Grocery Guides

Fresno Peppers – All You Need to Know | Instacart Guide to Fresh Produce



Last Updated: Feb 25, 2022

What are Fresno peppers?

What looks like a jalapeño but isn’t a jalapeño? The answer: Fresno peppers. In fact, these 2 varieties are so much alike in appearance that even grocery stores often mislabel them. After all, both chile peppers are similar in length (2–3in), have slightly curved silhouettes, and mature from vibrant green to fire-engine red.

While it’s true that Fresnos and jalapeños taste almost the same when they are young, green peppers, each variety has a distinctive flavor profile once matured. For one thing, red Fresno peppers are smokier and fruitier than jalapeños, giving the former a more complex taste. It’s also why Fresnos are popular among foodies, gourmet chefs, and culinary pros. Last but not least, Fresno peppers have thinner walls than jalapeños, which are ideal for stuffed dishes.

How hot are Fresno peppers?

Fresno peppers are considered medium-hot chile peppers. Next to jalapeños, Fresnos rank a little higher on the heat factor, especially when aged. Using the Scoville scale, Fresnos typically range from 2,500–10,000 Scoville heat units (SHU). Some people even liken Fresno peppers on the top range of the Scoville scale to mild serrano peppers (their heat factor is 3-fold of a jalapeño). On the other hand, jalapeño peppers rank slightly below with an average of 5,000 SHU.

Where did Fresno peppers originate from?

In the 1950s, Clarence “Brownie” Hamlin first cultivated these delightful chile peppers in his hometown of Fresno, California. As such, they are called “Fresno peppers.” Today, Fresnos are cultivated throughout California to keep up with the growing demand for these tasty peppers.

What is the nutritional value of Fresno peppers?

Fresno peppers aren’t just well-known for their heat and smokiness; they are also excellent sources of vitamins A and C. On top of that, these chile peppers contain capsaicin—a chemical compound that makes you feel like your mouth is on fire. Contrary to the fiery aftertaste, capsaicin is anti-inflammatory in nature.

How are Fresno peppers grown?

All pepper plants, including the Fresno chile peppers, grow best in cool, frost-free conditions. You can plant the pepper seeds directly in the ground once the frost has passed. Alternatively, germinate the seeds indoors a few weeks before the final frost date before transplanting them outdoors into the soil once they are a few inches in height.

After transplanting, Fresno plants roughly need 75 days to reach maturity. For optimal growth, Fresno peppers require direct sunlight every day. These chile peppers can be harvested when they’ve turned green, orange, or red.

When are Fresno peppers in season?

Fresh Fresno peppers are usually in season from late summer to fall. You can also dry or pickle these chile peppers to last you throughout the year. Keen to find out which local stores carry fresh Fresno peppers near you? Open Instacart and start browsing.

How do you pick Fresno peppers at the grocery store?

Picking Fresno peppers at the grocery store is easy-peasy. Start with the pepper’s color to tailor to your heat preferences:

  • Green Fresnos: mild heat
  • Orange Fresnos: medium heat
  • Red Fresnos: extreme heat

Next, you’ll want to choose chile peppers that are firm to the touch with smooth, glossy skin. Avoid those with wrinkles, cracks, and insect holes.

Are you looking to replenish your chile pepper supply? You can easily shop for Fresno peppers via Instacart. After adding a product to your cart, use the “Instructions” option to share with your Instacart shopper specific preferences or directions on choosing quality peppers. Shop red Fresno peppers.

How to store Fresno peppers

The best way to store fresh, raw Fresno peppers is to refrigerate them. Pop the chile peppers into dry plastic bags or paper bags before placing them in the vegetable drawer of your fridge. When properly stored, Fresno peppers usually last for 2–3 weeks.

If you’d like to extend their longevity, even more, slice the raw peppers and then place them in dry zip lock bags before freezing them. Frozen Fresno peppers normally keep for 8–9 months.

How to tell if Fresno peppers are bad

Usually, there are a few key indicators that your Fresno peppers have gone bad—think discoloration, a mushy texture, and/or rotting. Other warning signs include an unpleasant smell, faded colors, and wrinkled skin.

Need to stock up on Fresno peppers as soon as possible? Instacart offers a curated selection of fresh produce near you for same-day delivery. Shop fresh Fresno peppers.

What can I substitute for Fresno peppers?

As Fresno peppers have limited seasonality, they may not be available at your local grocery stores from time to time. If the dish you’re making needs fresh chile peppers, try these alternatives instead:

  • Jalapeño peppers: green jalapeños taste almost the same as the young Fresnos
  • Chipotle peppers: if you’re looking for Fresnos’ smokiness, chipotles are your go-to peppers
  • Cayenne peppers: these peppers sport thin walls with a similar flavor to Fresnos, albeit more intense in heat
  • Serrano peppers: if you love the peppery heat—and your taste buds can endure it—serrano peppers are the perfect Fresno substitutes

A new chile pepper twist for your taste buds

Tolerable in heat and subtle in smokiness, Fresno peppers are a crowd favorite everywhere. In fact, some would say that once you’ve tasted Fresnos, you can never go back to life without them.

If you’re looking to put a new twist on the usual jalapeño peppers, get some fresh Fresno peppers today. At Instacart, we try our best to deliver fresh produce near you in as little as 2 hours! Shop Fresno chile peppers.



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