Scientists in New Mexico have successfully bred a bell pepper to a jalapeno to create a new, larger, medium-hot version of the jalapeno. What's the point? Poppers, my friends. Poppers. The breeding program was specifically aimed at meeting America's growing demand for ever-more-massive, cheese-stuffed, deep-fried peppers. Called the NuMex Jalmundo, seeds will be available for sale next year commercially, but it looks like you can buy seeds through the Chile Pepper Institute already.
And, before you laugh, this really isn't the weirdest thing we've ever done to domesticated plants. After all, the same basic science of selective breeding and hybridization turned weedy, little teosinte into corn.
Photo by Paul Bosland. To get a better idea of just how much bigger the NuMex Jalmundo are, check out the photos on this gardening blog. They look both shorter and significantly fatter than the average jalapeno you'd buy at the grocery store.
Via Popular Science
Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.