Do Jalapeños Go Bad?

So you decided to whip up your own salsa and bought some jalapeños. The salsa turned out beautifully, but you’re left with a few whole peppers to spare. Do jalapeños go bad?

Or maybe jalapeños are available in your supermarket only from time to time, and you’re thinking about stocking up. And before you do so, you want to know what’s the best way to store jalapeños and how long you can actually store them.

Either way, a bit more knowledge about jalapeños should help you out with your issues. If that’s the case, this article is for you. In it, we talk about storage, shelf life, and going bad of jalapeños. And in case you’re wondering, we talk about canned peppers too.

Jalapeños for pickling
Image used under Creative Commons from Chris Martin

How to Store Jalapeños

Jalapeños are moderately spicy chili peppers that are small and red or green in color. This type of chili pepper is a staple in Mexican cuisine. But if you’re new to jalapeños, you might be unsure how to store them properly. So let’s go through storage methods for these peppers.

Fresh jalapeños, if you want to store them for more than a few days, should sit in the fridge. Just like asparagus or eggplant do. The vegetable drawer is the perfect place, and you can put them there in the brown or plastic bag you brought them home in. Make sure the peppers can breathe.

Once you sliced or chopped the pepper, you should transfer the pieces in a small airtight container or a freezer bag. If you’re using the freezer bag, which is my preference when it comes to storing cut veggies in the fridge, make sure to squeeze the air out of the package before fastening the seal. If you don’t have either on hand, aluminum foil or plastic wrap will do the job as well. You need to wrap the jalapeños so they won’t dry out.

Jalapeños can also come bottled or canned. If that’s the case, like with pretty much all other canned products or pickles, you can keep the unopened container in the pantry. Choose a cool and dark area, away from sources of heat, and you’re set.

Once you open the jar or tin, store the leftovers sealed tightly in the fridge. If it was a tin, transfer the peppers with the liquid into a mason jar or airtight container. And remember to always keep the jalapeños submerged in the brine. Otherwise, the peppers will dry out and can even go moldy.

Jalapeños
Image used under Creative Commons from walknboston

How Long Do Jalapeños Last

Once again, let’s start with fresh jalapeños. Whole fresh jalapeños peppers will keep for a few days in the pantry, and between a week and two in the fridge. If you chopped or sliced the peppers, they should keep quality for about 2 to 4 days.

When it comes to canned jalapeños, things are pretty similar to other canned products. The tin or jar comes with a best-by date, and like other canned products, the jalapeños easily last for months past that date. Provided that the seal is untouched, of course. Once you open the container and do a good job of storing the peppers, they can easily last a month, and maybe even up to two months in the fridge.

PantryFridge
Fresh jalapeños (whole)3 – 5 days1 – 2 weeks
Fresh jalapeños (sliced)3 – 4 days
Canned jalapeños (unopened)Best-by + 3 – 6 months
Canned jalapeños (opened)1 – 2 months

Please note the dates above are for best quality only.

How to Tell If Jalapeños Have Gone Bad

Let’s start by saying that in many cases jalapeños won’t go bad or spoil after the periods mentioned above. Fresh peppers most likely won’t rot or grow mold after 2 weeks in the fridge. But their skin will become wrinkly. And while such a jalapeño definite isn’t great in terms of quality, it’s still okay to eat. One thing to remember is that fresh peppers lose their spiciness over time so salsa with old jalapeños won’t have that much oomph as one with fresh peppers. It’s your choice really if you want to add that pepper to salsa, a salad, or a cooked dish. A useful thing to remember is that veggies of mediocre quality still work quite well in cooked dishes so that jalapeño in a stew should turn out just fine.

But if the color or smell of the pepper starts to change, it’s time to throw it out. Same thing if any brown spots or grey specks show up.

When it comes to canned jalapeños, if the tin is dented, rusted, or leaky, just throw it out. Even if the peppers inside seem to be perfectly fine.