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How to Cook with Hot Peppers Without Getting Burned

Avoiding "Jalapeno Hands"


When we eat hot and spicy food made by hot peppers, the burn we are tasting is from capsaicin, a compound in the hot peppers responsible for the heat. <br><br>While the heat is enjoyable in food, it's not so pleasant on the hands after chopping the peppers, or the eyes, nostrils, or anywhere else for that matter.

Lessons I Have Learned from Chopping Hot Peppers

  1. Always wear gloves. Not just latex surgical gloves, because the capsaicin actually seeps through, but rubber gloves. Yes, the yellow ones you use when washing dishes. Please, use a new pair though.
  2. There is very little you can do to relieve the burn if you chop hot peppers without gloves. Rubbing alcohol works to an extent on the skin, but the burn can last for days!
  3. If you chop hot peppers without gloves, wear gloves afterward, especially touching babies and children. I have heard of people transferring the oil from the capsaicin from their skin to another person's through a simple handshake or hug.
  4. Do not touch your eyes or nose while cutting with or without gloves. There is nothing more unpleasant than being temporary blinded by a burning eye or nostril. People commonly touch their eyes and nose while cutting peppers because of the irritation of the smell.
  5. If you have cut hot peppers without gloves, do not insert contact lenses for a while. Learn from my mistake, please. This caused me a trip to the emergency room.
  6. If the pain is severe, please go to the ER. While there isn't much they can do, pain medication can be a blessing when you feel like your hands are on fire.
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