Ah, fall. The perfect time for seasonal pastimes like ghosts, maple syrup, and putting indiscriminate amounts of limited edition foods into your mouth. One new product, it seems, has boldly combined all three, with Trader Joe's Vermont Ghosted Maple Syrup, a maple syrup that appears to have straight up ghost pepper extract in it. Spotted by Instagram user @kvieple111 from a Trader Joe's near West Hollywood, this spicy take on a sweet fave is apparently not here to play.
Ghost peppers — the now colloquial name for bhut jolokia — earned a spot as the world's hottest chile pepper by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2007, and its notoriety since has been well-earned. The capsaicin in them is stored differently than more typical chiles, thanks to their thin skin, which is why they truly come for your taste buds when you eat them. Most people need it balanced with something else to consume it. While there are plenty of options for attempting to safely consume ghost peppers — Wendy's Ghost Pepper Fries from 2016 among the few challengers up to the task — this Trader Joe's take is the first maple syrup to make the rounds on the internet.
The availability of this product isn't super clear — to be honest, I went to a Trader Joe's this morning to look for it, and came up short — but according to @kvieple111, it does pack a powerful punch; a comment on the Instagram post referred to it as "super HOT". It's also unclear whether this is a seasonal product or a permanent mainstay, and whether or not it will be limited to certain markets. (Bustle has reached out to Trader Joe's, and will update if a response is given.) It may be best, then, to stock up on some for safety's sake, if you happen to encounter it in the wild.
That being said, it shouldn't be too hard to recreate this yourself. You can buy ghost pepper extract online and add it to maple syrup at your leisure. Heck, that might even be a little safer, if you, like me, are a big baby about the level of spice in your food.
But if you should spot the TJ's version, you're in luck — all of the pumpkin spice products for 2018 also just dropped, along with a ton of options that would pair perfectly with this Ghosted Maple Syrup. Namely, the pumpkin waffle and pancake mixes.
And gluten-free humans, rejoice! You have not been forgotten in this year's pumpkin spice madness.
If you're feeling especially frisky, you might want to try adding this syrup to Trader Joe's Pumpkin Yogurt or even the Pecan Pumpkin Oatmeal — but again, sample at your own risk. We've all seen enough people crying their eyes out during ghost pepper challenges on YouTube to know that over-spicing yourself is not a good look.
In the meantime, here's to what is shaping up to be a delicious fall at Trader Joe's — ghosts, pumpkins, and all.