The demand for hot sauce products continues to expand in the U.S. In the case of jalapeno pepper sauce, there are many cultivars available for sauce production but those best suited for processing have not been adequately determined. Six cultivars (four replications) of jalapeno peppers (`Coyame', `Grande', `Jalapeno-M', `Mitla', `Tula' and `Veracruz') were evaluated for mash fermentation. The attributes studied during mash aging were color spectra, capsaicin content and fermentable sugars. Fructose and glucose were the predominant sugars in jalapeno peppers and these sugars were utilized gradually with time indicating slow fermentation by microorganisms in the 15% salt mash. Capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin were the predominant capsaicinoids in the jalapeno peppers with `Tula' containing the greatest concentration and `Veracruz' the least. All mashes displayed an apparent and unexpected rise in measurable capsaicinoids up to 6 months with a decline at 12 months. Color changes in the pepper mash were rapid initially but slowed after the first month of fermentation. Percent reflectance in fresh ground peppers was strongest in the range of 550–560 nm but, after salting, reflectance shifted to 580–590 nm and remained throughout the fermentation. Based on the characteristics tested, any of these cultivars would make a suitable mash for sauce. The heat content of the final product could be controlled by cultivar selection or through blending.
Science is a challenging subject to teach at the middle school level. The state of Louisiana requires public school teachers to plan their curriculum around Grade-Level Expectations or state mandated educational benchmarks. A program titled Horticulture in a Can has been designed to teach horticulture lessons to middle school students while targeting the state regulated grade-level expectations. All lessons use a hands-on approach as it has been proven more effective than traditional classroom teaching. Horticulture in a Can was developed by a cooperative effort between the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program and the LSU AgCenter's Department of Horticulture within the Coastal Roots Nursery Program. Eight lesson plans have been created to meet twenty-six Grade-Level Expectations for 463 students in 4 schools. Pre- and PostHorticulture tests were given to each class in addition to pre- and postChildren's Attitude Towards the Environment Scale (CATES). All tests were given to both treatment and control classes within each school. The evaluations tested both short and long-term memory on material contained in the lesson plans. The data was analyzed by school, treatment, sex, and grade-level.