Mammoth jalapenos are known for their medium dark-green color with a soft sheen. They are excellent when stuffed with cheese and grilled or baked. With a pleasing heat and thick flesh, no wonder spicy food lovers would take them home for a deliciously spicy dinner.
If you plan to plant mammoth jalapenos or are currently growing them, you may wonder when to pick mammoth jalapenos.
I have been growing mammoth jalapenos for a year now. I harvest them once they become dark green. I also look for other signs, like small brown scars or lines.
When is the Best Time to Harvest Mammoth Jalapenos?
Knowing when to harvest mammoth jalapenos is a bit challenging since they are often plucked off the branch in a similar color. They also do not always look like the other peppers in the local markets or grocery stores.
Don’t worry; I will help you succeed in your upcoming mammoth jalapeno harvest day.
Mammoth jalapenos’ days to maturity are about 72 to 77 days. During this period, their appearance comes with large dark green pods with thick and smooth flesh. They also grow 11 cm (4.5”) or longer.
Please note that the “days to maturity” is the amount of time to start picking mammoth jalapenos after growing outside.
I pick my mammoth jalapenos once they become dark green. They are ready to harvest if small brown scars or lines have already developed. I also consider their length. I get my basket and pick them if they are 4” to 5” inches long.
Older hot peppers come with more capsaicin, so expect them to be hotter. If I leave the peppers longer on the plant, they turn red. This provides a slightly sweeter taste than green jalapenos. However, if you want your mammoth jalapenos to taste sweet, you can collect them when red.
Tips When Picking Mammoth Jalapenos
Mammoth jalapenos contain a chemical that provides heat, called capsaicin. These peppers have a 3,500 to 4,500 Scoville rating.
Beware that capsaicin does irritate not only the eyes and skin but also the mucus membrane when handling or cutting hot peppers like mammoth jalapenos, be sure to wear gloves. Changing or cleaning them between plants is recommended when using rubber or plastic gloves. I also wear safety glasses or goggles.
Wash cutting boards, knives, and hands thoroughly with water and soap after working with these jalapenos. Although capsaicin does not dissolve in water, it dissolves in alcohol, oil, soap, milk, and other dairy products.
Do you smoke? If yes, I recommend washing hands before picking. Pepper plants like jalapenos are vulnerable to the tobacco mosaic virus.
As mentioned earlier, mammoth jalapeno peppers are picked while they are still green. Be sure to use scissors or a knife to cut the stem carefully. Using safety goggles or glasses helps protect yourself from the hot peppers’ irritating juices.
How to Preserve Mammoth Jalapenos?
When growing mammoth jalapenos, harvest time is one of my favorite parts. I feel fulfilled if I see my jalapenos grow, become healthy, and ready for picking.
Now that I have already shared when and how to pick mammoth jalapenos, it’s time to discuss how you can preserve your freshly picked jalapenos.
You can use mammoth jalapenos fresh or preserve them by being dried, canned, pickled, or frozen. Sometimes, I dried them for future use. Since they are large, they are excellent for stuffing.
Traditionally, peppers are air dried using the ristras method. This method involves stringing and drying the mammoth jalapeno peppers.
Mature red mammoth jalapenos are best for drying. Ensure the fresh peppers are free from blemishes and keep the stems on them. Then, wash and dry the red peppers.
You can either tie the twine or string around the stem or thread the yarn through the stalks. This prevents the jalapenos from touching each other. Finally, hand them in an open, warm area, ensuring good air circulation.
Another way to preserve mammoth jalapenos is through over dry method. This method involves placing whole mammoth jalapenos in a single layer on a baking sheet. Be sure not to let them touch each other.
After arranging the peppers, set your oven on the lowest settings. Turn the jalapenos every hour. The oven-dry process takes around 4 hours to overnight, depending on the pepper’s size.
If you split the hot peppers, you can minimize the drying time. However, it also minimizes the peppers’ intensity.
Pickling mammoth jalapenos is an easy and fun way to turn them into crunchy and zingy snacks that last a long time in your fridge.
First, you must wash all jalapenos with cold water and cut them into ¼” slices. Use tongs or gloves to pack the sliced hot peppers tightly into an airtight jar. Make sure to leave ½” of space at the top of the jar.
When making the brine, combine water and vinegar in a medium pot. Add crushed garlic, salt, oregano, and sugar. Bring to a boil and occasionally stir to dissolve salt and sugar. Turn off the heat.
Pour the hot brine over the sliced jalapenos, ensuring they are completely submerged. Allow the brine to sit for about 5 to 10 minutes. This provides air bubbles that will escape the jar.
Seal your jar tightly and let them cool for 1 hour or longer before putting it in the fridge. This cooling process helps seal the jar and protect against airborne bacteria.
I enjoy eating my quick-pickled mammoth jalapenos for 1 to 2 hours after pouring the brine. These pickled jalapenos can last 3 to 4 weeks, primarily when refrigerated.
Will Mammoth Jalapenos Turn Red Off the Plant?
After picking your mammoth jalapenos while still green, you might be curious if they will turn red over time. Well, the answer depends on whether or not the jalapenos had begun their final ripening stage while still on the plant.
If mammoth jalapenos were starting to red when you collected them, they would continue to ripen and turn red. On the other hand, if you harvest under-ripe peppers while still light green, they will not turn red regardless of how long you wait.
So, if you wish to enjoy red mammoth jalapenos, allow them to ripen on the plant. These peppers continue to mature until the growing season’s end as long as they are not exposed to the frosting.
You can place mammoth jalapeno peppers in brown bags and close them. This technique helps speed up the ripening process.
Do Mammoth Jalapenos Lose Their Heat When Frozen?
No. I have already tried freezing mammoth jalapenos, which did not reduce their heat.
Freezing jalapenos help lock in their original heat levels. In other words, they do not lose any of their original capsaicin.
If I want to use jalapenos to
Aside from keeping their original heal level, freezing mammoth jalapenos retain most of their nutritional value.
Frozen mammoth jalapeno peppers are a great source of some vitamins and minerals.