Tips for Safely Handling Hot Peppers

Tips for Safely Handling Hot Peppers

I love Mexican food, and many of the Mexican dishes I prepare require hot peppers. I’ve grown hot peppers in my garden, and I’ve prepared them for my favorite casseroles and cream cheese appetizers, but not without taking the necessary precautions to handle them safely. My ex husband helped prepare hot peppers when we had a bumper crop, and he found out firsthand why it’s important to use caution to safely handle and prepare hot peppers.

The following information will help you learn to safely handle and prepare hot peppers and remove some of the fire. Peppers might look harmless, but they can do more damage than you might think!

Protecting Your Hands

I keep a box of sterile rubber gloves without powder, just for the purpose of handling and preparing hot veggies. It’s important to protect your hands before you handle spicy foods, not just to protect your hands, but also to protect your eyes and other sensitive areas of the body. Even after thoroughly washing my hands I’ve had remnants of hot peppers get into my eyes from beneath my nails, and it’s an extremely painful experience. In addition, the gloves allow you to safely handle and prepare hot peppers when skin is broken. I’ve had small cuts on my fingers, and hot peppers in an open wound would be excruciatingly painful.To remove the rubber gloves after handling and preparing hot peppers, simply turn the gloves inside out and dispose of them in a trash receptacle, but only remove them after cleaning up. It’s also important to wash hands even after wearing gloves. It’s real easy to forget and touch the countertop, cutting board, or kitchen knives and end up with hot pepper juice on the skin or in the eyes.

Protecting Your Eyes

As previously mentioned, it’s important to protect the eyes when handling and preparing spicy raw vegetables. I wear clear safety glasses when handling and working with hot peppers. I started wearing eye protection after pepper juice ended up in my eye. Before I could stop the burning pain, I had to take the time to wash my hands thoroughly, and I had to wash out my eye with clear water for several minutes. It might look a little ridiculous, but I’d rather take precautions and protect my eyes than risk getting hot juice in my eyes ever again.

The Importance of Hand Washing After Preparation

My ex husband was careful about hand washing before handling or preparing food, but he didn’t consider the importance of hand washing after handling hot peppers – until he used the bathroom and found out how hot those peppers really were. He washed his hands after coming out of the bathroom, but the burning he experienced in an unmentionable area reminded him to wash his hands before using the bathroom in the future. It’s funny now, but at the time it wasn’t a laughing matter. I could not imagine how he would react if the water was out and a plumbing service was needed at that moment?!

Putting Out the Fire

Safely handling and preparing hot peppers is important, but it’s also important to know how to put out the fire. If you’ve eaten hot peppers and your mouth feels like it’s on fire, don’t go for the water. It won’t do a thing to lessen the burning pain. Instead, have a glass of milk or another dairy product such as a spoonful or two of sour cream. It should safely put out the fire and end the pain.

As previously mentioned, I love hot peppers, but I don’t love peppers that are too hot to taste. I always remove the seeds and the white membrane inside the peppers. I also boil away the spice that causes the unbearable heat. The boiled peppers retain their delicious flavor, but they lose a lot of the fire that many people can’t tolerate.

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