New variety of jalapeno bred for sports bars, bowling alleys


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


  1. This sucks for me. I love jalapeno and other hot peppers, but I can’t stand the taste of bell peppers. If these have a bell pepper flavor I might have to give up poppers.

  2. Great, now I’m craving poppers, thanks a lot guys! I’m trying to eat healthy, real foods. Not helping!

  3. It wasn’t bad enough that they’ve already bred a special jalapeno for America’s weak palate, now they’re making one with a pepper that gives me hives. Just frigging wonderful.

    Grow a pair you pepper popper lovers. If you can’t stand the heat, just push the cheese into a bell pepper and be done with it.

    If you want a big popper and respectable heat, snag yourself some golden cayennes and go to town.

    1. They tried that on Squidbillies- episode Wing Nut. Gross, absurd, and hilarious.

      I hope this doesn’t mean jalepeno poppers in general will get milder. I like mine as hot as they come, which is medium hot. They serve really hot ones with a different kind of pepper at a local Chinese buffet, and those are good as well. If the pepper isn’t at least med-hot, then the cream cheese is moot.

  4. What’s the diff? You know they’re just going to get submerged in ranch dressing anyway.

  5. This is part of the department of agriculture funded program known as the “Big Fat Fucking Americans” project.

  6. I wish they would make poppers out of not-spicy peppers. They’re so delicious but they’re too painful for me to eat.

    …Actually I wish they’d make tomato poppers.

    1. @#10, this shouldn’t be a problem; just use green tomatoes. Fried green tomatoes are already considered good food, no sense in not adding cream cheese.

      Also if you’re looking for HOT jalepenos… grow your own! They grow like weeds here in Dallas and don’t mind not being watered for two weeks at a time, even in 100+ weather. home grown jalepenos are too hot to eat, and one plant will supply a family with a year’s worth of salsa.

  7. I’m thinking poppers done with Banana Wax Peppers would be huge and delicious, if a leeetle spicy…

  8. I’d have to ask why. I’ve always thought that Poblanos or New Mexico(Anaheim) Peppers were perfectly OK for chiles rellenos — which, I might add, are the far superior version of a popper.

  9. Bell peppers and jalapenos are the same species (chili pepper), just two different varieties. It’d be like saying “Scientists have successfully bred a Granny Smith to a Red Delicious to make a new apple called Red Granny”.

    The cool part is that they got the hybrids to breed true and created a new cultivar. At least, I’m assuming that’s what they did…

  10. My limited knowledge of the English language almost made me think that we were talking about… drugs… you know…
    On the bright side, I now know another food I can’t eat!

  11. Cross breeding can be fun. Years ago, Corn Nuts included packets of seeds with the snack. We grew them and needed an axe to bring down the stalk.

    Now armed with hundreds of kernels, I tried crossing them with popcorn to create some sort of super popcorn. Never did work quite right. They would just poof up to something like corn pops.

  12. It seems like the regular jalapenos have been trending towards this anyway. I’m not sure how useful this really is.

  13. This is awful. We’ve been living with inferior jalapenos for a good while now anyway, because a too-mild version made at UT for poppers has overwhelmed the domestic market. (That’s why the imported jalapenos purchased at grocers serving the Hispanic market are so often hotter and more flavorful than the ones available next door at the Anglo grocery store.) Now even the crappy UT version is too hot? A very sad day for America!

  14. Grow your own, chiliheads! Heck, even the wimpy bell peppers taste far better than the thick-skinned, bred-for-shipping store versions.

  15. Much weirder was the square tomato development. Less round so they don’t roll off conveyors and thick skins that don’t crush when loaded into semi trailers. Anyone who’s traveled Hwy 5, 99, or 10 in California during the summer knows when it’s harvest time.

  16. OK, so it’s not my imagination. The jalapeños I buy in the USA aren’t as hot as they used to be.

    I used to get peppers with much more variable heat, too. One pepper would be mild, the next would turn your tongue numb instantly.

  17. This drives me nuts. Jalapeños are already not nearly as hot as they were 20 years ago, and now they’re getting even milder? I’m switching to cerranos for cooking.

  18. I’ve already bred something like this when my garden’s chilli and bell pepper plants cross-pollinated. They were nice, but the plant suffered a bit from poor genetics and only gave a few fruit.

  19. Did anyone else who’s read The Windup Girl also feel a bit terrified at a name like NuMex in this context…?

  20. Sold!

    The UNM Chile Science Institute is completely awesome, and deserves my support. I bought a pack of these, a pack of “Twilight” decorative (but still edible, and hot, if you believe the advertising) seeds, and a pack of bhut jolokia seeds. I’m starting them all in an Aerogarden I got for Winter Solstice a few years back; we’ll see how it goes.

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