What Not to do with your Fingers after chopping Jalapeno Peppers….(EDITED)

(EDITED TO ADD) 12/08/07 I just this week made this recipe again at a friends house. We made two batches. The first batch I had the laytex gloves on. No problem. The next day when we made the second batch my friend had accidentaly thrown away the extra pair of gloves. I chopped away….after roasting the peppers. After finishing, instead of sticking my hand in water….we all know that when eating something hot water makes it worse which is what I did the first go around. I poured milk in a bowl and scrubbed my hands in the milk. Then I was able to wash my hands. Guess what? No burning this time…..that is the key….before putting your hands into water…..soak and scrub them in a bowl of milk. No burning blistering fingertips this time………..Thought you might want to know…..:-)

The title says it all……..Need I elaborate? Well……yes.

If you don’t know what cleaning jalapenos will do to you, I probably should elaborate…..:-0.

First, I need to state that neither my husband or I like guacamole. Never could develop a taste for it….until now. My dear friend is from Honduras and invited my husband and I over for a special dinner. We were childless for the weekend. She prepared the loveliest of steaks. Yes a steak can be described as lovely by someone, who once in awhile, can have such an intense craving for red meat, I can smell it cooking!!!

Medium Rare, by the way….:-)

We had steak, baked sweet potato, grilled vidalia onions, grilled asparagus and broccoli salad. It was sumptuous…. and guacamole for an appetizer.

We tried it and were like, “WOW!!” We had to swap recipes. Her guacamole for my broccoli salad.

She and I got together tonight and we made guacamole…….

  • 5 not hard and not squishy, in between that, black avocados, peeled, pitted and mashed.
  • 3 Romano tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/3 of a red onion finely chopped
  • bunch (handful) of finely chopped cilantro
  • 3 2-3″ jalapeno peppers, roasted, seeded and pulp removed, finely chopped
  • lemon or lime juice to taste
  • coarse sea salt to taste
  • cumin 1 tsp or more
  • Mix together and refrigerate….tastes really great on homemade tortilla’s.

That is how she makes her guacamole.

Just so you know…..I do know how to cook. I know the proper way to hold the knife using the knuckles as a guide so as not to loose the tips of ones fingers or fingernails. (Been there done that…that’s why I learned)

I also know how one is supposed to handle peppers. I am not talking the generic red, green, yellow and orange type bell peppers. I am talking jalapeno, habanero, pablano, Serrano….I am sure you get the idea.

One thing that is recommended when cleaning these peppers, is where a pair of gloves. I didn’t….:-(. I forgot. In fact I remembered as I finished chopping the first pepper.

I can’t begin to describe how warm my fingertips are right now…..Mind you we made this at 7pm tonight. It is now 1:30am. Do the math.

I brought the dip home and tried some on the tortilla’s she made….a little bit squeezed out onto my fingers and I licked my fingers…..:-O.

My lips, tongue and fingers immediately let me know what I had forgotten to do….along with my nose, eyes and would you believe even my ears?!

The oils from the seeds were absorbed into my skin on the fingertips……Yes….that was why I sat here tonight repeating the mantra…”stupid, stupid, stupid as my nose is burning.”! Of course everyone knows that when you have something on your hands and you shouldn’t touch your face ….your nose will itch. It’s never the outside that itches…..(No..I was finished preparing the food and hadn’t planned on my finger going up my nose!!!) I am sure there is some cosmic law that applies to the hands and nose.

Then your eyes will start itching, so of course you must rub your eye. I left my glasses on to hopefully prevent me from doing just that…..did I remember? No!!!!

Now my left eye hasn’t stopped watering. My nose feels like it had menthol stuck up in side and my lips are still tingling. Not to mention the tips of my fingers feel like they have been dipped in horse liniment or have been soaking in a Flexall Bath….Extra Strength.

I have tried scrubbing them with Dawn, Clorox, Lemon Juice and Salt and nothing…..nada…

I was talking with a friend who grew up in the South Pacific Islands. She came in contact with one of the hottest peppers known to mankind….a Thai Pepper. She suggested soaking my fingers in milk or sour cream.

Well…..I have soaked twice and rinsed twice….washed my face down and soaked again.

Would you like to know how I tested my fingers? If I were you I would sit there and say…”NO!!! Please tell me she didn’t!”

Yes, I did…..I licked them again……my tongue has finally stopped tingling…..I can now say that instead of having 10 fingers that are “tasty”. I now only have 6 fingers that are a little warm on the tongue.

I am sure by tomorrow, I will still be at it….so if some wonderful person out there in the wide wide world, who is not ashamed to admit that “I” am not alone and would like to share their remedy……

My fingers, nose, eyes, ears and left “facial” cheek would appreciate it…….Thank You .


