case closed

Habanero peppers preserved in oil

Loving Husband is a chilli fiend. He delights in spice levels that leave my eyes watering and mouth numb. Finding unusual chilli peppers is like Christmas Day come early for him!

The Scoville Scale and Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) were named for scientist Wilbur Scoville in 1912. (H)e developed a test called the “Scoville Organoleptic Test” which is used to measure a chili pepper’s pungency and heat.

The Scoville Scale can be used to not only measure chili peppers, but anything that is made from chili peppers, such as hot sauce. What is really being measured is the concentration of “capsaicin“, the active ingredient that produces that sensation of heat on our tongues.

Chilli Pepper Madness

In case you think I am a chilli wuss, I do like spice in my food. One of my favourite ways to deliver heat is Tobasco hot sauce, which rates 3,750 SHU(Scoville Heat Units). In comparison, Loving Husband often has Birds Eye Chillis straight up with his food; rating 100,000 – 250,000 SHU. Okay, so maybe next to him, I am a little bit of a softy.

A week or so ago, he found this beautiful tray of habaneros, which are 100,000 – 350,000 SHU.

Just a little spicier than Bird’s Eye Chilli, I thought, I’ll just put some in his breakfast scramble. Instead of gingerly handling them like I would the Bird’s Eye, I was so distracted by the unusual shapes and colours, I cut them up like I would bell peppers (zero SHU).

Big mistake! My hands began to smart almost immediately. By the time breakfast was cooked, they were burning. I washed and washed, and still, no relief. Only when I coated my hands with creme fraiche did the agony subside. And even after that, there was still uncomfortable tingling for hours after.

I dunked the remainder of the pretties into a jar of olive oil and closed the lid on these Habaneros until the memory fades enough for me to handle them again. It’s been a couple of weeks; they are still sitting on the counter top.

How is your chilli tolerance? What do you do with your excess peppers?

This post is my contribution to One Word Sunday: Closed hosted by Debbie at TravelWithIntent.

38 Comments

  1. Glad the creme fraiche could help your hands, Ju-Lyn! Next time maybe wear thin surgical gloves? 😉 I do that with beet root or otherwise my hands would look like I’ve murdered someone – LOL!
    Sadly I have almost no heat tolerance as my stomach won’t allow it. Although I do love it, but every time I give into the craving and add chillies to my meals, I have to pay for it a couple of weeks later with an inflamed stomach lining. 😦 So I stay away from it – sigh!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Perhaps your stomach has a severe sensitivity to capsaicin – I’ve heard it affects some people very badly like it does you. Definitely not worth the trouble it causes!

      Ever since that episode, we have purchased food prep gloves – just like you, when I handle very strongly coloured foods, my nails are so disgusting after!

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  2. My husband has a high chilli tolerance but Vietnamese condiments can get very spicy. For me, I did not grow up with spicy food until college. For many years my go-to was tabasco. When I was in college, I discovered sriracha sauce. Overall it is pretty low, but I could eat a serrano pepper and once in a while habanero salsa.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Can’t tolerate chili much at all. I once made up a garden spray with chilis scoop ing out the seeds with my fingertips. I spent the night with my hands in iced water. Never again.

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  4. Hi, Ju-Lyn – I bow to the ‘chili expertise’ of you and your husband. I am a total and complete chili wuss. When restaurant servers ask what level of heat I would like meaning ‘mild, medium , hot or suicide’ I say ‘zero heat’. That frequently elicits the look of ‘what in the heck are you even doing here?’ 😀

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    1. You’ve illicited a big chuckle from me this morning – I can imagine the looks on your faces! I went through a phase not so long ago where I could hardly have any spice as well, as it didn’t agree with me. It’s only these past couple of years where I started craving more chilli heat in my food.

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  5. What a great story. I love the creme fraiche solution. It must be the dairy: my son poured a glass of milk for me when I overstepped my chili tolerance, and it worked like a charm. I’ll remember that tip for my next chili chopping adventure!

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    1. Dairy supposedly works like a charm – I was actually rooting about in the fridge for my yogurt (I figured thicker than milk, which would coat my hands better!) but found the creme fraiche first!

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    1. I hear you … bird’s eye, habaneros, all too much for me! Then again, I never ever thought I would learn to love the very peculiar mala spicy experience, and I love it now!

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  6. Even one we grow, on the same plant, can be variable. Some are really hot! I like a variety called Czech Black. The peppers then green, then black, and then turn red when ripe. They have purple flowers and greenish-black leaves.

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    1. Hear! hear! I, too, like being able to taste my food!
      For some strange reason, both Loving Husband & Older Child don’t suffer from extremely fierce chillis – they do sweat profusely & their noses run, but they don’t lose sensation in their mouths!

      Liked by 1 person

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