Having jalapeños at hand allows you to spice up any dish whenever needed or desired. But if you don’t use these peppers very often, you may find them withering and going to waste.
How long do jalapeños last? Jalapeños that are stored in the panty will last 3 to 5 days. The fridge extends the shelf-life of jalapeños to 14 days. Sliced or chopped jalapeños last 3 to 4 days in the fridge and up to a year in the freezer.
This article is your guide to the shelf-life and storage conditions of jalapeños, be they fresh, canned, or dried. Read on to learn how to store these delicious Mexican peppers and what are the signs indicating that it is high time you discarded them.
Do Jalapeños Go Bad?
If you are a Mexican cuisine aficionado, you may buy too many jalapeños when you see good ones at your local supermarket. But these moderately spicy peppers don’t last forever. Fresh jalapeños are perishable and go bad soon after being picked.
If you want the peppers to have the longest possible shelf-life, you need to pick good jalapeños. There are a few things to pay attention to when choosing jalapeños.
Firstly, the color. Jalapeños are either green or red. Red jalapeños are fully ripe and many people prefer those over green jalapeños as they consider red peppers to be more flavorful.
However, you will often come across green jalapeños. Many farmers harvest jalapeños when they get firm and bright green. So, the color of the peppers is a matter of preference. The important thing is that there are no brown or grey spots on the peppers.
Secondly, the stems. The stems of the peppers should be plump and green. This indicates that the peppers are freshly picked.
And lastly, the skin. The skin of jalapeños should be firm, plump, and glossy. Wrinkled skin is certainly not an indicator of juicy jalapeños with a spicy kick.
Though jalapeños are perishable, a lot depends on the storage conditions. You will get the most shelf-life out of your jalapeño peppers if you store them properly.
How Long Do Jalapeños Last?
The shelf-life of jalapeños differs depending on where you store them. The fridge and the freezer are the best places for storing fresh jalapeños.
Pickled jalapeños have a long shelf-life too if unopened and stored in the pantry. However, they may not be as versatile as fresh jalapeños.
If you like cooking with dried jalapeños, good for you, as those are the ones that have the longest shelf-life.
We’ll go over each in more detail below.
How Long Do Jalapeños Last in the Pantry?
Jalapeños stored in the pantry have a relatively short shelf-life. They keep well in the pantry for a maximum of 5 days if they are fresh. If jalapeños were not very plump when you purchased them, expect them to last around 3 days in the pantry.
How Long Do Jalapeños Last in the Fridge?
Sliced or chopped jalapeños stored in the fridge in an airtight container have a shelf-life of 3 to 4 days. We recommend using chopped or sliced jalapeños as soon as possible as they will soon start to dry out and become unappealing.
Whole fresh jalapeños stored in the fridge will keep well for 7 to 14 days. The shelf-life of peppers stored in the fridge largely depends on their initial freshness, what kind of bag you are storing them in, and in which part of the fridge.
How Long Do Jalapeños Last in the Freezer?
Jalapeños stored in the freezer will maintain their best qualities for up to 12 months. If the temperature in your freezer is constantly at 0, the peppers have could keep indefinitely.
However, keep in mind that the flavor and texture qualities of jalapeños deteriorate with time. The sooner you use them the better.
Once you thaw frozen jalapeños, store them in the fridge and use them within 3 days. Don’t refreeze jalapeños.
How Long Do Pickled Jalapeños Last?
An unopened jar of pickled jalapeños has a shelf-life of about 3 to 5 years and even longer so long as you keep the jar in a cool and dark area and the lid remains tightly closed.
Note that pickled jalapeño peppers typically come with a ‘best by’ date. Follow this date if you are not sure whether the peppers are still good or not.
However, as this printed date is only an estimation of how long the peppers will maintain their best flavor and texture qualities, you can always open the jar to see if they are still suitable for consumption or not.
Once you open the jar of pickled jalapeños, you should store them in the fridge. Pickled jalapeños stored in the fridge have a shelf-life of 1 to 2 months.
Pickled jalapeños stored in the freezer will maintain their best flavor qualities for up to 3 months.
Once you thaw pickled jalapeños, you should eat them within 3 to 4 days.
How Long Do Dried Jalapeños Last?
Dried jalapeños are not everyone’s favorite as they can only be used as a complimentary ingredient, unlike fresh jalapeños that can be used on their own. You need to rehydrate dried jalapeños to use them in soups, stews, and other dishes that need the spicy kick of these peppers.
The good thing about dried jalapeños is that they have a long shelf-life. Dried jalapeños will keep well for up to 3 years if stored properly.
They are likely to remain safe for consumption past this time, but the flavor will gradually deteriorate and the spiciness will lose its intensity.
If you have too many jalapeños you don’t know what to do with, drying them is surely a good option, considering that doing so is easy and doesn’t require much effort.
You can either hang the peppers in a dry location for 3 to 4 weeks until they completely dry out or use a dehydrator to cut down the drying time. You can also dry jalapeños overnight using a dehydrator alone.
Another method to dehydrate jalapeños is in the oven turned on to 300 degrees. Arrange jalapeño strips or slices on a baking sheet and leave the peppers in the oven for 1 to 3 hours.
How to Store Jalapeños
You can store jalapeños in a few different ways depending on how long you need the peppers to last. Additionally, storage conditions of jalapeños depend on whether the peppers are whole or cut, dried, fresh, or canned.
How to Store Fresh Jalapeños
Fresh jalapeños can be stored in the fridge, in the freezer, and in the pantry. These three storage locations suggest different shelf-lives.
Thus, you need to go with the method that best fits your needs considering how often you use these peppers to spice up your food and how many of them you have.
