Are Jalapenos A Fruit?



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Are Jalapenos A Fruit?

Most of the time, as long as food is tasty, we’re not fussed about much else, especially not botanical classifications.

But for the inquisitive foodies, dinner is almost always served with a side of questions.

These are the people who beamed with wonder when they found out that tomatoes are not actually vegetables but fruit.

The ones that couldn’t believe that bananas are berries. The ones whose jaws dropped with amazement when they heard that Jalapeños are… 

You’re in the right place if you’re unsure how that sentence ends.

Today, I’ll put everyone’s favorite little spicy green snack under the microscope and figure out what it is, scientifically speaking. Is it a fruit?

Is it a vegetable? Is it something else entirely? Stick with me, and all will be revealed!

What Are Jalapeños?

The spice lords out there will be well acquainted with the humble jalapeño, but here’s a brief introduction for the uninitiated.

Jalapeños are a type of pepper a spicy one, so less like the bell peppers you’ll put in your salad, and more like the ghost peppers a brave soul may put in their curry or hot sauce.

They’re usually between 2 and 3 inches long, but in certain circumstances, they can reach a very impressive 6 inches — Damn, jalos!

While they’re incredibly spicy to those who like a mild flavor profile, on the grander scheme of the Scoville scale, they’re not that hot at all.

Scoring between 2500 and 5000 on this spicy spectrum, topped by the California Reaper, which scores a tongue shriveling 2,000,000 to 2,200,000 Scovilles.

But these little green guys bring more than just spice to the dinner table; they’re brimming with healthy stuff such as Vitamins A, C, B, and K, folates, and potassium.

They’re not just one fixed entity either, as many variations have been cultivated over the years, including Mucho Nacho, Bill Biker, Pinata, TAM, Jalaro, Jaloro, and NuMex jalapeños.

So, Are Jalapeños Fruits?

Okay, that’s enough of a preamble, I believe. We’re all up to speed, so let’s get down to business. Are jalapeños fruits, or do they fall into some other culinary category?

Well, what we’re asking here is what botanical category chili peppers belong to, so let’s start our investigation there.

Chili peppers are, drum roll, please!… FRUIT!

That’s right, folks, they don’t have much of a fruit vibe, but chili peppers are all indeed fruit, which means the chili of the hour, jalapeños, are also fruit — Mission accomplished!

What Sort Of Fruit Are Jalapeños?

… The spicy kind — Just kidding!

As jalapeños are a fleshy fruit containing many small seeds, technically speaking, they’re berries, meaning they join the legendary ranks of deceptive fruit alongside the OG, the banana.

Are Jalapenos A Fruit?

Are All Chili Peppers Berries?

Yep, all chili peppers contain seeds, so they are all considered berries, a subcategory of simple fleshy fruit.

We don’t necessarily think of them as fruit because they’re so different from the type of fruit considered normal in our culture.

For instance, most US households will have apples, bananas, oranges, and bananas in their fruit bowls year-round, perhaps not all simultaneously, but you catch my drift.

This is the fruit we all grew up around, so we take it as a given that all fruit follows the same principles. Until then, we hear about the situation with tomatoes… that turns our fruity world upside down!

Chili peppers are neither citric nor all that sweet compared to things like bananas and oranges, so it’s no surprise that they don’t come to mind when we think of fruit.

We normally associate chili peppers with savory dishes, whereas fruit is primarily used to make sweet dishes.

As such, vegetable seems at first to be a much more appropriate label for chili peppers, but the science has spoken, and it says, “Nope; chili peppers are, 100%, unequivocally fruit!”.

Why Are Jalapeños Classed As Fruit?

We’ve established that jalapeños are a type of fruit, but how did humanity reach this conclusion?

Well, there is one fundamental distinction that separates fruits from vegetables, and it’s what part of the plant they come from.

Any entity that develops in the flowers of a plant is technically classed as a fruit, while any edible artifact from any other part of a plant is classed as a vegetable.

Are There Any Other Fruits We All Assume Are Vegetables?

Tomatoes and chilies aren’t the only deceptive fruits out there masquerading as vegetables; the world is full of them!

Tell me this… what do you find when you cut open your pumpkin to carve your jack-o-lantern for Halloween? A bunch of seeds, right? That means it’s a fruit.

All gourds are fruit, speckled swan gourds, dipper gourds, penguin gourds, bottle gourds… a lot.

And here’s a double revelation for you. Cucumbers are gourds, so they’re also technically fruit — Mind blown, right?

Also, peas are seeds, and the pod itself, technically a fruit, string beans, too.

Eggplants are another sneaky fruit; they’re berries, just like chilies and bananas. Ocra, olives, corn, zucchinis, chickpeas, and most beans are fruit too.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it gives you a good idea of how much the average Joe misunderstands his food.

Final Thoughts

Jalapeños are fruits, particularly berries, like strawberries, raspberries, and the infamously deceptive banana.

These foods are considered fruit because they originate from flowers rather than elsewhere in the plant’s anatomy. Foods harvested elsewhere on a plant are all vegetables.

It’s weird to think of hot sauce as a fruit sauce, huh?

And next time you feel like kicking your sandwich up a notch with some jalapeños, you’re stuffing your meal full of Delicious, spicy fruit!

Please see our article on the best pepper fertilizers, where we did an in-depth analysis and guide on the best fertilizers to use for your peppers.

Our Top 3 Pepper Fertilizers

Top Pick

Greenway Biotech Pepper Fertilizer

Greenway Biotech

Quality Ingredients Hydroponics and Soil Use Improves Soil Quality 100% Natural

Tracy’s Choice

Big A Pepper Fertilizer

Big A Peppers

Organic Proprietary Blend Suitable For All Peppers High-solubility Formula ECO Friendly.

Best Value

Miracle Gro Shake n Feed Fertilizer

Miracle-Gro S&F

Natural Ingredients Specially Formulated For Use In the Ground and Containers.

Further Recommendations:

Video: 7 Facts about Jalapenos

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