Culinary Catastrophes = Science!

Jalapeno peppers are spicy in your mouth, right? Awesome! They are also spicy on your hands. I was excited to use some of the peppers from our home grown plant, so I picked one and made a quesadilla the other night.

Please note that I am not really good with spicy stuff. I enjoy “mild” salsa. I always get a “1″ when ordering Indian/Chinese food. I use the wimpy Taco Bell hot sauce. These are instances where other people do the preparation of said spicy material… They know what they are doing. Me, not so much. Me handling a jalapeno was apparently akin to a baby gnawing on an atom bomb — I didn’t know what kind of fire power I was messing with.

I sliced a pepper and popped those slices into my cheesy creation, vein and seeds and all. After some research after the fact, these are the most potent parts of the plant. Most recipes call for the pepper to be de-seeded and de-veined before using. In the end, I ended up picking them off and eating a ration of 1 part quesadilla, 1 part sour cream in order to get it into my belly.

The kicker? The oil from the pepper, called “capsacin oil”, got all over my hands, my face, my ears… it burned everywhere, and kept burning for almost 48 hours. It wasn’t excruciating — as some similar reports I found online called it — but it was enough to wake me up several times during the night. The worst part was my thumbs, of all places. That was the last place to calm down, I’m assuming because some of the oil was stuck under my nails (though I washed and washed).

Lesson learned. Josh and I made salsa the other night, and I very delicately de-seeded and deveined one of the little jerks, handling the pepper with a plastic bag over one hand. This delicate surgery resulted in exactly 0% burning flesh and tasty dish for nachos. Success!

Fear the pepper!

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