How to Deseed a Jalapeno to Turn Down the Heat

This will give you jalapeno flavor without the fire.

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When it comes to spicy food, many people fall into one of two camps: “bring the heat!” and “mild salsa for me, thanks.” If you’re reading this, you probably fall into the latter. Missing the palate for super spicy food might make some cuisines—like Mexican food or Thai curries—less appealing. That can be frustrating, especially if you’re an adventurous eater.

Luckily, you can hate spicy food and still make a delicious pico de gallo. That’s because most of the heat of a jalapeno is in the inside: the whitish membrane known as the “ribs” surrounding the seeds. (Nope, it’s not the actual seeds that carry the spice, contrary to popular belief.)

In this video, wellness chef Phoebe Lapine shows how to deseed a jalapeno pepper quickly and easily so you can minimize its spiciness. This simple knife trick removes the seeds and white membrane all in a couple twists of your wrist.

After slicing off the top of the jalapeno, stick your knife straight into the jalapeno. With the jalapeno in one hand and the knife in the other, twist the jalapeno so that the dull side of the knife scrapes the inside of the pepper. (This is safer than using the sharp end.)The jalapeno seeds and ribs should come loose in just a few twists.

Once you can deseed a jalapeno, you can slice it as usual to use in chili, guacamole, or jalapeno mac and cheese.

Oh, and don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly after handling any jalapeno pepper and avoid touching your eyes afterward. The irritation can be painful!