Monday, August 31, 2009

Cutting and Freezing Jalapeños

The pepper plants in my garden continue to produce well, and I still have some blooms so it looks like we'll be getting peppers up until it freezes. (Which, based on the buzzing insects - locusts or cicadas, whatever you call them - may not be too far away!) I canned some jalapeños but I like to freeze some, too.

Kitchen tip: ALWAYS wear gloves when cutting jalapeños. Seriously. It is SO NOT worth the burn! You can get plastic or latex gloves similar to what food service workers wear that are pretty cheap, but they can be a bit flimsy. Replace them as soon as you notice them sticking to your hand - that means you likely have a leak somewhere. Wash your hands immediately. DO NOT rub your face, eyes, or anything else. If you wear contacts, I highly recommend removing them before working on the jalapeños just in case. That is the reason Alton Brown always wears glasses now.

If you do find yourself suffering from "jalapeño hands", you can visit this post by Newly Purnell for a number of suggestions for relief. (warning - some comments are a bit crass, and some contain swear words - that pain would drive a saint to drink, though . . .) It sounds like different things work for different people. Some that I noticed included:
* milk - I recommend pouring on a cloth or paper towel and applying that to the burning area
* rubbing alcohol (also pour on cloth and apply) and/or hand sanitizer
* rubbing the affected area on something made of stainless steel if possible
* paste made of baking soda and water
* Calamine lotion
* An anti-oil facial astringent or anti-oil acne cream containing benzoyl peroxide
* honey
and many, many more.

Actually, I'm thinking I might declare a pair of rubber gloves (like those used for washing dishes) for jalapeño use only, because I tend to use my left thumbnail and index fingernail to scrape out seeds and membranes, which eventually weakens the glove and that leads to a very high likelihood of jalapeño hands.

To freeze "whole" jalapeños, I cut the tops off, then run the tip of my knife around the top of the pepper between the flesh and the seed pod in the center, through the ribs, or membranes. I then make one cut down to the bottom tip. I open the pepper up, remove the seed pod, try to remove as much of the ribs as I can, and all the loose seeds. I then put them in a freezer zip top bag and freeze. Today I fit about 32 jalapeños per quart bag, though I could have packed a few more in if needed.

Hubs likes jalapeños but isn't crazy about cream cheese, so the standard jalapeño popper recipes aren't his cup of tea. A few years ago, I came across a recipe for Jalapeño Chicken Wraps in a Taste of Home magazine that Hubs really likes.

I found that in order to get the bacon as crisp as he likes it, I needed to pre-cook the bacon if I used the grill. I have also made them in the oven, and that seems to crisp the bacon better.

Enjoy your hot peppers - but do it safely! And for more kitchen tips, visit Tammy's Recipes!


Lori said...

Funny you should post this. I spent yesterday chopping up peppers and freezing them. :) They were just bell peppers jalapeno hands here. :)
I wash and dry the peppers thoroughly. Then dice and place them spread out on a cookie sheet. I pop them in the freezer and leave until frozen. Then just put them in jars or other containers. I can then just reach in the freezer and get a handful whenever I need/want them. :)

Angela said...

I have learned the hard way that gloves are neaded! That recipe looks great, I'm going to have to try it.

Phoebe @ GettingFreedom said...

Last year when I was making salsa, I was multitasking and talking on the phone. I completely spaced to put on my gloves when I was chopping up Cherry Bombs. Cherry Bomb Hands are NO fun! I use gloves religously now, for that very reason. But, just in case, I'm bookmarking your site.

Donna said...

Great tip!
I cut up MILD banana peppers without gloves, last year, and had these kind of hands for hours! Jalapenos would scorch me!

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

If only you had posted this last week when Mark's hands were on FIRE from making poppers! Ah well, he learned a lot from that. We're going to have to freeze some too, since we were blessed with so many of them from our garden. I had no idea five little pepper plants could produce so many peppers!!

Anonymous said...

I thought I was tough enough to do jalapenos without gloves. (wrong) SOAK YOUR HANDS IN VEGTABLE OIL, IT WORKS!!!! Take's away the burn
Twyla from Mn.