Handle With Care (Safety Precautions When Prepping and Cooking Peppers)
Working with super hot chili peppers can lead to pain untold if it isn’t done correctly. With some pepper varieties reaching over 2 million on the Scoville Scale, it’s vital to take protective measures to ensure that the heat isn’t transferred to your skin while preparing and cooking them.
Peppers That are Highest on the Scoville Scale
The Scoville Scale is the brilliant invention that gives you an accurate assessment of the heat of a specific variety of hot pepper so you don’t have to find out on your own. This will give you an idea of what you’re dealing with before you begin. It’s bad enough to get the juice from a jalapeno pepper on your bare hands. While the pain is quite intense and you can depend on a half hour of complete misery if you do, it’s really minimal when you compare the 5,000 Scoville units of heat of this pepper with the range of 1.5 to 2.2 million with the Carolina Reaper for example.
Here is a quick guide on heat levels for some of the most prolific hotties.
- Caribbean Red Habanero- up to 475,000
- Red Savina -up to 580,000
- King Nag -: up to 800,000
- Bhut Jolokia (or Ghost Pepper) – 1,000,000+
- New Mexico Scorpion – 1,191,595
- Naga Viper – 1,382,118 SHU
- Trinidad Scorpion Butch T: 1,463,700
- Trinidad Moruga Scorpion – 2,009,231
- Pepper Spray – Up to 5,300,000
It’s no wonder that a shot of pepper spray will disable an attacker. Consider these peppers as being a delicacy with unrivaled flavor, yet treasures which are to be handled very carefully. They can even cause a little coughing as you prepare them fully gloved during the preparation process so it’s a good idea to prepare them in a ventilated area.
Protect yourself from the heat
Super hot chili peppers contain a chemical called capsaicin. It is an oil that adheres to the skin and causes intense burning sensations. If the compound gets on your skin it will burn intensely for roughly thirty minutes so the best practice is to avoid getting it on your skin or in your eyes. It is highly recommended that you wear rubber gloves when working with super hot chili peppers and avoid touching the eyes or any other sensitive area of the body.
Important items to have on hand when working with super hots
Dairy products seem to work the best for counteracting the burning effects of capsaicin. It’s a good idea to keep some on hand when you’re prepping them and as you eat the foods made with them. Some preppers who have had a bad experience will use sour cream on the affected areas of the hands. If you get too much in a dish that you’re eating, drinking milk will help to a degree. The key is to try your best to avoid over spicing your foods. Start by adding smaller amounts of the pepper and work your way upward.
Toning down the heat
If you’re just starting out with spicy foods, it’s best to build your tolerance. This is a process and takes time so be patient. If you choose to remove the seeds from the pepper, be warned that the hottest parts lie in the white membranes. There is no reason to fear the heat but it definitely must be respected.