It’s not really fall without the avalanche of pumpkin spice products, from lattes to dog treats. Those looking to get a jump on the trend might find themselves tempted by the Pumpkin Spice jalapeño, which appears with the start of chili season in mid-summer.
But if you bite into this pepper expecting the flavors of nutmeg, ginger, and cloves that make your PSL so tasty, you’re in for a spicy surprise. The name actually refers to its pumpkin-orange hue, and the “spice” to its jalapeño heat. Pumpkin Spice jalapeños do, however, taste more fruity than your typical green pepper.
The “NuMex Pumpkin Spice” jalapeño was developed specifically for its color. The variety was recently released by New Mexico State University, along with “NuMex Lemon Spice” and “NuMex Orange Spice.” In a 2015 paper describing its breeding process, pepper experts Paul Bosland and Danise Coon write that the new vibrant peppers were bred to help growers boost sales. Since shoppers love brightly-colored produce, they might be attracted to sunny shades on their jalapeños, which the authors noted are “not currently available in the marketplace.”
Need to Know
Pumpkin Spice jalapeños are still not widely available. However, seeds are easily purchasable online, including from their origin, NMSU's Chile Pepper Institute.