Picture of Chopping Hot Peppers Safely
An easy way to de-seed and chop hot peppers without getting spice in your eye.
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Step 1: Procure pepper(s) and knife

Picture of Procure pepper(s) and knife
Find yourself a nice, hot pepper or ten and a sharp chef's knife.

While you can use a paring knife, your fingers will be much closer to the peppers and will be more likely to pick up capsaicin. I'm using a 10inch chef's knife in these pictures.

Hot peppers have a nice, non-spicy external skin, so you want to hold it by the stem and the skin and avoid touching the seeds, cut surfaces, or internal flesh. The hotter the pepper the more relevant this separation becomes.

Step 2: Slice pepper

Picture of Slice pepper
Holding the stem end, cut slices off the side of your pepper.

Keep turning the pepper in order to place a flat side against the cutting board, then cut another slice off the side of the pepper. At the end of this process you should be holding a stem with the seeds still attached, and have a pile of pepper chunks sitting on your cutting board.

Step 3: Wipe knife

Picture of Wipe knife
Use the stem end to wipe any remaining seeds off of the knife blade into the trash. This will keep your fingers safely out of trouble.

Step 4: Flip and slice segments

Picture of Flip and slice segments
Use the knife to flip all of the pepper chunks over and into a pile so the skin is facing up, then use a couple of fingers to lightly hold them down. Take care to only touch the outside of the skin, and stay away from the cut edges.

Cut thin strips with the chef's knife, cutting through several layers at once in the pile. You will likely need to scrape stuck slices off the side of the knife; that's what the stem end is for. Whack off the seeded bits into the trash, then use your little handled scraper to shove any over-eager bits of pepper back onto the cutting board.
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Was working in a really hot kitchen, and was sweating pretty bad. after cutting some ghost peppers, I decided to wipe my brow...

Big mistake.

I was in pain for over 45 minutes.
Nice Instructable, though! (Sorry for not mentioning this in the first place.)
Save those seeds!

