A Cautionary Tale

I always thought the advice to wear rubber gloves when cooking with jalapeno peppers was for wimps. I mean, really — how bad could a pepper seed be? The truth of the matter is I have never made anything requiring a jalapeno in its natural state until tonight.

Lately I am challenging myself to try new things out of healthy cookbooks, rainbow swiss chard, and carmelized red onions with balsamic vinegar, well — you get the drift. Tonight I made smoky shrimp corn soup and spicy chick pea lettuce wraps.

The spice in the lettuce wraps comes from a jalapeno. I sliced it and using the edge of the knife scraped out the seeds. I minced half of the pepper and tasted it. I didn’t even bother to cut up the second half, there was quite enough heat as it was.

After dinner I turned on the dishwasher and noticed my hands were tingly as if they were asleep. I shook them, and waved my hands in the air. But it didn’t help. My hands felt as if they were simmering, hot and spiking pain. I stood there expecting to see my hands burst into flames.

AHA. This is it, I thought. This is the reason you wear gloves.

When I googled how to get rid of pain from jalapeno peppers, there are a lot of suggestions. Baking soda, rubbing alcohol and milk being the most frequently touted  cures.  I tried rubbing alcohol since it was handy. Mine was a mild case and it worked pretty quickly, others aren’t so lucky.

I read about a man who roasted, peeled and de-seeded a 5 pound bag of jalapeno peppers without gloves. He was in excruciating pain for 18 hours; he went to the emergency room and after trying different things, they gave him some really strong pain killers and sent him home to wait it out.

I bet he never did that again.

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