Addicted to the burning flesh of chili peppers?
If you answered yes, you’re not alone. If you answered no, you fall in the minority… but there’s hope for you yet.
Worried that your love for the intense pleasure and pain found within super-hot chili peppers is going to burn a hole in your stomach, giving you an intense ulcer?
That’s not how chili peppers work. If they had this power, you wouldn’t be able to handle them without gloves and you would have a damned difficult time swallowing them back after your tongue disintegrates from eating them.
Since gloves are only advisory and you have your tongue, presumably, you shouldn’t be worried about ulcers – at least not those caused by chili peppers.
But, for the sake of argument (the healthy kind; we’re not out to discuss politics or ruin your relationships here), let’s talk about the need to protect your hands from the burning flesh of chili peppers.
The most important thing to know about chili peppers is that they contain capsaicin. When this compound comes in contact with human tissues, it triggers pain receptors, specifically those that alert your brain to extreme heat and fire. Your brain believes you’re on fire and sends signals back to that area that you’re in pain and you should stop doing what you’re doing.
You’re not going to, of course, because chili peppers are incredible.
Capsaicin on your hands is different from capsaicin you ingest; the latter spreads through your system, overloading your brain and causing it to release endorphins and other feel-good hormones that help you deal with pain.
When you’ve only got a touch of capsaicin on your hands, your brain isn’t so generous. You don’t get the good high; you get a burning sensation wherever you touch yourself.
Again, this is a subject area we’re not wandering into. But, we will tell you not to be an ass about it; where the gloves and save the high.
Understanding Super-Hot Chili Peppers
Chili peppers aren’t equal. We’re not just talking about the level of heat either. Obviously, you’ll find more concentrated doses of capsaicin in hotter peppers… but you’ll also find it in different parts of the pepper.
It’s not in the seeds either; don’t let people tell you that.
Capsaicin in mild peppers like jalapeños can be found in the white, pithy bits of the fruit. In super hot peppers, like ghosts or reapers, it’s also in the flesh of the fruit.
If you don’t want to wear gloves when handling these peppers, you’re a damn fool. The higher concentration of capsaicin spread across more areas of the pepper means your hands (and whatever you touch) is going to hurt like hell. You’re not going to get the full release of feel-good juices and you’re not going to enjoy the flavor either.
And, yeah, we know it all sounds a little dirty. You can make whatever innuendos you want. All we’re saying is wrap it up; it’s the smart way to handle a lot of things.
Want the delightful burn of super-hot chili peppers without touching them directly?
The answer, of course, is found in super hot sauces and we have the best of them. No need for cutting or gloves.