How To Seed A Jalapeno
(Or any fresh, hot chile)
Without Getting Burned!

Maureen Durand (Bubba)

The jalapeno is my favorite pepper. The flesh is very mild, and the core (seeds and veins) is very hot. I like to seed jalapenos before chopping them so that I can bite into big, juicy chunks of jalapeno without frying my tongue. The core is saved, minced, and added back into the recipe in small increments, until I get just the right level of hotness.

There are several ways to seed a fresh chile.

The most common method, one you'll see all the time on TV, is to cut the pepper in half length-wise, then length-wise again into quarters. Next, use the point of your knife to scoop out the seeds and veins. The TV Chef will caution you, "Always make sure to wash your hands after handling hot peppers, and don't touch your eyes or nose!"

This is good advice!
(In fact, there are many other body parts that you should not touch after handling hot peppers ...but that's another story...)

The problem with the above method, is that in cutting straight through the pepper, you've cut into the seeds and veins. The seeds and veins of a hot pepper are the parts that contain the highest concentrations of capsaisin... the stuff that makes hot chiles hot! The less you handle the seeds and veins, the better.

I'm not knocking TV Chefs! I'm a big fan of almost all cooking shows and have learned tons of stuff watching them. In fact, I learned this next method watching the Discovery Channel's "Great Chefs Of The West".

For shredded, chopped, or minced peppers
(Picture me at 3:00am, slicing up jalapenos, arranging them artfully on the scanner glass...)
  1. Lay the pepper down on a cutting board and hold onto the stem.
  2. Slice straight down along one side of the pepper, removing just the flesh.

  3. Give the pepper a quarter turn, and repeat.
  4. Keep turning and slicing, until you're left with 4 perfect, seedless slices. All the seeds and most of the veins remain in the central core.

  5. Now you can shred, mince, or chop the flesh. But don't throw away the core! The core can be minced and added back into the recipe in small increments, until you get just the level of hotness you prefer!
For stuffed peppers or pepper "rings":
(AKA: Neutered Jalapenos)
  1. Lay the pepper down on a cutting board and cut the top off (stem end).
  2. Inside, you'll see the seeds, and (usually) three veins which connect the core to the flesh.

  3. Slide an old-fashioned vegetable peeler into the pepper, along one of the veins, severing the vein from the flesh. Pull the peeler out, and repeat.

  4. When all of the veins have been severed, plunge the peeler back into the pepper and spin it around inside. Scoop the core out, and either save it to mince and use, or throw it out.
  5. You're left with an empty shell of a pepper, ready to stuff or slice into rings.

The Johnson Family Cookbook