Jalapeno peppers official state symbol of Texas. Photo by erik forsberg / Flickr (noncommercial use permitted with attribution).
Official State Pepper of Texas
Texas designated the jalapeño as the official state pepper in 1995. Texas ranked first in the production of jalapeño peppers nationwide in 2000. All State Foods
The US demand for jalapeños rises every year due to the popularity of Mexican and Tex Mex foods. On a hot pepper "heat index", the jalapeño is considered mild. The chiltepin pepper is on the other end of the heat index (Texas adopted chiltepin as the state native pepper in 1997).
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
WHEREAS, The State of Texas has traditionally recognized a variety of official state symbols that embody the proud spirit and rich heritage of our state; and
WHEREAS, In keeping with this custom, the designation of the jalapeno as the official State Pepper of Texas will provide suitable recognition for this delicious and indispensable staple of Texas cuisine; and
WHEREAS, Capsicums, more commonly called peppers, provided nourishment for Native Americans in central Mexico as early as 9,000 years ago and, following the voyage of Columbus to the Americas, became a popular addition to the diets of people throughout the world; and
WHEREAS, The most popular variety of capsicum, the jalapeno, is considered by many Lone Star citizens to be an essential ingredient in chili, our official State Dish; found in salsa and queso, the ubiquitous jalapeno is used by Texans to add zest to even the most common American dishes, and many brave souls have been known to consume the fiery foodstuff in its raw and pickled states; and
WHEREAS, In addition to pleasing Texas palates, jalapenos are an important agricultural crop in the Lone Star State, which leads the nation in jalapeno production and consumption; these savory peppers are also a hot commodity in the national marketplace, with demand growing at an estimated 15 to 20 percent each year; and
WHEREAS, Jalapenos get their distinctive sting from capsaicin, a chemical used to treat arthritis, shingles, sore muscles, and nerve disorders and believed by many researchers to be effective in the fight against cancer and heart disease; the remarkable health benefits of these small but potent peppers are compounded by the fact that they contain as much vitamin A as carrots and more than twice the vitamin C of oranges and lemons; and
WHEREAS, A culinary, economic, and medical blessing to the citizens of the Lone Star State, the jalapeno is widely recognized as an emblem of our state and is a distinctive reminder of our state's unique heritage and diverse culture; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the 74th Legislature of the State of Texas hereby designate the jalapeno as the official State Pepper of Texas.