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Useful Kitchen Tip #1, or How to Avoid Saying "¡Ay, Caramba! I'm On Fire!"

Posted Aug 27 2007 12:00am



As many of you most certainly already know, the essence/juices of certain vegetables and other foods are particularly pungent (i.e., garlic, onions, seafood, etc.) or have a bit of a sting to them (i.e., chili peppers, lemons, etc.). And sometimes it's not always as easy as just washing your hands to get rid of the smell or the stinging. Once their essence is absorbed into your skin, it can often be very difficult to remove.

Additionally, certain foods, like chili peppers, can be particularly hazardous if you get their essence of your hands & then accidentally rub your eyes. Not that I am talking from recent personal experience or anything. ;-)

Heaven forbid you pet the cat or touch someone else & spread the wildfire . (Shameless plug, I know.)

Case in point: About two nights ago, I decided to make green chutney as a side for one of the meals that I was preparing in advance. (See here for that recipe.)

Let me first preface what followed by saying that I was tired & apparently didn't have my head screwed on straight before deciding to chop up the serrano chili peppers with my bare hands. No, apparently I was not thinking at all. Perhaps I had been sleepwalking when I'd wandered into the kitchen. ;-)

Well, let me tell you, it hurt like *@#$!%!. My hands felt like they were on fire. For several hours. Worse still, once the capsaicin in chili peppers absorbs into your hands, it doesn't just wash out. Even after several days of washing your hands & showering. That's right, you heard me correctly. Once you make contact with the capsaicin, it absorbs into your skin, so that its effects last PARTICULARLY long.

So, kiddies, don't try this at home. Unless you want your hands to look like one of those large foam props they use at football games.

Now, normally, my hands don't feel like this after chopping chili peppers. But then again, I don't usually attempt something like that without first wearing gloves. Doh!

So, the lesson here today, kiddies, is that when chopping up chili peppers or garlic, it's a good idea (hahaha, that's understatement for you) to wear latex surgical gloves. Surgical gloves are far more effective than your average pair of kitchen or household gloves, which are thicker & harder to use than surgical gloves, especially when you're trying to pick up or manipulate objects.

Surgical gloves typically come in different sizes (small, medium, large, etc.). Also, if you happen to be allergic to latex, the gloves also come in a latex-free version -- usually in either vinyl & nitrile.

Just google "surgical gloves" & you'll find several suppliers.

If you'd like to try a pair on for size, here's a place that offers free samples, Lifewear . Just call 1-888-878-0048 to request your free sample. (And before you jump to any conclusions, no, I don't work for them nor am I being paid to endorse their products!)

So, learn from my tale of misery & woe, and snap on a pair. You can better believe that's what I'll be doing the next time around I'm tempted to chop a chili.

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