NuMex Twilight Guide: Heat, Flavor, Uses

What are NuMex Twilight peppers?

The Numex Twilight may be tiny in size, but it packs a surprising amount of heat (30,000 to 50,000 Scoville heat units.) But that’s not what makes these chilies so very special. It’s how they mature – like a rainbow of fire, aging from purple to yellow, then orange, and finally red. It’s a stunning ornamental pepper that works just as well for hedges as it does container gardening.

numex twilight

NuMex Twilight fast facts

  • Scoville heat units (SHU): 30,0000 – 50,000 SHU
  • Median heat: 40,000 SHU
  • Origin: United States
  • Capsicum species: Annuum
  • Jalapeño reference scale: 4 to 20 times hotter
  • Use: Ornamental
  • Size: Approximately 1 inch long, bulb-like
  • Flavor: Salty, Bitter, Bright

Just how hot are NuMex Twilight peppers?

Their small colorful package may make these chilies appear like they should be mild, but they’re far from it. At 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville heat units, NuMex Twilight peppers fall at the same level as cayenne and tabasco peppers on the Scoville scale. That’s four to twenty times hotter than our jalapeño reference point, so these are chilies that pack deceiving punch.

What do these chilies look like?

Their size is more like a pequin pepper or chiltepin, typically coming in around an inch in length, but with a pointed end. The chilies stand upright, and the plant itself tends to fill out well with green leaves. The chilies start purple in color – very unique in the hot pepper world – and they then age across four different colors: yellow to orange to red. They can stay on the vine mature for weeks, so as new chilies grow in, the color scheme of the plant takes on all of these shades at once. It’s no wonder these are so popular as landscaping ornamentals; it’s quite beautiful to see.

Why are they called NuMex?

The NuMex moniker signifies that this is a chili hybrid created at New Mexico State University (all of their designed hybrid chilies are labeled “NuMex”). The NuMex Twilight is a hybrid of the Thai ornamental pepper. The Thai ornamental is much hotter (50,000 to 100,000 SHU), but it doesn’t start off with that same beautiful purple hue.

What do NuMex Twilight taste like?

On the first bite, the flavor is surprisingly salty, then it tends towards a bitter-bright flavor. It’s not the most flavorful pepper around, but the heat and the colors make up for it. If you’re looking to liven up salsa or salad, NuMex Twilight brings both the spiciness and its colorful shock value to the table. These chilies also dry decently well, and they are eye-catching when pickled in jars. Overall, NuMex Twilight’s moderate flavor makes these chilies versatile in the kitchen. Try them where you’d tend to use a jalapeño.

Where can you find NuMex Twilight chilies?

NuMex Twilight seeds are available online (Amazon) and potentially at your local gardening or landscaping center. Pick some up for your landscaped hedges or container garden – the plants work well for both. Finding the chilies fresh or dried at your local store is very unlikely, so if you want to taste these hybrids, grow them yourself or get to know a local gardener who plants them. We vote for the former – these are some very special chilies to look at. They really add a pop of color to everything they touch.

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on October 5, 2021 to include new content.
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