This Sign Means You Need To Throw Away Your Jalapeños

Jalapeños have a history that is as fascinating as this pepper is spicy. According to Mobile Cuisine, this popular chili pepper was first used by the Aztecs but not in your favorite tacos or queso. Tough to hear, but true. The Aztecs actually dried and smoked them. Use in your favorite Mexican foods came a little later, but it eventually came. Per Pepper Geek, the jalapeño's name is derived from the city where the heat-inducing pepper was first grown, Jalapo, and today, Mexico is the largest grower of the jalapeño, where they have committed more than 70,000 acres to cultivating jalapeño plants. Luckily, that cultivation has spilled across the border, with Texas and New Mexico leading the charge. 

If you are a fan of these peppers with a fiery kick like we are, then you probably find yourself buying them fairly frequently or maybe even have your own plants to pick from in the backyard. But, whether you are growing these peppers yourself or simply purchasing them fresh from your local grocer, you might wonder if they ever go bad, and if they do, how to tell when that fiesta of flavor is no longer fresh and safe to consume. It's easier than you might think. 

Smell your jalapeños

Pantry Tips shares that, if you purchase your jalapeños fresh, they should be good for 3 to 5 days in the pantry, but if you keep them in the fridge, their shelf life can be up to 2 weeks. However, once you slice up these babies, you need to use them fairly quick, unless you store them in an air-tight container in the fridge where your sliced jalapeños can last for 3 to 4 days. Store them in the freezer and you can keep those jalapeños for up to a year. But how can you tell when they are ready to toss? 

Per Food and Wine, it all comes down to cutting into your peppers and smelling them. Scott Linquist, chef and partner of Coyo Taco, told the publication, "Mind you, there is a fine line between slightly overripe and rotten. Cut the fruit or vegetable and smell it. If there is a hint of musty or moldy aroma, it's too late. Throw it away or compost."  What about the white lines that sometime develop on your jalapeños? Are they an indicator your peppers are going bad? Pepper Geek explains this occurrence is known as "corking" — but it is nothing to worry about. Those white lines are actually a sign that your jalapeños are ripe and ready to pick and eat.