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What To Do With Jalapeno Peppers – Great Ways To Use A Few Or A Lot Of Peppers

Every year we end up with a lot of fresh picked jalapeno peppers from the garden, and we find ourselves searching for ways to use them all before they go bad.

And as we get creative on ways to preserve the big harvest, I often find myself wondering how we ended up with so many. But then the memories of gardening planting day in May quickly comes back to me.

I have to admit, I am guilty of over planting. I can never plant just 1 or 2 pepper plants in fear that if something goes wrong that we will end up with no peppers at all.

jalapeno peppers
Fresh jalapeños from the garden.

And then there is the fact that if I have one extra plant, I can’t just let it go to waste. After unsuccessfully trying to give it away to friends and family, I will always find an extra space for it in the garden.

It may get squeezed into our raised row garden. Or I may find an extra spot for it in our 5 Gallon Bucket Garden or even in a random flower bed. And this is the reason that we end up with so many jalapeños towards the end of garden season.

Therefore, over the years I have found several ways to use the fresh picked jalapeno peppers. If I have just a few I will eat them fresh.

However, if I have a lot of peppers, I will find several different ways to store and preserve them. It is always my goal not to let a single pepper go to waste.

So this year, when you find yourself searching for ways to use a few or a lot of jalapeno peppers, here are some great options.

How To Use Jalapeno Peppers

1. Eat Them Fresh

Of course, the first option is to take advantage of the fresh picked jalapeños and eat them fresh. Although there are some people that can handle taking a bite of the whole pepper, I am referring to slicing or dicing them and adding them to recipes.

For instance, start your day off with a kick and add them to your breakfast omelet or in your breakfast potatoes in the morning. Or how about dicing up a pepper and adding it to your favorite mac and cheese recipe?

Although, one of my favorite ways to eat fresh jalapeños is on top of a plate of nachos. The crisp crunch of the pepper combined with a little heat makes the nachos taste perfect!

Below I have included are some of my other favorite recipes that you can make and eat right away and that require fresh jalapeños as an ingredient:

bacon wrapped popper
Bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers make for a great appetizer, especially on game day!

How to store Fresh Jalapeños

In order to keep fresh picked jalapeno peppers nice and crisp it is best to place whole peppers in a paper bag. Then store them in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.

However if you want to store sliced or diced jalapeños in the refrigerator, place them in an air tight container with a paper towel placed on top. The paper towel will help absorb excess moisture, which in turn keeps the diced peppers from becoming soggy.

2. Pickle the Jalapeños

If you find yourself with several jalapeno peppers and you don’t know what to do with them, why not make pickled jalapeños?

This is what most people use to put on top of pizzas. Or use them to make a Firecracker Burger or in various recipes like this delicious Jalapeno Popper Dip.

This easy Pickled Jalapeno Recipe requires no canning and can be stored in the refrigerator.

cowboy candy and dip
My favorite way to preserve jalapeno peppers is by making Cowboy Candy.

3. Canning Jalapeños

For those who have a ton of jalapeños, it may be best to can them in jars so they can be stored in a cool dark place for months.

My favorite recipe for canning jalapeños is what is commonly called Cowboy Candy. Sliced jalapeños are cooked in a sweet syrup and processed in a hot water bath canner.

Use the Cowboy Candy as a condiment on top of sandwiches, burger, hot dogs and more! Mix a spoonful in with softened cream cheese and you have an easy appetizer whenever you need one.

However, if you are looking for a more traditional way to can jalapeños, try this Pickled Pepper Rings recipe. It is the same process for canning banana pepper rings and can be processed in a hot water bath canner as well.

4. How To Freeze Jalapeno Peppers

If you have the room in your freezer, then freezing the peppers might be your easiest option. Unlike freezing green beans or sweet corn, you don’t have to blanch jalapeno peppers to freeze them.

Simply wash and dry the peppers to remove any dirt. Then place them in a resealable freezer bag, remove the excess air, and place them in your freezer.

washing peppers in colander
You can freeze peppers whole or you can cut them and half and remove the seeds if you don’t want all the heat.

It is a great method for storing when you want to have fresh peppers on hand all year long. Although, please note that freezing peppers will result in peppers that aren’t as crisp as fresh picked peppers.

However, you can still slice them and add them to recipes throughout the year. To take the freezing process one step further, I will make jalapeno poppers and place them in the freezer so that I have a ready to cook appetizer whenever I need one!

5. Dehydrating Peppers

If you are looking for ways to use a bunch of Jalapeno peppers and you happen to have a dehydrator, you are in luck! Dehydrating peppers gives you the ability to use them in a variety of ways.

First you can dehydrate the peppers at 135-145°F until they are nice and crisp. Then store them in a mason jar, vacuumed sealed jar or in a closed freezer container.

When you want to use them in recipes, simply soak them with boiling water until they become nice and pliable again.

However, I prefer to dehydrate jalapeno peppers and grind them in a coffee bean grinder. This makes for a great homemade hot pepper powder that I can use to add a little spice to my recipes.

If you don’t have a specific appliance for dehydrating, you can also use your oven or a smoker to dehydrate the peppers.

Oven Dehydrating

For oven dehydrating, set your oven temperature to the lowest setting.

Ideally this would be between 125°F – 150°F. Set the peppers on a oven rack placed inside a large rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven for 6-10 hours until completely dry.

dried chipotle peppers
Dried chipotle peppers that were made in the smoker.

Dehydrate In A Smoker To Make Chipotle Peppers

And if you find yourself with a lot of red jalapeno peppers, consider using your smoker to make homemade Chipotle Peppers.

While the peppers dehydrate the smoke will penetrate the skin of the pepper making them have that nice smoky flavor that chipotle peppers are known for.

Here is the process that we use to make chipotle peppers in our smoker: How To make Chipotle Peppers.

So there you have it! A lot of great ideas when you find yourself with a few or a ton of fresh picked jalapeno peppers.


Mary and Jim

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