Jalapeno pepper cultivars reach back centuries to the time of the Aztecs. A member of the species, Capsicum annuum
, jalapeno peppers are known for their spicy flavor. The spice heat of various capsicum varieties is measured in Scoville heat units with 1,000 being mild. Until recently, the Carolina Reaper scored highest with a Scoville heat record of about 1.5 million scoville units. Now, a new cultivar called Dragon's Breath, created by Welsh plant grower, Mike Smith, has a 2.4 million scoville unit rating. Smith, the grower, says he believes a bite of this pepper is enough to kill a person. Mr. Smith has only touched some of the pepper to his tongue without swallowing it. The pepper burned and burned he said.
Though the jalapeno pepper may be mild in heat, its spicy nature should not be taken for granted. Random jalapeno peppers may range in heat from 1,000 to 20,000 heat units so cooks beware. The best way to keep the heat in the mild range is to discard all the seeds inside the pepper pod, look for smooth green jalapeno peppers, and avoid the streaked and/or red ones. Remove the seeds carefully, with plastic gloves for more protection against the pepper oil.
However, whether or not a person is sensitive to chilli pepper oil, it is always a safe practice to make sure not to touch the face or rub the eyes without first washing the hands well in hot, sudsy water to remove any pepper oil from the skin.
A little heat adds extra fullness of flavor to bean dishes, and Breakfast Tofu is no exception. But, there may be some who wish for the jalapeno flavor without the heat. Believe it or not, there are varieties available that grant this wish. Fooled You Hybrid Pepper seed is a non-spicy, five-star rated variety Jalapeno with plenty of flavor and no heat!