Friday, February 22, 2008

Hot Peppers

Is there no limit to our taste and tolerance for hot seasonings. The Wall Street Journal recently had an article on the hottest chili in the world, about five times as hot as habaneras, a form of scotch bonnets which are at about as hot as I can take at 250,000 to 350,00 Scoville heat units even if they are good as reputed for prostate cancer. I don't have one and I don't think that the men in my life--happily not needing a cure--could be convinced to eat the request quantity. If you want go on line and look.

Obviously, while not alone in my intolerance to intense heat--burning pain--there are according to the article those who even plan trips around finding these Asian exotics.

It reminds of a childhood joke: why are you hitting your head against the wall; because it feels so good when I stop. According to the experts the searing heat does activate the body's defenses against pain.

In general, I prefer a milder pepper seeded and de-ribbed to remove excess heat. I can always add more. This especially important as hot peppers will vary in energy depending on the time of year and where they are grown.

When working with hot peppers it is a good idea to wear rubber gloves. I suggest the thin surgical ones that can be bought by the box and discarded after use. They are thin enough that I can feel what I am doing and not feel clumsy. Be careful not to touch your face with the gloves even if the peppers make you nose feel itchy. You can burn yourself.

When I have grown these peppers in Vermont which is hardly their native habit of Jamaica, they have the nasty attribut of commiting miscengenation with other peppers turning them hot. Beware.

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