Have you ever done something stupid as an adult? Something that you knew better not to do, but got caught up in the moment and had a complete newbie moment (I refuse to say ‘senior moment’)? Well, I hope you have, so that I don’t feel like the only idiot gardener of the 2017 growing season!
This summer we grew some, shall we say ‘warm’ peppers. We grew habanero, serrano, jalapeno and chili peppers. I enjoy hot peppers, just not too hot. However, my husband likes them really hot! So we compromised this summer by planting lower heat habanero and serrano pepper plants (if, that is, you consider 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville heat a compromise, ha!). The peppers were prolific this season and tasted fantastic!
Except, in my haste to jump right in and prepare some of our first peppers of the season for grilling, I forgot a crucial lesson. A lesson that I had already learned in the past about peppers – they can burn the tar out of your hands just as easily as your mouth! I was just too excited as I was thinking, ‘these peppers are not nearly as hot as the Ghost Pepper, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion and Carolina Reapers that we grew the season prior – this year I am going to be able to really enjoy (actually eat) these peppers!’
The Rewards of the Moment
Yeah, well, after all the peppers were cleaned, sliced, stuffed and about to be eaten my hands started burning in the worst way. In my anticipated enjoyment of eating the beautiful peppers I forgot to wear gloves while preparing them for our meal. I have tough hands from working in the garden and washing dishes in scalding hot water. But, the hot pepper oils were embedded in my skin deep and not coming out any time soon.
I washed, washed, washed and tried to ignore the burning while trying to enjoy dinner. I used milk, yogurt, cleaning supplies – you name it, nothing helped, it just got worse. In my agony, I kept wondering how long was this burning sensation going to last? Seriously, how long? The peppers weren’t even Ghost Pepper hot! When did I turn into a wimp?
The ‘I Got This’ Moment
Alas, I stopped wondering and trying to ‘mow through’ and remembered there is an old-faithful encyclopedia for situations just like this – the Internet! Yes, the Internet will help me! It did not let me down either. Did a quick research of what was causing the burning and why. The hot pepper oils would not wash away with water soluble solutions. Why? Just like you can’t put out a grease fire with water…it will just carry the fire away as water and oil don’t mix. The hot pepper oils were just that, oils and it was a chemical reaction. Remember chemistry class? (Yeah, me either and I even took a bunch in college.)
Anyways, let’s get to the point (and not go through another chemistry lesson that we prefer to forget again). I needed to use an oil-based product to lift the hot pepper oils from the skin. Coconut oil came up as one of the best solutions for this situation I found myself embroiled in. And boy, did I ever have coconut oil on hand! Yep, when we all read a few years ago that coconut oil was going to solve all of our health problems I stocked up on the glorious stuff. (It really does pack a punch with loads of healthy benefits, you just have to do them – and that’s my problem, finding the time to implement all these amazing solutions into my daily routine. But, I digress.)
I grabbed a huge handful of the coconut oil and started rubbing away, washed with Dawn, rinsed with water and then repeated per directions. It worked like a charm! No more burning, it was gone – just like that (envision me snapping my no longer burning fingers)!
Don’t Have a ‘Moment’ Like Mine
Try not to have a moment like mine. Try to control yourself while preparing your hard-earned pepper harvest. For the love of peace, put some gloves on prior to dicing up that beautifully, hot pepper! But, if in your haste (or you think you’re tough and this lady must be on the fragile side) and you find yourself with hot-pepper-oil-burned hands, then just grab a handful of coconut oil and soothe yourself back into blissful serenity!
Until next time – keep on Planting your world happy!