I am pleased to report that my 2 jalapeno plants are doing quite well this year. Over the course of the summer the heat scale of the peppers has ranged from nonexistent to scorching. With a preference for the latter and as a guide to harvesting, I am interested in the relationship between ripeness and pungency. After about 1.5 hours of internet surfing I am amazed at the lack of consensus. All agree that as a jalapeno ripens it gets larger changing in color from green to red, often with the concurrent appearance of brown streaks or "corking." The controversy is with pungency. Some claim it is constant, others that it intensifies, and still others that it mellows as the fruit matures. And so my Q: Notwithstanding the many variables involved, what is the general rule on the relationship between ripeness and pungency in jalapenos?
Pungency reaches its maximum at pod maturity. The reason for this is that capsaicin is present to prevent mammals from eating the pods and destroying the seeds in their intestinal tract. So it makes sense that pungency would be greatest when the seeds are mature and can germinate.