July 20, 2007 - Posted by | Celebrations, Food/Recipes, Friends, Humor, Just Life, Observances, Sanity


  1. Yes, between playing with boonie peppers (thai) and rubbing my neck to playing with them again and getting juice squirted in my eyes (and running home blind)…yeah, I understand…but I was 8yrs old also 😀

    Comment by apuritanlady | July 20, 2007 | Reply

  2. Soooo….are you trying to say I should have known better at such an ADVANCED age….?


    Comment by gingerporter | July 20, 2007 | Reply

  3. If I had not grown up with an extremely protective Korean mother, I am very sure I would have had many pepper related accidents. Luckily, I have it burned into my brain to use extreme caution with peppers.

    Now if you want to talk about chopping accidents, well that’s another story.

    Comment by mtbriere | July 20, 2007 | Reply

  4. Me? I would NEVER say such a thing! I mean, I’ll soon be as old as you….

    Comment by APuritanLady | July 20, 2007 | Reply

  5. Yeah…Trish…I thought I had it burned in my head also…..but I goofed….my fingers are still burning this morning. 🙂

    Comment by gingerporter | July 20, 2007 | Reply

  6. I’m sorry Ginger, but couldn’t help smiling. 🙂 I’ve been there. Mom didn’t grow or handle hot peppers and it was not taught to me. I learned the hard way.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe. It sound delicious!

    Comment by Donna | July 20, 2007 | Reply

  7. I told you also to put them in milk but did you listen to me? NO, of course not.

    Comment by celticmuse | July 20, 2007 | Reply

  8. I had to laugh a bit at your distress, Ginger.

    My friend N and I dried peppers (habanero’s, think) a few years ago. We had our eyes, fingers, nose’s just about everything burning. And we did so many peppers that the smell & burning lasted in the house for about 2 weeks. Her Hubby said we could never do peppers at their house again unless we did them OUTSIDE!

    Comment by missplacedalaskan | July 20, 2007 | Reply

  9. Michielle…I did put milk on it….I soaked my fingers in milk. i even gave myself a sour cream hand soak….:-) That seemed to work the best. I finally had to check with the doctor. The tips of my fingers actually look burned. The skin is all distorted and looks like I stuck my fingers on the stove. They suggested taking some benedryl also. That finally took the pain away…..They are still tingling…

    Then my son, goes and touches the cutting board so we have been doing milk clothes and sour cream on his face. Man alive…who would have thought wanting a simple snack would have lead to so much trouble….

    The recipe is really yummy Donna…you’ll have to let me know if you like it…

    Wow, Beth…2 weeks?That’s what my husband says to my mother about baking her dirt….;-)

    Comment by gingerporter | July 20, 2007 | Reply

  10. Wow~I find it amazing that the peppers burned your fingers. What are you going to have to do to clean the cutting board? I hope Ds feels better quickly.

    Comment by missplacedalaskan | July 21, 2007 | Reply

  11. I ran the cutting board thru the dishwasher…..Charlie is fine. I will not ever cut peppers again with out my gloves.

    Comment by gingerporter | July 21, 2007 | Reply

  12. I have no advice to give but lots of (((((hugs)))))

    I don’t cut peppers very often but I’ll say that since it seems that whenever I’m cooking I’m needed on the phone when it’s a messy job. Therefore I’ve gotten into the habit of wearing gloves when handling dough, cutting veggies, mixing meatloaf, making meatballs, etc. My hands just can’t handle being washed so very often.

    Comment by Elaine | July 21, 2007 | Reply

  13. Apply a Milk drenched washcloth to the affected area (for me nostrils and top lip) as long as you can. Also, drink as much alcohol as you can tolerate without puking. It worked for me. I still love peppers.

    Comment by Carla | August 19, 2007 | Reply

  14. I was (trying) to prepare jalapeno poppers last night & I cleaned the seeds out of the peppers with my bare hands. I washed my hands with soap & water & I didn’t have any problems at all. Am I some sort of freak????

    Comment by jackie | September 11, 2007 | Reply

  15. No you were just lucky girl….but mine didn’t hit immediately either. We had roasted ours which releases more of the oils…maybe that is the dif….glad your fingers didn’t burn though….:-)

    Comment by gingerporter | September 12, 2007 | Reply

  16. Okay First where did you get those Jalapenos…..
    I use only seranos, and they never burn.
    I use alot of Poblanos too they don’t burn either.

    I have heard that toothpaste works, never tried it.
    Dairy should help lots..
    My kids will eat salsa and have a big glass of milk or cheese at the same time. They are 8,6,4 but are Mexican.
    Like my boy says…..You can’t be Mexican and not eat chile..

    I do two kinds of guacamole… is a salsa the other is a pico de gallo.
    The salsa is alot like what you did..Roasted tomato or tomatillo, roasted serano, roasted garlic, and roasted onion if I feel like it. Smash all of those then smash in the avacado. For extra I chop up onion and cilantro and add that in.
    Pico: chopped onion, tomato, chile, cilantro and at times cucumber. Lime juice, salt and peper. Chopped avacado.

