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Often when I make soup I add a minced jalapeño (with the seeds) into the soup. I know that the pepper has a (I believed) 1,500-2,500 heat range and so when I add a full pepper on the low end of that scale it's fine and I get that tongue numbing heat sensation. When the pepper is on the higher end I get the throat burning dire-need-of-milk sensation.

If the pepper is on the low end and I only add half then the heat is also undetectable. Though on the high end with only half then it's just the right amount.

How can I use the right amount of jalapeño?

3 Answers 3

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The heat of individual peppers varies. Add a little bit at a time, tasting as you go. You can put more in, you can't take any out!

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  • It can be pretty hard to tell how it's going to taste when served, though, since the flavor doesn't all blend in right away, and while it's on the stove it's hotter than you'd end up eating it so it'll tend to taste hotter too.
    – Cascabel
    Jul 18, 2015 at 4:55
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    @Memj contrary to popular belief, the seeds don't add much heat. In hot peppers, the highest concentration of capsaicin is in the rib. You can really tell in a fresh jalapeno... Taste a little bit of the flesh, then a bit of the rib (the lighter colored part that holds the seeds). You can be pretty generous with the flesh, but take care not to overdo the rib.
    – Jolenealaska
    Jul 18, 2015 at 5:17
  • How to choose fresh, ripe (hot) jalapeños? cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/25695/… Beware the Texas A&M mild (TAM) Jalapeño. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TAM_Mild_Jalape%C3%B1o They're sold in stores as Jalapeños, with no marking as to their lack of heat. Jul 18, 2015 at 13:16
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Cut the tiniest amount off the tip of the jalapeño and put it on your tongue: after a few times, you'll get a feel of how hot individual ones are and you'll just know after a few times if you have to add the entire big not-throat-burning one or half a tiny running-around-screaming-hot one.

No, it's safe: the tip contains the least amount of capsicum (If fresh! All bets are off for the pickled ones!) ;-)

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I go through quite a lot of chillies, so what I would do is mince a bunch of jalapenos, and add it to your soup a spoonful at a time. Keep the rest in the fridge for later. The law of averages should mean that the chilli blend as a whole is neither too hot nor too mild.

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    How long will the refrigerated peppers stay fresh for?
    – Memj
    Jul 20, 2015 at 15:51
  • @Memj In an airtight container? A few days to a week? You could always freeze them though.
    – TarkaDaal
    Jul 21, 2015 at 8:07

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