Pain and Deliciousness that is the Chili Pepper

Stuffed Chili Peppers
I had gone to the store earlier this week to pick up a few essentials, and came across some chili peppers that were labeled as "Yellow Hot Peppers" and grabbed 3 of them, just thinking I was sure I could find something to use them for. They weren't jalapeno or habanero peppers, so I naturally thought they couldn't be THAT spicy but probably a bit more than say a banana pepper (though that's what this pepper looked like, only bigger).

I decided I wanted to stuff these lovely peppers for myself and the hubby for lunch, so I proceeded to thaw a steak and slice it into thin strips, putting it in a bowl with garlic salt, paprika, and chili powder, making sure to mix/rub it all over the meat. Meanwhile I got some oil heated up in a pan with some minced garlic, adding in the meat as soon as the garlic started to soften. Thinking some black beans would be great to add, I drained and rinsed a can, adding it to the pan after the meat started to brown a little. As this was cooking I shredded some cheese and set it to the side to put on top of the peppers after stuffing them.
At this point I felt I could get my chili peppers ready to stuff. Cutting down the length of the pepper and at the top just enough to be able to pull the sides away so as to get to the ribbing (white stuff on the inside of the pepper that holds the seeds) and the seeds out, because these are supposed to be where the heat is in the pepper.

Stuffed Chili PeppersNow mind you, I've cut many a pepper, but have never needed to wear gloves. Yes, I've gotten that burning sensation you can get from hot spices, but never too bad for me to worry about it. This time however was different. Very different. I had noticed that my fingers had that same slight burning to them that they get when handling spicy foods. I just thought that was all that was going to happen. I was wrong. Very wrong.
I got the peppers stuffed, cheesed and put them in the oven at 350F. I was headed back to my computer to let them cook for about 15 - 20 minutes, when I realized my fingers (thumb, index finger, and middle finger all on both hands) were still burning after I had washed them pretty well with dish soap. Thinking maybe I had just gotten them covered in the hot portion of the chili peppers or maybe it was from the spices I had put on the meat and it would subside, I decided to continue putting my attention back to the computer.

After typing a few words, the burning got a lot worse. So what does one do when they have burning fingers? Put their fingers in cool water. This helped for all of 5 minutes (at which time it just continued to burn/got worse from the water), so I tried white vinegar which didn't work at all (I still swear it just got worse). I decided to ask the hubby to see if he could find something online that might be able to help with chili pepper burns.

He found a few sites that had some ideas such as cool water, wash with soap, dilute bleach in water and soak hands (tried all but the bleach idea). Then he saw one that said that because chili pepper burns were from the oil in the pepper to use rubbing alcohol (cuts the oil) to wipe down the affected area then soak fingers in milk. This sorta worked... until the milk heated up from my hands being in there. I kept going back and forth with this for about 45 minutes, yet the burning didn't stop.

A friend of ours that we talk to online luckily came on (she's an EMT), and told the hubby that I needed to run luke warm (cold water can make you blister instead) water over my fingers for about 15 minutes then wash hands with dish soap really well. I tried this, but 15 minutes wasn't enough. I wound up with my hands under the water for about an hour (at least) and the luke warm water just didn't seem to cool the burn. Finally the hubby did his daily call to his mother. She said she had the same thing happen to her before, and had tried all the same type of remedies, and had dealt with it for 12 hours before she decided to try honey, which worked though she had to leave it on for a good amount of time.

Stuffed Chili PeppersI was eager to try anything so out came the honey bottle. The hubby proceeded to squeeze the sticky liquid over my finger. It actually was helping! It still burned but it did cool it slightly. I decided to run water over my fingers until they started to feel like the heat was cooking the honey. I then put some more on my fingers and I realized that my fingers were a lot better. It had finally started to subside after about 15 minutes of the honey on my fingers. Needless to say I learned my lesson, unless it's a bell pepper, I will be using gloves while playing with my peppers! ( I also was told , by a nice woman who saw my message on Foodbuzz about the burning fingers, that mayonnaise is supposed to work also.)

As to the stuffed chili peppers, they tasted awesome! They had a smokey heat to them, and a great flavor. Was it worth the pain? Not really, but at least I learned something very important that was a lesson worth the pain: When playing with fire (chili peppers) wear protection (gloves)!


geniuswaitress said...

Your story was told so well I felt like MY hands were burning. What an ordeal! At least the peppers turned out well.

Kelly at Crock Tease

GarlicBOSS said...

I know this is hot and great photos......thanks

Marcella said...

I know that eating anything starchy like bread will take the burning away from your mouth. I used non-latex gloves now when handling any sort of chili. I've also heard putting another sort of oil, such as olive oil helps a lot to break down the chili oil and dilute it. It's a very painful experience.

Rochelle said...

Thank you Marcella! I've actually never had too much problems with tasting spicy food (and when I do I drink milk, it's worked best for me). As for oil, I actually thought about that, but didn't want to take my fingers out from under the water long enough to do it. See the hubby put the honey on my fingers, only took a couple seconds :)

GarlicBoss - Thank you and your welcome :)

Geniuswaitress - I'm glad that I wrote it out so well :D! I just wanted to let other people, who were like me, that didn't realize the actual pain is worse than you think it's going to be till it happens! Just don't want other people to make the same mistake if they don't have to. I should have known better but never realized it was going to be that bad.

Anonymous said...

the peppers look absolutely gorgeous! So juicy!

Claire said...

Those peppers look SO delicious. Mmmmmmm.. At least you didn't touch your eyes!

m said...

...I just hope you don't wear contacts. I've managed to wash my hands well enough to not notice spice on them any longer until it is time to stick them in my eyes at the end of the day. ouch!

Rochelle said...

amritac - Thank you! They were delicious :)

Clair and m - I don't wear contacts luckily (besides my glasses make me look all "smartsy" i think :) ), but I also made sure not to touch anywhere close to my eyes till the next day and and 20 - 30 hand washes later!

Ping said...

Wow, I know that pain!
The burning sensation is exactly as how you feel on your tongue, except on your fingers, doesn't it?

When I got it last time, I used to put my fingers on any cold surface I could get my fingers on. Car windows, stainless steel materials, my cheeks.. etc.

I couldn't find a remedy then either!
But sometime after it subsided, a friend of mine told me that a good remedy is a scrub made of oil and salt.
Since capsaicin that causes the sensation is actually oil, it repels water. The salt will work as an abrasive.

Haha. Hope that helps the next time it happens.
Oh dear.

But those stuffed peppers look hella delicious, mm!