Black Bean and Corn Salsa with Jalapenos!

I enjoy a spicy, chunky salsa. Jalapenos are my friend! Toss in a bit of chopped up jalapeno for a little punch, add a bit of cilantro and you have a great dish! The name for the jalapeno pepper comes from Japala in the Mexican state of Vercruz where the pepper was first discovered. Jalapenos are frequently used in Mexican cooking. They add quite a bit of flavor and sometimes a great deal of heat to the dish!

In 1912 Wilbur Scoville, a chemist, developed a heat index for chiles, which is the industry standard for measuring a pepper's pain to your palette. His method used human tasters (a panel of five) to evaluate how many parts of sugar water it takes to neutralize the heat. He then developed a table showing how much capsaicin is contained in each variety. Can you imagine having that job!? I would think one's palette would be destroyed after a few trials!

The scale is really quite helpful in determining how much heat you really want to add to a dish. For instance, green bell peppers have a value of zero Scoville units, whereas habaneros start around 150,000. (I happen to like the habanero also!) The scale is also subjective given that it was developed based upon human perception, which can vary.

The chart below summarizes the much more detailed original chart developed by Scoville.

Scoville Chile Heat Chart



Heat Level
Sweet Bells; Sweet Banana; and Pimento
Negligible Scoville Units
Mexi-Bells; Cherry; New Mexica; New Mexico; Anaheim; Big Jim
100-1,000 Scoville Units
Ancho; Pasilla; Espanola; Anaheim
1,000 - 1,500 Scoville Units
Sandia; Cascabel
1,500 - 2,500 Scoville Units
Jalapeno; Mirasol; Chipotle; Poblano
2,500 - 5,000 Scoville Units
Yellow Wax; Serrano
5,000 - 15,000 Scoville Units
Chile De Arbol
15,000 - 30,000 Scoville Units
Aji; Cayenne; Tabasco; Piquin
30,000 - 50,000 Scoville Units
Santaka; Chiltecpin; Thai
50,000 - 100,000 Scoville Units
Habanero; Scotch Bonnet
100,000 - 350,000 Scoville Units
Red Savina Habanero; Indian Tezpur
350-855,000 Scoville Units

Most people think of the jalapeno as being very hot, but it actually varies from mild to hot depending on how it is grown, when it is picked, and how it is prepared. The heat is concentrated in the seeds and the veins, so removing those parts will make the dish more mild.

When selecting a Jalapeno pepper look for one that is firm, has a fresh green color, and smooth skin. A quick way to help you decide which jalapeno has the heat is to study the skin. Jalapeño chilies progressively get hotter the older they get, eventually turning bright red. As they age, they develop white lines and flecks, running the length of the pepper. The smoother the pepper, the younger, and milder it is. The more white lines, the older and hotter.

There are a few older jalapenos in this dish!

Black Bean and Corn Salsa with Jalapenos

2 cans (15 oz each) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 oz) corn
2-3 firm tomatoes, peeled, seeded, diced
1 cup fresh cilantro, minced
2-4 jalapenos, seeded, deveined, and diced
1/2 small white onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
fresh ground pepper
2-3 avocados, pitted, peeled, and diced

Combine the beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, jalapenos, onion, and lime juice in a serving bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill. Before serving, toss in avocados. Serve with blue corn tortilla chips if you can find them. Regular work fine, also!


This is a great starter or addition to a meal.
It's a real "guy pleaser"!


  1. Oh, Kate, this looks delicious. I've been hungry for beans and hot stuff lately. If I could only find a good tomato!

    Thanks for the info on jalapenos. I never knew any of that!

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog all the way over in Africa - I'm happy to have found yours ... your recipes look delicious !
    Bye for now
    Lynda, Kilimanjaro, East Africa

  3. This looks delicious and your chart is really appreciated. Thank you!

  4. I really enjoy good salsa and hot peppers! Thanks for the chart and especially your observations about jalapenos. I love the flavor but it is hard to capture the right amount when developing a recipe because the amount of jalapeno needed to reach a certain spiciness varies so much. I have had red jalapenos that taste almost as sweet as red bell peppers! I'm not sure it's true but I have this idea that other kinds of hot peppers are more predictable.

  5. Wow, interesting and educational post! Your salsa looks awesome.

  6. Yes! Bring on the heat! looks totally fresh and tasty.

  7. kate, you minx. this is perfect. i love the colors, i love the flavors--it's my ideal side dish (or frankly, main course). bravo.

  8. Love the chili chart! Thanks for the lesson. We grew some jalapeno pepper in our garden this year.

  9. That looks great! And a nice idea to list all the chili info too.

  10. The chart is really appreciated. This looks like a phenomenal recipe. Great pics!

  11. Hello, chilli queen in da house! I would head for the bottom of the chart! :))) That chart is such a scream ... colour coded like a rainbow! Love it! Great dish that I would definitely love, Kate! :)

  12. This is my favorite kind of salsa Kate ~ and yours looks super delicious! Thank you for posting the chart, too.

  13. Lawsy! I'm so far behind in blogging-- on my own site and reading others. You've been busy, girl! I screeched to a halt when I saw this one. This is almost the one I make every summer. LOVE IT! Black beans, corn, jalapeno, lime juice, cilantro (I add red peppers). Dang, girl, I want some now!
    We still on to meet on my turf in the next two months?

  14. I have printed this up for making in the near future.


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