If you’ve ever cooked with jalapeños, you understand that feeling when your recipe turns our way spicier, or less spicy than you were expecting. While this is fine for many people, it can make something practically inedible for those that have a really low spice tolerance.

It can also be important to have an idea of the spice level depending on what recipe you are making. You could be happy with a spicy salsa or chili, but maybe you prefer your poppers on the mild side. Either way, it is important to be able to tell how spicy a jalapeño will be before you use it.

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If you are looking for less-spicy peppers you want to look for ones with a lighter color and very smooth and shiny skin. This means that the pepper hasn’t had as much time to develop the capsaicin that makes peppers spicy.

When looking for spicier peppers, look for darker ones with scars/lines running up the skin. These are older peppers that have had more time to develop their spice.

While those methods aren’t completely fool proof, an easy way to lessen the spice level of any pepper is by removing all of the seeds and as much of the white flesh from the inside of the pepper. However, a particularly spicy pepper will still bring the heat whether or not you include the seeds.

If you can’t handle spice at all, I suggest substituting jalapeños for a more mild pepper like a poblano. Or, if you want to bring the heat, grab a spicier pepper like a serrano to ensure a stronger punch.

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