We Get Letters v. 26: How to temper Habeneros

This came in from my ex-coworker Mike, now living it up in St. Louis:

Hey Kate,

Here’s a question for you. We’re getting a bumper crop of Habaneros so I’ve been trying various sauce and canning recipes: Peach/raisin, Mango/ginger and Habanero oil.

In the past three days, I’ve sliced and dice about 30 habbies, washed my hands 10 times and still have a deep warming sensation in my finger tips.

Do you know a good way of neutralizing hot pepper juices?


The best way to deal with the sting of capsaicin is by using the protein casein, commonly found in various dairy products. Or to put it another way, if you cut habeneros, washing your hands in milk or yogurt (non-flavored, please) should do the trick.

If your skeptical about the bacteria count within said dairy products, wash your hands in a solution of 1quart water mixed with 1 tablespoon of bleach.

If you get capsaicin in your eyes, rinse with a saline solution, or plain water.

And send me some of that Mango/Ginger sauce, will ya?

UPDATE: Or, as Tom has noted in the comments – Wear latex gloves. Although it should be noted that many folks don’t have such items laying around their homes.

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