20 February 2006

Stew Safety

As I'm making chicken stew tonight, I figured I'd pass along an important safety tip that I keep meaning to mention. If you don't put hot peppers in anything, feel free to ignore it. If you don't wear contacts, you're probably safe in ignoring it.

But if you wear contacts and like hot peppers: (1) wear gloves while chopping the hot peppers; (2) take your contacts out BEFORE you chop the hot peppers (especially if you DON'T wear gloves).

My first experience with this rule involved habañero peppers. I had my contacts in. I rubbed my cheek with a finger. This was close enough to get either habañero vapor or juice in my eye. It was unpleasant. I remember rushing to the nearest open water faucet and sticking my eye under it, saying "It burns!" (and actually, it burned so much that it was beyond pain, and not in a good way) It didn't stop burning until I got my contact out of my eye, and, btw, that contact was ruined. So that was my lesson in not wearing contacts while chopping hot peppers.

And that was mostly enough, so long as the peppers I was chopping were mild. However, no matter how well I wash my hands, a bit of the hotness remains on my fingers. It takes 2-3 days to go away completely, and unless the peppers are very mild, this makes putting contacts in rather difficult. So I keep a pair of kitchen gloves around that only get used for chopping hot peppers. Oh, and bell peppers don't count. They are entirely flavorful and without hotness.


John said...

I don't wear contacts, but this is a lesson I have learned well.

IAMB said...

Habaneros = evil.

My little brother and I minced a bunch and allowed them to sit in a jar full of tequila for two years (they went into the drink on 9/11/2001, just before the planes hit). On 9/11/03 we opened the jar, strained out the solids and saved the liquid, naming it "911 Hot Sauce" in honor or the victims.

Since tequila has a bit of spiciness to it in the first place it was an ideal mating.

A couple of drops in anything is enough to burn, as my grandma would say, "going both directions".

Yee Haw