Jalapeno peppers (Capsicum annum), are warm-season vegetables grown annually in the majority of the U.S.. The warmer climates of U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11 might be able grow jalapeno bushes perennially, but the plants produce better with new plantings every year. When growing spicy jalapenos, you can notice small lines or cracks at the sides of the fruit.
Cracking Is Organic
Jalapenos naturally produce cracks in their skin. They have a feature splitting which may appear undesirable when selecting, but are really nothing more than the fruit working towards adulthood. When selecting jalapenos to crop, note that the more mature fruits are going to have some cracks around the stems. These cracks should not be a cause of alarm as they are part of this fruit’s natural maturing process and any jalapenos with splitting or scarring stay safe to consume.
Cracks Indicate Maturity
When jalapenos mature, they start to crack around the stems. Regardless of the size, completely mature jalapenos display little cracks across the fruit’s shoulder.
Cracks Indicate Heat
Cracking from the jalapeno skin can also be used to judge the heat of this fruit. Each jalapeno becomes hotter the longer it is allowed to mature. When the fruit is fully ripe, it’s the most popular that the variety can produce. So, the more mature the jalapeno is, the more cracks it’s and the hotter the pepper will be. Chefs occasionally use the splitting to ascertain which peppers have the greatest chance to be hot.
Conditions That Affect Jalapeno Cracking
Although splitting is natural for jalapeno peppers, some weather conditions can exacerbate the splitting and induce it to happen before the fruit is mature. For example, low temperatures can cause the fruit to break. In addition, because peppers need a constant source of water, fluctuations in soil moisture can cause splitting. If the soil dries out between waterings, or when lots of rain falls, causing rapid plant development, cracks from the jalapeno fruit can appear.