    I never knew the Thai chile was hotter than a Habanero. I thought the habanero was the hottest. I have tried the Thai and they don’t come close to the habanero that I tried…

    Comment by ramirezhomeschooling | September 12, 2007 | Reply

  17. I’m 17. Wanted to make a jalapeño dip. And now here i am trying to find remedies to make me one, single, left nostril from burning off my face. I had washed my hands. Rubbed my nose…and now it’s spreading to my lip.

    Dairy does help a little…but this burning is so incredibly bad….This is terrible!

    Comment by Ali | October 12, 2007 | Reply

  18. I also have an allergy to the things so I ended up taking some benedryl. That helped also. The sour cream was the one that worked the best….then I just kept soaking a washcloth in milk and applying it to the burning areas.

    Comment by gingerporter | October 13, 2007 | Reply

  19. my nose is burning right now… I stumbled onto this while trying to find some sort of cure (other than time) and it makes me glad to know that I’m not the only fool who gets peppers up her nose…

    Oh No…You are in good company… 🙂 . I did find that after cutting the peppers if I immediately washed/rinsed my hands in milk or sour cream….I no longer had a problem. I was even dumb enough to test it. It worked. I am still afraid to cut the things, especially after roasting them, with out a pair of handy gloves. I do feel your pain….

    Comment by alura | January 14, 2008 | Reply

  20. I have tried EVERYTHING except things like baking soda and 80 proof rum (for once that stuff is not in the house! D: ). It’s been 48 hours and the burns are still there. I am kind of chuckling at the people who broke after 6 hours because I have been dealing with intense pain for the past 2 days in my thumbs which has completely delayed my productivity. I don’t think I can tell my clients, “Oh sorry I can’t paint your commission because I am suffering from severe jalapeno burn!”

    Comment by Riss | June 9, 2008 | Reply

  21. OK, so I was making jalepeno popers, and it’s the second time i made I learned from the first time (I just rinsed my hands quickly the first time and the scratched my nose)…but then I used dish soap to wash my hands and they were fine…But this time, I washed my hands with dish soap after…and then i scratched my eye :(. I quickly washed my hands with dish soap again, and then flushed my eye out for about 5 minutes and then put a towel against it for a few mintes…its been 5 minutes and its fine now.:)

    Comment by C | July 12, 2008 | Reply

  22. Actually..I see everyone posting about their hands burning because they touched it with their bare hands…I always do, and my hands are always fine…and as long as i wash them really good with soap after, then I can touch my eye balls till the cows come home and my eyes are fine.

    Comment by C | July 12, 2008 | Reply

  23. ya im with you all, I just cut and took the seeds out of 24 jal. peppers and now I’m about in tears, yes it was up my nose and yed it was in my eyes, those have calmed down but my hands are hurting, hawain tropic had this thing called ICE it’s for sunburns, it kinda makes it cool but you have to keep putting it on, it’s easier than holding ice.

    Comment by Anonymous | August 18, 2008 | Reply

  24. So I tried alcohol, milk, ice, soap and water. It still burns but what I used was milk with ice in it and soaked my burning nose in it. It helped a bit. Then applied ice on it…constricting the vessels. It helped a bit. Still burning 15 min into it. but Im going to keep to it.

    Comment by Katie | October 13, 2008 | Reply

  25. My fingers are on fire!! I
    Made a kick ass taco dip and put jalenpenos in it! I had no idea that they burn your fingers. I search burning fingers and ended up
    Here. I won’t even consider cutting that without gloves! I learned something new today

    Comment by Alana | May 25, 2009 | Reply

  26. I touched right beneath my nose a couple weeks ago after chopping a jalapeno. Needless to say, I was snorting milk for 15 minutes to get the burn to stop!

    Comment by Rosey Rebecca | July 31, 2009 | Reply

  27. Hi. Thanks for the tip about the sour cream. I am preparing to make tamales and did get some chili peppers on my skin..actually on my nose. I put on the sour cream like zinc and it worked right away.

    Thanks again.


    Comment by Sharon | January 20, 2010 | Reply

  28. THANK YOU for this post. I got some jalopeno juice in my nose when i scratched it and about died!!! I was not ready for that amount of burning sensation!!
    I soaked my nose in milk (and got some funny pics out of it) and put ice to cool for 15 or so minutes. Now it’s just a lingering burn.

    Comment by Denae | May 14, 2010 | Reply

    • I feel your pain….:-). Milk washes, sour cream…anything dairy. The big mistake everyone makes is dumping their digits in water. I don’t touch a jalapeño with out gloves now…LOL.

      Comment by gingerporter | May 14, 2010 | Reply

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