Check out my instructable on how to grow your own peppers from seed! Its actually really fun and easy to to! By the way, very good instructable!
canida (author)  thenear1send4 years ago
Cool, thanks!
could you just use gloves? :]
canida (author)  NatureBoom214 years ago
Yes, but I hate to waste a pair of gloves when careful attention to technique can solve the problem just as easily. And chopping in gloves is annoying. ;)
acer737 years ago
there is a random piece of ginger in your picture
canida (author)  acer737 years ago
Ginger is never random, and usually very necessary. The only more important ingredient is garlic.
reeding canida6 years ago
or salt
selaja7 years ago
i hurt my toe doing that
jethrow8157 years ago
the first time i cut a habanero i had no idea a good hand washing wouldn't do the job. i think it was about 3 hours later when I rubbed my eye. I cant see pepper spray being any worse than that.
savagesteve7 years ago
Wear shooters (safety) glasses when cutting peppers. If you accidentally reach to scratch your eye, you will just poke your safety glasses.
Vendigroth8 years ago
the capsicaeinwhaterverwayouspellit's an alkali soluble in fat. stop its fiendish effects, wash with lemon juice or milk. It's not soluble in water, tho
Here's a better method - use latex gloves. Habaneros are very hot and if you make the mistake of rubbing your eyes, you will feel pain.
so you're saying a preventative method's better? obviously, it is. Actually, my uncle should have read this. He was cutting his peppers ready to cook, and got the spicy juice on his hands. When he was done, he scratched his......gentleman's area......and felt the full effect of the Red Hot Chilli Pepper. Needless to say, i think he'll practice better food hygiene in future.
Fuzz20508 years ago
A word of warning. Be extremely careful when attending to the call of nature after chopping peppers. The results can be disastrous.
duh8 years ago
whats this world coming to? A bunch of weenies thats what. Get a knife ,cut the peppers, clean peppers in a pan of water, take cut peppers out, dump water. George Bush is know proud of yall.
canida (author)  duh8 years ago
The water rinses away the tasty hot oils! I want the spice in my food, just not in my eye.
PSO8 years ago
Another solution for keepint the pepper fumes out of your nose is to put a glop of Vicks vapor rub in each nostril. People that necessarily have to work around a rotting corpse use that trick to cut down on the stench. Sorry didn't mean to ruin anyone's appetite.
canida (author)  PSO8 years ago
I've actually had to use the Vick's trick when working with corpses- it's pretty good, but can be overwhelmed by particularly strong doses of putrescine. It's only a distractant to the pepper oils, though (much like stomping on your toe to distract from a sore knee).
Punkguyta8 years ago
The way I cut peppers is I use my teeth as my knifes are usually dirty and then clean the seeds off with my eyes. I suggest giving it a try.
PSO8 years ago
Keep the pepper fumes out of your nose the same way you would the onion fumes. Place a wad of bread under your upper lip. You could use an orange segment or apple slice instead of the bread. It pushes the upper lip out far enough to protect the nose. Also cut the pepper in half vertically and scrape the pepper with a spoon to remove the seeds. You will be mincing in no time.
breathwork8 years ago
use disposable gloves and protetctative eyewear! I once had a birds-eye chili spit in my eye! Birds eye respect. Avoid rubbing eyes with hands whilst still wearing disposable gloves!
Rubbing olive oil or any cooking oil into your hands before chopping also helps prevent the chemicals from the chilli penetrating your skin if you don't have gloves available when handling chillies. Once you've finished, wash your hands with soap and you should find the capsicin washes off with the oil. Just don't use so much oil that you can't hold the knife safely afterwards.
Gloves would be easier. Plus, no risk of missing a molecule or two :-)
canida (author)  zachninme8 years ago
Yes, but like any prophylactic measures gloves can be a pain in the neck because: 1) they cost money 2) you have to remember to use them 3) some types can impart weird flavors to your food 4) they can impede your chopping/knife handling 5) relying on them allows you to be lazy about backup methods; that means trouble if you're ever without. 6) did I mention they cost money? I'm cheap whenever possible.
westfw canida8 years ago
Didn't someone post an instructable on using a plastic bag as an emergency glove? You might use the same plastic bag your peppers were transported in, turned inside out, as a "glove" to cut the peppers, possibly in combination with your technique...
canida (author)  westfw8 years ago
That sounds good! I'll give it a try. Just be careful not to let you pepper-handling, bag-covered hand slip...
Ooh! Even better! I didn't read this when I posted.
Here is a solution that solves almost all your problems, except the remembering. Use hand A to handle the knife, do not wear a glove on hand A Use hand B to handle the pepper, wear one of those food bags on it. Those food bags are about $1 for 100.
canida (author)  eviloverlord8 years ago
That would certainly work, since capsaicin is fat-soluble, but I don't really want to be using an extremely sharp knife with even slightly oily hands. That's a great way to clip off bits of fingers! Heck, I slice myself a couple of times/year even without oil-slick hands. Perhaps I've done too much lab/bio sterile technique work, but I do find it's pretty easy to avoid covering yourself in capsaicin if you're just careful about what surfaces you touch; it becomes instinctive.
westfw8 years ago
Interesting technique; looks like it would take some practice before you get past the chance of a burning nose - I'm too used to using my knuckles as a knife guide, for insance. But like many things, even getting it partially right will help.
Magicfap8 years ago
just wondering, but hwo is it a colaberation if there is only one person?
westfw Magicfap8 years ago
Well, there's obviously one person chopping and one taking pictures, although I guess I should read the slides to see exactly what's meant...
A collaboration is a project where more than one person can edit it. I played around with it a bit and you can choose other individuals to edit it or whole groups.
oh, my bad sorry I had never seen a collaboration before. Excuse my ignorance.
Not a big surprise since they were only unveiled yesterday and there hasn't been much of an announcement about them.
There's two. Canida is the creator and charlemagne is the collaborator.
theRIAA8 years ago
wacha makin?
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