Grocery Guides

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

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Last Updated: Feb 25, 2022

What are serrano peppers?

Serrano peppers are often compared to the jalapeno pepper. Both are popular peppers with a variety of uses. However, the most notable difference is the level of spice. Compared to the jalapeno, which ranges from 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville heat units (SHU), serrano peppers are spicier and range from 10,000 to 23,000 SHU.

In appearance, serrano peppers are often smaller in length, ranging from 1-4in long and 1/2in in width. Serrano peppers come in green, red, brown, and yellow varieties. The color will change based on the level of ripeness.

Because of their meaty texture and moderate spice, serrano peppers are great to use in salsas, hot sauces, and relishes. They are especially great when roasted.

Where do serrano peppers originate from?

Serrano peppers originate from the Mexican states, particularly in the mountainous regions of Puebla and Hidalgo. In Spanish, the word “sierra” means “mountain,” which is where the serrano pepper’s name is derived from.

What is the nutritional value of serrano peppers?

One cup of chopped serrano peppers will contain:

  • 34 calories
  • 7g of carbohydrates
  • 4g of sugar
  • 3.9g of fiber
  • 1.8g of protein

How are serrano peppers grown?

The serrano pepper plant will typically grow to be about 2 to 5ft in height. A single serrano pepper plant can produce around 50 serrano pepper pods. If grown under the proper conditions, some pepper plants can yield around 2.5lbs of peppers per plant. Like most chili pepper plants, the plant has a low frost tolerance and thrives best in warmer temperatures above 75°F.

Serrano peppers can typically be harvested anywhere from 10 weeks to 3 months. You can pick serrano peppers when they are green, or you can wait until they ripen.

When harvesting, don’t pull the pepper from the plant, but instead, cut the stem. By keeping the stem attached to the pepper, it will preserve the pepper for longer.

When are serrano peppers in season?

Serrano peppers are usually available throughout the year, but they often bloom and are in peak season during the summer. See what other fresh produce is currently in season.

What should I look for when buying serrano peppers?

When ripe, serrano peppers should be firm to the touch and have no signs of discoloration, dark spots, soft spots, or molding.

Green serrano peppers are less ripe than red serrano peppers; however, they are still edible. Green peppers will have a slightly milder flavor and spice in comparison to the darker color varieties.

If you are looking to have your groceries conveniently delivered, you can easily shop for serrano peppers and more via Instacart. After adding a product to your cart, use the “Instructions” option to notify your Instacart shopper about any preferences or specific directions on how to choose the best products.

How to store serrano peppers

When stored in a pantry or at room temperature, fresh serrano peppers usually last around 3–5 days.

When stored in the refrigerator, the shelf life of serrano peppers increases to around 1–2 weeks. It is best to wipe down your peppers to clear any dirt or debris and then store the peppers in a sealed plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your fridge. This will decrease the humidity the peppers accumulate in the fridge and help preserve them for a longer amount of time.

You can also store your serrano peppers in the freezer. Wash your serrano peppers first, and then wipe them down before letting them air dry for about an hour. If you place your serrano peppers without drying them thoroughly, any wet spots will turn into freezer burn and corrupt the taste and quality of your peppers. Place your dried peppers in a freezer-safe plastic bag and store them in the freezer.

Serrano peppers are best eaten within 6 months when stored frozen. It is possible to eat them after 6 months, but the longer you store them in the freezer, the higher the peppers’ chance of developing freezer burn and losing their taste and freshness.

How to tell if serrano peppers are bad

Like other chili peppers, when serrano peppers start to go bad, they develop wrinkled or shriveled skin. This stems from the pepper losing its moisture. Serrano peppers are firm when fresh, but they may produce soft spots when they start to spoil. If the slightest amount of pressure from your finger causes the pepper to give, throw the peppers out. This is a clear sign of spoilage.

Like other produce, if your serrano peppers have started to develop any signs of molding, dispose of the product immediately and replace it with a fresh batch.

What can I substitute for serrano peppers?

An obvious substitute for serrano peppers is jalapeno peppers. The jalapeno pepper is milder in spice, typically larger in size, and has a similar texture and freshness in taste. If you don’t have access to fresh produce, cayenne pepper powder is a convenient alternative that allows you to increase or decrease the amount of spice you want in a recipe. View other chili pepper alternatives.

Purchase serrano peppers

Serrano peppers can be used in a variety of dishes. To purchase serrano peppers, use Instacart to receive same-day delivery straight to your door. Or try same-day pickup if you’re already out and about.

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