Quick answer: No, frozen jalapenos are not hotter. The freezing process can cause small ruptures in the cell wall to release capsaicin, the enzyme that gives chilis their hot bite. However, these enzymes remain within the chili pepper, keeping the heat level effectively unchanged.
If you freeze excess peppers as we do, you may wonder whether freezing jalapenos makes them hotter.
Jalapenos are among the most popular peppers, renowned for their pleasant and mild bite. Therefore, we understand your concerns, as you want to maintain that perfect heat level.
Keep reading as we take an in-depth look into this burning question, learn more about jalapenos, and understand the impacts of freezing them.
Right, let’s get started!
What Happens to Jalapenos When You Freeze Them?
Jalapenos are part of the Capsicum annuum family. This family of fruits contains a chemical called capsaicin, a phenolic compound or enzyme responsible for peppers’ taste and spice.
Capsaicin triggers the sensory receptors on your tongue, which in turn sends a signal to your brain. As the capsaicin excites these receptors, your body becomes aware of the “pain.” In this case, you draw your attention to the spicy and burning sensation.
When you freeze jalapenos, small ruptures appear in the cell walls that release capsaicin. However, the capsaicin remains within the pepper, keeping the original heat level intact.
Notably, when you thaw jalapenos, the texture will alter slightly. This texture altering is due to the cell wall expanding and contracting, causing the ruptures we discussed earlier.
The result is a somewhat less firm, more soggy pepper when compared to the fresh counterpart.
Don’t worry; if you are sensitive to this texture, thawed diced jalapeno is less soggy than sliced or whole jalapeno.
Okay, now that we know that the heat level stays the same. Let’s dig a little deeper into the frozen world of jalapenos.
What is the Best Way to Freeze Jalapenos?
The best way to freeze jalapenos depends on how you want to use them.
Typically, frozen jalapenos can be whole, sliced, or diced. Preparing jalapenos for freezing is a quick and easy process.
Let’s take you through it.
What you will need
- Pair of clean kitchen gloves or disposable kitchen gloves
- Cutting board
- Sharp cutting knife
- Pairing knife
- Teaspoon or tablespoon
- Ziplock freezer bags
Right, grab your gloves, and let’s go!
Here is the easy step-by-step process:
- Rinse and dry the jalapenos thoroughly
- Using a sharp knife, trim off the stems
- Using the pairing knife and spoon, remove the pith and seeds
What you have now is whole jalapenos.
For sliced and diced jalapenos, continue with these steps:
Sliced: cut the whole jalapeno crosswise into circles
- Cut the whole jalapeno lengthwise into two halves
- Cut each half into strips
- Chop the strips into pieces
Put the prepared jalapenos into ziplock bags and freeze for up to 6 months. For optimal flavor and texture results, use within 3 months.
Remember to remove as much air as possible before sealing the bag. Even better, use a vacuum sealer if you have one.
Oh, and ensure the seal is airtight to avoid ice crystals and freezer burn.
And there you have it. Bags of spicy deliciousness are ready for when you need them!
If you need a visual of this process, check out this handy clip!
Fun Frozen Fact
Well, this is only partially accurate. The hottest chili part is the white spongy pith or placenta that houses the seeds. The seeds themselves contain no heat at all. For this reason, be sure to remove the pith thoroughly before freezing.
We love the versatility of jalapenos, so we have to share a few tips and tricks on using them.
How to Use Frozen Jalapenos?
If you are using them as an ingredient in cooked meals, such as stews, soups, curries, or stir-fries, there is no need to thaw them. Simply add the amount you need straight from the freezer.
On the other hand, if you need “fresh” jalapeno for nachos, guacamole, or a condiment, it is best to thaw them in a cool spot on a clean kitchen towel. It only takes about 5 minutes, and the kitchen towel assists in extracting as much of the moisture as possible.
We bet you have seen ready-made jalapeno poppers in the frozen aisle at grocery stores, right? So, when prepping whole jalapenos, why not stuff them before freezing?
This way, you can access homemade party snacks or Friday night movie nibbles. All you have to do is pop them in the air-fryer from frozen, whip up a tasty sauce, and you’re good to go.
Of course, we won’t leave you without a recipe recommendation. You have to try these bacon jalapeno poppers packed with cheesy goodness and wrapped in crispy bacon. For those following a vegetarian diet, substitute the bacon with vegan bacon.
Related Beneficial Article: Are Frozen Foods Bad For You? Debunking Chilling Myths
Now that we know that freezing jalapeno does not increase the heat, let’s address some popular questions you may have:
FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)
Wrapping up: Our Take on this Hot Topic
In short, we love jalapenos!
Indeed, they are readily available in grocery stores and farmers’ markets. Even better, growing jalapenos in your veggie patch is easy and yields a bountiful batch.
As you proudly look at the fruits of your labor, there is no need to ask: Does freezing jalapenos make them hotter?
The only thing freezing jalapenos does is make your life easier by saving time and preventing food wastage. It’s a win-win!
How do you like to freeze jalapeno peppers? Share your technique with us.
We would love to hear from you.