Thursday, May 17, 2012

How to get rid of Jalapeno Burns on Hands

In making Southwest Eggrolls this Saturday for Mother's Day, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. As I do with most cooking projects, I began by washing all of my veggies and chopping them all. I finely diced my red bellpepper, then I de-seeded and diced my jalapeno pepper and then I quickly chopped my green onions. I got lazy when it came to the fresh parsley and threw it in the food processor for a quick chop.

I threw the red peppers and green onions in my pot with a bit of vegetable oil and began to stir them. Once they were hot enough I added my precooked chicken to the pot followed by the jalapeno peppers, parsley, and all of my spices.

As I was stirring the mixture, I realized my hands were getting extremely hot over the hot pan, so I rinsed them off with some soap in some cool water. The pain stopped, only to return about 15 seconds after I removed them from the cold water. I began taking more frequent trips to rinse my hands, trying to remember if I had burned them on something.

It was time to take the eggrolls of the heat and add the cheese and begin filling them into the eggroll wrappers. As I was spooning the hot filling into the eggroll wrappers and rolling them up, my hands were ON FIRE. I had to stop between rolling each eggroll to find relief in the cold water of the kitchen sink. Finally my boyfriend had to take over the rolling of the eggrolls as it was too much pain to bear. I grabbed my go-to frozen green beans out of the freezer and clutched them for dear life between my hands to stop the burning. 

After about 20 minutes of the pain, I had my boyfriend Google "hands burning after cutting jalapenos." Only to yield about 34,800 results. Apparently this is a common thing. 

Thousands upon thousands of posts and people in the same pain as me. I tried EVERY remedy I could find.

***I have starred the ones that I found to be most helpful.

Rubbing alcohol: Absolutely no relief whatsoever.

Vinegar and olive oil mix: This just smelled bad and provided no relief.
***Sour cream: This was like heaven. I put some sour cream in a bowl and just soaked my hands in it. It was so cool and calming and felt as though it was pulling the burn out of my hands. Only problem was, as soon as the sour cream started to come to room temperature, the throbbing pain would come back.

Milk: In between sour cream batches, I would rinse my hands in milk. The fridge cold milk was so soothing but only temporary.

Cold water: This was my go-to at the beginning, but after soaking in the ice cold sour cream, this provided absolutely no relief. I stuck my hands under the faucet to rinse off the sour cream at one point only to endure SEARING pain to my hands. I jumped back at the burn from the hot water. I stuck my elbow out to test the water. Ice cold. My hands were now so cold from all the remedies that cold water wasn't cold enough.

Ice water- At points I would put ice cubes in a bowl with some cold water to soak my hands when the sour cream wasn't cold enough. I would soak them for a few seconds and then remove them, only to have to soak them again when the pain came back 5-10 seconds later.

Hot water: people online raved about this, claiming that the hot water would remove the pain. Apparently it would open up your pores so the jalapeno juice could come out and the pain would be gone. right? WRONG. do not try this. My hands were already burning and then to put them in hot water felt like I was sticking my hands in fire and leaving them there. HORRENDOUS PAIN. I do not recommend this.

Vinegar and baking soda rub: no relief. just smelled bad.

Olive oil: just felt greasy and was room temp. so it was not cold enough to sooth my hands.

Lime juice: did absolutely nothing

Lime juice and water: not cold enough, felt like nothing

Lotion: My hands were raw at this point and rubbing in the lotion just felt uncomfortable.

***Olive oil and sugar scrub: I saw this somewhere around hour 3 of the pain and it seemed like it had potential. The explanation behind it was that sugar could remove the capacin from your skin. The heat in peppers is quantified by the amount of sugar needed to neutralize the heat. I figured I'd give it a try. This felt like rubbing sand paper on a burn, but was oddly soothing. I could literally feel the heat leaving my hands. I tried this at about 3-4 hours in so I don't know if it was already getting better from time passing, but for me this really helped REMOVE the heat and for an extended period of time. I did this scrub about 4 or 5 times and each time would give me longer periods of relief.

***Bag of frozen green beans: I used a bag of frozen green beans to rest my hands on for the last 1-2 hours of pain. My hands were raw and sore and this helped. (Ice pack would work just as well)

In the end, I would recommend the olive oil and sugar scrub to remove the capacin from your hands, and I would recommend the cold sour cream for soothing your hands, and an ice pack or bag of frozen veggies for relief. These proved to be the most helpful to me. However I'm pretty sure time is the only true cure to this. Mine lasted almost exactly 6 hours until I felt complete relief.

Next time I am using gloves and chopping my jalapenos in the food processor!


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