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How to tell if a jalapeño's hot?

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How to tell if a jalapeño's hot?

Tom Steele | May 12, 2002 12:28 PM

I've railed about the nimrod agricultural geneticist who decided the world needed mild (and tasteless) jalapeño peppers that are visually completely indistinguishable from the fiery peppers. This ranks as one of the dumbest deeds ever committed against a vegetable--right up there with making tomatoes that can be shipped anywhere in the world without bruising with all the flavor and texture of a tennis ball. In fact, you can play tennis with those tomatoes.

Anyway, I wondered if anyone knows how to tell whether a jalapeño is going to be hot or not. Even at the Greenmarket here in Union Square, I've bought a dozen or so from the Blew farm's "HOT HOT HOT" jalapeño basket, only to be severely disappointed Scoville-y speaking.

I've had better luck with smaller, narrower jalapeños, particularly those with a good deal of blackening on their tight skins. The big fat bulgy ones can be either.

Is there something to the folklore that the curved jalapeños are hotter?

Does anyone know the name and e-mail address of the "scientist" who did this to us? (S)he should be forced to drink an entire bottle of Dave's Insanity Sauce!

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