of heat a chili adds to the dish by removing the white membranes. Just add the colored flesh, check for heat, and add membranes until the desired spiciness is obtained. Capsaicin is only produced in the white mebranes in the center. It may move inside the fruit, though. Areas closer to the membranes will be hotter (like, the seeds), than other parts.

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The hotter the pepper the more small dark lines on the outside!

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I've heard that the striations actually have nothing to do with heat level but how fast the pepper grows. The striations are like stretch marks. – lemontwist Oct 26 '12 at 20:37
@lemontwist, this leaves me with a disturbing image of a pepper giving birth to a baby pepper, horror movie style. :^D But seriously, do they work like rings on a tree where there's correlation between how many and how old the tree or pepper is? Or is it more, "there's some dark lines; this one must be old" without specifics? – MargeGunderson Oct 26 '12 at 20:53
@MargeGunderson... LOL... That is kinda gross! I think the striations are genetic, so not all jalapeños get them. I'm not 100% sure about the age but it makes a certain amount of sense that they would get more as they grow larger. – lemontwist Oct 27 '12 at 2:01

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