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How Long do Jalapeño Peppers Last and How to Store Them

Jalapeños are one of the most versatile chili peppers around. Affordable and delicious, adding chopped Jalapeños to any dish can add some flavor and heat. If you are like me, sometimes you buy a few too many jalapeños at the grocery store. This might mean, that after about a week from your store visit, you might still see Jalapeños sitting in there and wonder, “How long are these peppers going to last? And am I storing them properly?”

How long do Jalapeño peppers last?

Depending on how you store your Jalapeños will influence how long they last. If you store them in the pantry, they will last around 3 to 5 days, as long as they were fresh when purchased. If you store them in the fridge you can extend the shelf life up to a few weeks.

See below for a table on the shelf life of Jalapeño peppers based on storage method:

 Pantry (room temperature)FridgeFreezer
Whole Jalapeños3 – 5 days1 – 2 weeks4 – 6 months
Sliced Jalapeños2 hours3 – 4 days4 – 6 months
Chopped Jalapeños2 hours3 – 4 days4 – 6 months
Cooked Jalapeños2 hours3 – 4 days4 – 6 months
Unopened Pickled Jalapeños3 – 6 months3 – 6 months 
Opened Pickled Jalapeños2 hours1 – 2 months 

What is the best way to store Jalapeños peppers in the fridge to lengthen freshness and flavor?

To maximize the shelf life of Jalapeño peppers and keep them fresh and flavorful, we recommend the following:

  1. Dry your Jalapeño peppers before you store them. Peppers are sometimes wet from grocery store water sprayers, so you might need to dry them with a paper towel.
  2. After drying the Jalapeño peppers, place them into a plastic bag. The plastic bag will create a humid environment which will enable our pepper to thrive
  3. Put the Jalapeño peppers in the crisper drawer. Make sure to place them towards the front of the drawer, which is a little warmer than the middle or back of the drawer

How to tell when Jalapeño peppers are going bad?

When trying to determine if your Jalapeño peppers are starting to go bad it is important to look for some key characteristic of spoilage. The following is a list of tell-tale signs that your peppers might be spoiling

  1. Wrinkled and/or shriveled skin – Almost all peppers show signs of losing freshness when their skin wrinkles or shrivels. The reason for this physical change is because the Jalapeño pepper is losing its moisture and drying out. Instead of a hard and crisp texture, the Jalapeño will have a soft, spongy texture.
  2. Soft surface spots – When feeling the pepper, if you notice spots that feel a little soft or give in under a little pressure from your thumb, throw out the pepper. These soft spots are an early sign of rot.
  3. Fuzzy mold – If you notice any fuzzy patches on the Jalapeño it is likely mold. In general, mold will start to develop around the stem of Jalapeño peppers.
  4. Dark Spots – Dark speckled spots can indicate that the Jalapeño pepper has been contaminated by disease
  5. No Spice or Heat – if you take a bite of the Jalapeño and notice that its signature heat characteristics are missing, it means the pepper is starting to get old. Fresh Jalapeños are hot and spicy and even the mild ones should have a bit of heat. When chili peppers age they lose their heat.

Are Jalapeños with cracks or stretch marks still fresh?

Cracking, otherwise known as corking, is common and natural in Jalapeño peppers. When you notice small cracks going lengthwise down a Jalapeño pepper’s skin it means the pepper is mature. These cracks tend to have a slightly brown or beige color, which is why the cracks are also known as corking.

Chefs and experienced cooks look for the cracking as a sign that the jalapeno could be extra spicy. Jalapeños become spicy the longer they mature on the plant.

What does it mean if the Jalapeño pepper seeds are brown?

Fresh Jalapeño peppers have white or off-white moist seeds that are clustered around the center core of the pepper. After slicing a Jalapeño pepper, you will sometimes notice the seeds are brown. Brown seeds can be a sign of rotting and can also mean the Jalapeño pepper has dried out from age.

If you notice brown seeds when you open a Jalapeño pepper it can mean that the pepper is no longer fresh. If there is no mold growing on the pepper or you do not detect an off-putting smell, you can still consume the Jalapeño. Just note that it probably will not taste very fresh or spicy.

What happens if you accidentally eat a Jalapeño pepper that has gone bad?

If you accidentally eat a Jalapeño pepper that has spoiled or started to go bad, it will not necessarily make you sick, but it will not taste great. Typically, mold that grows on spoiling produce is usually harmless but if you see the mold growing on your peppers, be safe, and dispose of them.

Some individuals could experience adverse allergic reactions to mold growing on Jalapeño peppers, so it is best to throw the pepper in the trash if you notice any growth.