Do Jalapenos Need to Be Refrigerated? | Fresh vs Canned


Proper storage of peppers like jalapenos is a common question. I have been gardening for over 50 years and have tried every method of storage and preservation for hundreds of types of fruits and vegetables. Therefore, I can give you a definitive answer on the topic.

Fresh jalapenos should be refrigerated as soon as possible to maintain freshness and taste over more than 2 or 3 days. Wrap fresh jalapenos in a paper towel and place them in a paper bag before putting them in the fridge. Pickled jalapenos that are not shelf stable will also need refrigeration.

Additionally, jalapenos can be frozen or preserved in cans or jars and even dried for ultra long term storage. This article will detail basic Jalapeno storage guidelines and address frequently asked questions about available methods.

Fresh Jalapeno Storage Guidelines

You can refrigerate jalapenos in a paper bag or a plastic zip-lock bag. They will last about a week in the refrigerator if cleaned and stored properly. It’s best not to wash jalapenos before refrigeration unless you dry them thoroughly. This will help avoid mold issues while in storage. You can stock them whole or sliced, but whole jalapenos tend to last longer.

How Do You Keep Jalapenos Fresh After Cutting?

Sliced jalapenos will start to turn quickly if not stored properly. Try only to cut what you will need for the current recipe. Cover them in a container with a sealed lid and refrigerate them immediately after cutting. Sliced and sealed jalapenos will last up to a week in the refrigerator.

How Long Can Fresh Jalapenos Sit Out?

You can leave whole jalapenos out for two to three days before they will start to spoil. If you plan on using them in that timeframe, store them in a warm, dry area away from the sun. Another tip for using jalapenos from the garden is only to pick them as you need them. Leaving them on the vine will keep them fresh for your next recipe.

How to Tell if a Jalapeno Is Going Bad

Wrinkled, mushy skin is the tell-tale sign your peppers are starting to spoil.

What Happens if You Eat Bad Jalapenos?

It’s improbable you will get food poisoning if you eat a bad jalapeno or any other pepper. It’s pretty obvious by sight and definitely by taste when a jalapeno has spoiled. Once any pepper starts to go bad, the skin will appear wrinkled and will be soft to the touch. It’s best to avoid peppers in this state.

Canned Jalapeno Storage Guidelines

If you have an abundance of jalapenos from your garden or just bought a large batch from the store, canning is a great way to make the most of them.

Pickling any pepper before canning is best practice. Common kitchen supplies such as salt, vinegar, sugar, and garlic are necessary to complete the process. You will also need a canning machine to package the finished product for storing. Canning jalapenos is an efficient way of always have some on hand for cooking.

How Long Can Jarred/Canned Jalapenos Sit Out?

If canned or jarred jalapenos are pressure sealed with a machine, they can sit without refrigeration for months. Always use a shelf-stable canner when storing cans long term.

Do Pickled or Jarred Jalapenos Even Need Refrigeration?

Pickled or jalapenos in a jar only require refrigeration if the jars are not vacuum sealed. You can pickle jalapenos or any other pepper in a jar without a machine, but they must remain refrigerated. Mason jars are an excellent vessel for pickled peppers.

With the common ingredients listed in the Canned Jalapeno Storage Guidelines section, you can get creative with other garnishes and peppers to create your own recipe. In less than thirty minutes, and without the cost of an expensive canning machine, you can create your own flavor of pickled jalapenos.

How Long Do Pickled Jalapenos Last in the Fridge?

Six months is the estimated shelf life of refrigerated pickled jalapenos. Although it is possible to extend that timeframe, based on the pickling method, the taste will start to falter the longer they spend in the refrigerator.

Can I Freeze Whole Jalapenos?

Freezing jalapenos whole is the preferred method. Whole peppers hold up better in the freezer and thaw better when ready to use. You can store most peppers frozen for up to six months and still retain quality. The best way to utilize frozen jalapenos is to use them while cooking because they tend to be softer once they thaw out.

Do You Have to Blanch Jalapenos Before Freezing?

Jalapenos are one of the few vegetables that do not require blanching before being frozen. One common recommendation is to rinse them in salted water and then pat them dry. Make sure they are completely dry before putting them in the freezer. It’s also helpful to choose ripe jalapenos that are still crisp, green, and absent of any marks or bruises.

Once they are prepared, simply put them in a Ziplock freezer bag and add them to the freezer. It’s helpful to date the bags so you know how long the peppers have been frozen. This way, you can use them in a timely fashion and enjoy the best taste.

Pro Tip: Try using Ziplock ‘n steam bags with any vegetable, it makes heating in the microwave very easy.

How to Dry Jalapenos for Preservation

There is another alternative for preserving jalapenos and storing them for the long term.

Drying jalapenos is a popular method that offers additional consumption options compared to fresh or pickling. You can simply lay them out on a plate or string them up for a few weeks to dry out. If you don’t want to wait a few weeks, you can bake them over low heat in the oven to dry them out quickly.

Once thoroughly dried, you can grind them up to use as a powder, serve like a sun-dried tomato, or rehydrate them to use in a recipe.

What Preservation Methods Work Best for Peppers?

Refrigeration, freezing, pickling, and drying are all viable options for preserving peppers such as cayenne, chili, bell, banana, poblano, and many more. However, some methods may work better with certain peppers. For instance, Cayenne Peppers are excellent for grinding into a powder, which is a staple spice in countless dishes.

Ensuring your peppers are ripe and free of blemishes is a crucial component for successfully storing them both long and short term. If you have an abundance of peppers, you can choose several of the above methods to preserve them for later use.

Bottom Line

Storing jalapenos is a matter of personal preference and taste. Now you know the optimal method to maximize the shelf life of both fresh and canned peppers. I have numerous articles related to food preservation, be sure to browse my site if you are interested in learning more. You may be especially interested in reading about my recipe for pepper jelly. It’s one of the most popular types I make.

Thanks for stoppin’ by!

Jelly Grandma

Anne James

Hi, I'm Anne but my grandchildren call me Jelly Grandma. I have over 50 years of experience as a Southern cook and am a retired librarian. I love sharing what I have learned. You can find me on YouTube as well! Just click the link at the bottom of your page. I hope your visit here has been a sweet one.

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