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5 Ways to Tell Your Jalapenos Are Bad

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Home gardeners often grow jalapenos since they do not require much space. These peppers are fantastic for making salsa, grilling, or pickling.

One issue with growing jalapenos is that they are all ready to pick around the same time. As a result, people usually end up with too many ripe peppers.

What do you do with handfuls of jalapenos when you only need a couple at a time? Unless you use all your jalapenos at once, you’ll have to worry about them going bad.

Here are some ways to tell if your jalapenos are bad and what you can do to keep them fresh for longer.

They’re Wrinkly

dried pepper chili on white background

Wrinkled jalapenos are the first sign that your peppers are going bad. You can still eat wrinkly jalapenos, but typically only at the beginning of this stage.

Once you pick jalapenos off the vine, they only last between 3 and 5 days outside of the refrigerator. If you cut them, they’ll last even less time.

Avoid eating any jalapenos that look too wrinkly.

Color Changes

Another way to tell if your jalapenos are bad is if they start turning strange colors. Dark spots on your peppers probably mean they’re going bad.

A slight color change usually isn’t a big deal, and you can still eat them without worrying.

However, any significant color change is a sign that you should throw your jalapenos out and buy new ones.

They Leak

rotten chilli red peppers

Bad jalapenos can turn soupy, which is an obvious indication they’ve gone bad.

If you pick up your jalapenos and there is liquid underneath them, you should throw them away.

Bad Smell

Give jalapenos the smell test to determine whether they are good or not.

Fresh jalapenos don’t have much of a smell, so if they have a strange odor, you know they’ve gone bad.

Of course, pickled or seasoned jalapenos will have a more pungent scent, so only avoid those if they smell rancid.

Strange Taste

Jalapenos should have a crisp and refreshing flavor, like a spicy green pepper.

However, a strange flavor can mean the jalapeno is no longer good. In addition, a lack of spiciness is another sign they’re not as fresh as they should be.

Jalapeno Peppers on Dark Surface

How Long Can You Keep Jalapenos?

As stated previously, fresh jalapenos will last for 3 to 5 days outside of the refrigerator once they’re plucked from the vine.

In the fridge, jalapenos will typically last much longer, from 1-2 weeks.

Once you slice them, however, they’ll only be good for a few days, so you’ll want to cook or eat them as soon as possible.

However, canned jalapenos have a much longer shelf life of up to 6 months. If you’re overwhelmed by all the peppers in your garden, try canning instead.

Picture of the fridge with food inside

Keeping Your Jalapenos Fresh for Longer

There are things you can do to keep your jalapenos fresh for longer.

The most important thing to do is control temperature and air exposure. Keeping them in the fridge is a fantastic way to maintain freshness.

Store them in an air-tight container on the counter or in the fridge. This will slow the aging process, so you’re much less likely to see spots or wrinkling.

Freezing jalapenos is possible, but the peppers may be soft and juicy when you defrost them. Only freeze them if you’re planning to use the peppers to make a salsa or something else that’s liquid.

Avoid storing your jalapenos with other foods; even this proximity will make them spoil faster. A sealed bag with the air removed is your best option.

Fresh sliced Jalapenos for for canning.

Canning and Pickling Jalapenos

Pickled jalapenos are a common ingredient in many foods. They’re very versatile, and the tanginess of the vinegar helps reduce their spiciness.

Canning is a fun way to save money and keep your produce fresh for longer.

To prevent wasting produce, buy some canning supplies and begin pickling your jalapenos. You can use them later in your own kitchen or give them away to friends and neighbors.


Jalapenos are a very popular ingredient in many foods, such as tacos, nachos, or pizza. They give just the right amount of heat without overpowering other flavors.

Our list above will help you avoid eating rotten jalapenos. Instead, try canning or sealing your peppers to extend their life.


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