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Capt'n Salsa's Fool Proof Chile Heat Index

Chile heat index? Scoville units, what? Capsaicin? My mouthand hands are on fire, ouch!

Well here I am making some delicious homemade salsa for theMonday Night Football game and my mouth and hands arekilling me. How can you stop the burning and get thissalsa recipe ready to go without hurting your guests.

Now, don't take Capt'n Salsa the wrong way, I love the heatof a good chile, but there is a big difference between hotand hurt. But oh boy, what a flavor. You know you're achile head when you use cheese and chopped habanero tostuff your jalapeno peppers.

Perhaps I can answer a few of your questions about how hotare those chiles and what can you do about it if you getjust a little carried away with the heat.

What's that? Your mouth and hands are burning? Okay, let'sstart with the hands…

First wet your hands with cold water, and then rub thembriskly together with a teaspoon or so of salt as if youare washing your hands. I prefer kosher salt due to itscourse texture, but grabbing the salt shaker will work aswell. Now, wash your hands again with soap and warm water.This also works well when working with garlic and onions.

You did wear your rubber gloves when you started workingwith the chiles, right?

Come on, Capt'n my mouth is really burning too!

"Your mouth is on fire?"

What ever you do, do not reach for the water; it will onlyspread the capsaicin oil around inside your mouth,spreading the oil of the chile and you will swear it justgo hotter.

So don't reach for the water, okay?

Here are a few remedies that have proven to work.

Milk or dairy products are cooling; grab a glass of milk ora scoop of your favorite ice cream. Did you ever wonderwhy you almost always see a dollop of sour cream or ahelping of "Creama Mexicana Sauce" on your enchiladas andnachos?

Yes, even a "cerveza" can be cooling too, the alcohol willhelp dissolve the irritating oils as well as "deaden" thepain. Now, wait a minute don't get carried away, youdidn't hear me say anything about Tequila Shots.

In addition, a squeeze of lemon or lime will help balancethe palate and distract it from the heat. Perhaps myfavorite, simply continue to eat the hot salsa that gotyou to the fire dance in the first place.

Yep, it's true.

Eating more hot salsa with your favorite tortilla andchips, "the bread" will naturally soak up and help dilutethe capsaicin level and reduce "the pain."

Hey, Capt'n, what's a Scoville Unit?

Walter Scoville, a pharmacist back in 1912 developed theScoville heat index to measure the impact of peppers onthe tongue. He came up with a way to determine how muchsugar water it took to cancel the burn you were feeling onyour tongue. For example, if a hot chile, like thejalapeno is rated at 5000 Scoville units, that means thecapsaicin oil needs 5000 times its volume in sugar waterto neutralize it.

Fine and good but what does that really mean to me? If ajalapeno is rated from 3500 to 5000 on the Scoville scaleand a habanero is in the range of 350,000 how hot is it?

Capt'n Salsa's Fool Proof Chile Heat Index, coming to therescue.

Now just so you know, you might think the Capt'n named thisvery appropriately, "fool proof" but believe me it reallyworks.

Let's get right to it. Be sure and read the paragraph about"My mouth is burning" and plan accordingly. Remember aneffective quencher for the burning palate is grab a glassof milk or your favorite bowl of ice cream and have itsitting at arms reach. You should also have a bowl ofchips, crackers or a slice of bread handy.

Now, time to do some good old fashion testing. Ready?

Do not try this with a habanero!

You will need one jalapeno for this test. Begin by slicingjust the tip of the pepper off.

Then ever so gently, I do mean very lightly, "hey it's yourtongue" so be very careful, touch the tip of your tongueto the cut edge of the jalapeno. Wow!

Fool Proof! See I told you.

Again I'm telling you not to try this with a habanero, eventhe mildest habanero will knock my socks off.

Here are a few of Capt'n Salsa's tips for handling hotchiles.

You can build up your heat tolerance for hot chiles bystarting with the mild ones then increasing to the hottervarieties in your salsa recipes. Overtime the more oftenyou eat them the more tolerant you will become.

When working with any fresh or dried hot chilies, alwayswear plastic or rubber gloves when working with them.

Chop or cut green chiles on an impermeable surface likechina, glass or metal. Do not use your favorite woodcutting board. The wood will soak up the chile oils and itwill pass it along to the next food you chop...Wow; theseare the hottest strawberries I have ever had!

Do not cut chiles under running water.

When you process or sauté hot chilies they release plentyof burning vapors into the air. Turning your head orwearing a household dust mask will help.

Be sure to experiment with your homemade salsa recipeingredients. If you are not certain of the heat level theamount of chiles called for will produce, then by allmeans start with just a very small amount and add to it alittle at a time until you achieve your desired results.

Try different varieties of chiles for unique tastesensations.

Share your homemade salsa creations with your family andfriends. You will be really glad you did and so will they.

Submitted by:

Capt'n Salsa

Capt’n Salsa provides an outstanding collection of free homemade salsa recipes and Every Thing You want to Know about Chiles at his web site, Great-Salsa.com http://www.great-salsa.com/heat





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