You can store jalapeños in the pantry if there aren’t too many of them and you know you will use them within a few days. When storing peppers in the pantry or any other moderately cool room in your house, put them into a paper bag and close it loosely. Store the peppers somewhere dark.
The fridge is considered the best place for storing jalapeños as it provides the longest shelf-life for the peppers without altering their texture.
When storing jalapeños in the fridge, there are three rules to follow:
- Don’t wash the jalapeños before storing them in the fridge. You may want to prep the peppers for future use. But washing them prior to storing them in the fridge is not a wise thing to do. Doing this will leave moisture on jalapeños which will cause the peppers to go bad sooner.
- Store jalapeños in a plastic or paper bag. Whether you store the peppers in a plastic or brown paper bag, don’t close it tightly. Let the peppers breathe. Otherwise, you will see them wither too soon.
- Store jalapeños in the crisper drawer. The humidity level in this drawer will provide the maximum shelf-life for the peppers.
Do Fresh Jalapeños Need to Be Refrigerated?
Fresh jalapeños need to be refrigerated only when they are sliced or chopped. Jalapeños are rather spicy for many people’s liking.
Throwing the whole pepper away after using only a small part of it is not an option. But to be able to use the rest later you need to store the sliced or chopped jalapeños correctly.
Chopped, sliced, or partially-eaten jalapeños should be stored in an airtight container or plastic bag. When using a zip-top bag to keep jalapeño leftovers, make sure to squeeze out the excess air to preserve the freshness of the peppers as much as possible.
You can use aluminum foil or food wrap to store partially-eaten or sliced jalapeños.
If you leave chopped or sliced jalapeños at room temperature, either eat them within 2 to 4 hours or discard them.
How to Store Dried Jalapeños
When it comes to dried jalapeños, your key task is to keep them away from moisture and insects – these are the main enemies of all dried goods.
Keep dried jalapeños in a jar with a tight-sealing lid as contact with air will accelerate the deterioration process of the pepper. The tight-sealing lid is important as it will also prevent water or any unwanted guests from getting into the container.
The pantry or kitchen cupboard is an ideal storage area for dried jalapeños. However, when storing the peppers in a kitchen cupboard, make sure it is away from the stovetop or the oven as the steam from cooking creates humidity. Humidity will cause the dried peppers to go bad very quickly.
Do Pickled Jalapeños Need to Be Refrigerated?
Canned or bottled jalapeños last longer than their fresh counterparts. They are also easier to store.
Store-bought unopened canned jalapeños can be stored in the pantry or kitchen cupboard where it is dark and moderately cool. Keep the jars with jalapeños away from heat sources as well as areas where the temperature fluctuates, such as a cupboard near the stovetop or the oven.
Once opened, canned jalapeños should be stored in the fridge. Transfer the peppers and the brine solution they come in into a jar or container that seals tightly.
It is important for the peppers to be submerged in the brine solution. Otherwise, they will quickly dry out and mold.
When in doubt, always store homemade pickled jalapeños in the fridge to err on the safe side.
Can You Store Jalapeños in the Freezer?
You can certainly freeze jalapeños to extend their shelf-life. Freezing is a good option for people who have bought too many of these Mexican peppers.
There isn’t a dish you can cook that lets you use a really large amount of these spice peppers, unless you’re in the position of feeding 20 people! So, freezing is your best bet to save your bulk buy.
How to Freeze Jalapeños
Freezing jalapeños is quite simple. Here’s how to do it:
- First blanch the peppers. While some people consider this step to be optional, blanching jalapeños is essential if you want the peppers to retain their bright color and nutrients. Blanching also brings texture changes caused by freezing to a minimum. All you have to do is to submerge washed jalapeño peppers into boiling water for 3 minutes.
- Then take the peppers out and put them into a bowl filled with ice water. Doing this will immediately stop the cooking process of the peppers, retaining their crunch and color.
- Pat dry the peppers and remove the stems. Slice open the jalapeños to remove seeds. You can skip this step and remove the seeds when using defrosted jalapeños.
- Slice or chop the peppers. You can cut jalapeños into pieces of your desired size and shape.
- Put jalapeños into an airtight container or heavy-duty freezer bag.
Aside from freezing fresh jalapeños, you can also freeze pickled jalapeños. When freezing pickled jalapeños, pour the brine into a freezable jar or airtight container and add the peppers to it.
Make sure to freeze canned jalapeños right after you open the can. Freezing the peppers a few days after having the can open in the fridge increases the risk of contamination.
Defrost canned jalapeños in the fridge.
Signs That Jalapeños Have Gone Bad
Although fresh jalapeños are estimated to last for around two weeks, they may still be good for consumption past that time.
After two weeks the peppers usually start to wither and get wrinkly. Wrinkled skin indicates that the peppers have lost their moisture. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the peppers are bad and not safe for consumption.
Jalapeños that are wrinkled can be eaten. But keep in mind that they are no longer crispy, and that crispiness of jalapeños is what certain dishes need. Additionally, as the peppers wrinkle, they become less spicy.
The best way to use wrinkled jalapeños is in hot dishes where the texture of the peppers is not of central importance. You can use wrinkled jalapeños in soups and stews.
Here are the signs of bad jalapeños:
- Brown spots
- Off-putting smell
- Major changes in appearance
As for pickled jalapeños, closely inspect the peppers and the container. If you see any mold on the container with jalapeños, discard it.
As with fresh jalapeños, an off-putting smell, discoloration, and changes in the appearance of the peppers are signs that your jalapeños have gone bad.
In the case of pickled jalapeños, you should toss out the unopened jar whenever it is damaged and leaking. Discard jalapeños in tin cans if the can is rusty or bulging.