So, before I last went to sleep, I commenced dehydrating all our hot peppers, except the ones on the plants that I somehow missed during harvest. There always seem to be a few stragglers.
I'm no stranger to cutting up hot peppers (including superhots) with unprotected hands (although I don't recommend that others generally do this). There were no super hots in this batch—just Capsicum annuum peppers and several Aji Habanero peppers (which aren't as hot as some of the Capsicum annuum peppers: i.e. Randy Sine's Evil Jalapeno and Ring of Fire). So, I figured I'd risk cutting them all up. I figured my hands would be warm and somewhat intolerant to hot water for a few days.
Wow. I was sure wrong! The high UV index this year must have had an impact. Those peppers were something else (after I had finished). No amount of handwashing would help. Soaking my hands in super concentrated sugar water didn't help. Lathering them in cream cheese didn't even help (I had high hopes for that). Olive oil didn't help. Even cold things only helped to a degree. The frozen blackberries even felt warm a lot of the time.
I didn't know how I was going to sleep or survive for the next few days. So, I practiced the piano and that helped for a while. I listened to music and watched a show, but eventually I just went to bed, suffering.
I found that flapping my hands actually helped temporarily. I'm not sure why, but the pain went away while I was doing it and for a little while after. So, I did that a lot as I was trying to sleep. Breathing/blowing with rounded lips helped temporarily, and seemed the natural thing to do at some points.
I prayed for help at some points.
Eventually, as I lay there in bed, I felt impressed to get up and brush my teeth. I was extra inclined to obey the impression, due to the hot peppers making me feel like I needed something to do. I even thought about smearing toothpaste on my hands. So, I got up and brushed my teeth. When I rinsed with cold water, it was really cold for my mouth each time I rinsed. So, I put the toothpaste on my hands and washed it off. Mint oil makes people feel cool, so I figured, maybe it would cool my hands. And guess what? It worked quite a bit! the heat wasn't as bad. I did it again. It worked better! Two times was enough that I didn't bother doing it again, but my hands are still spicy (but they're tolerable). I slept well, and my prayers were answered. I'm definitely convinced that God helped me.
Oh, and the dehydrated peppers made the house smell very strongly of hot peppers, but it didn't make my eyes or nose feel hot. They seem to dehydrate very quickly compared with tomatoes, notwithstanding even with the skins underneath them. Nice.
I don't have any immediate plans to grow hot peppers again, but it's mostly because consuming them makes my eyes more sensitive to ultraviolet light. However, I had been planning to grow a few hot peppers from the C. baccatum and C. chinense species (maybe one plant of each). I think I'm going to do 100% sweet peppers next year, though! I'll miss Aji Habanero and my Black Mustard Bhutlah (not that I'm out of Black Mustard Bhutlah pods from last year or anything; it's fun to grow and it's beautiful).
Anyway, part of the reason I'm normally willing to endure cutting hot peppers with unprotected hands is because it makes my skin stronger, more resistant to abrasion and scrapes, and more heat-tolerant (after the capsaicin is all gone, anyway). I'm guessing it also helps to prevent calluses. I should try it on my heels.
Anyway, I do plan to use gloves when I remove those peppers from the food dehydrator! I set them to dehydrate at 167° F. I figured a cooked taste is nice for peppers. They might be dry already, but I'm just leaving them in there for now. They need to be extra dry, so I can powder them.
The specific toothpaste I used was Colgate Total Anticavity Fluoride and Antigingivitis Toothpaste; Clean Mint; helps prevent plaque buildup & fights tartar. It's kind of hard to cite toothpaste product names. The barcode is P9893433 1936. I suspect mint oil would do the same, but I'm not sure.
I'm dehydrating the sweet peppers, now. I think at least one kind of them was mildly hot, due to a cross or something.
There appeared to be a lot more sweet pepper bulk before I cut them up, but they filled about the same amount of trays as the hot peppers (a little bit more). There were just enough sweet peppers to fill all six 15" x 13" trays, well, counting any spicy crosses or such.
So, I'm thinking I'll have one jar of really hot pepper powder, and one of really mild, but still a bit spicy, pepper powder.
Here are the dehydrated sweet peppers. They dehydrating quickly. I also dehydrated them at 167° F. There were apparently some hot peppers in it, probably from an accidental cross. It's mildly spicy, although the heat lasts for a while (even though it's a comfortable and low heat). I included most of the seeds in this powder.
The dehydrated sweet peppers smelled really good. The powder tastes really good. Most of the peppers were red, but there were a few green ones. there was one orange-looking one, but I think it would have ripened red.
It's remarkable that although I had a much bigger bowl filled with sweet peppers, the hot peppers made significantly more powder. I think that's because sweet peppers (due to being larger on average, and more hollow, on average) have more air inside them, and aren't as dense. I'll have to remember that.
Here's the same jar of powder with the contents more level:
Location: SW Idaho, USA
USDA hardiness zone: 6
Elevation: 2,260 feet Profile post