*No Fear* Jalapeño Chopping Prep!




About: Finally have enough of an internet connection to get back to Instructables.com! And the infinite number of emails that are clogging my in box ?. Guess living on a mountain top has some drawbacks- but who ca...
Do not fear the simple little green pepper known as the jalapeño, when handled properly you will be able to enjoy it's succulent savory heat in any recipe you choose! It only takes a moment to master cutting, chopping or dicing one up without loosing an eye to the heat of capsaicin.

And besides the great taste they add to your recipe, they are really a very healthy menu item.  
Did you know:     
One jalapeño contains more than the daily dietary requirement of vitamin C, as well as vitamin K and many B vitamins
It contains a large amount of potassium, which your body needs
It supplies anti-oxidants to help tissue repair and boost the immune system
   - and this one I really like the idea of... they can boost metabolism making weight loss easier and quicker! 

Step 1: Let's Get to Chopping

Wash your jalapeño well, and dry it off.  
Slice off the stem end of the jalapeño, unless your recipe says to use it for presentation purposes (in which case you wouldn't be chopping it up to begin with so none of thin information would apply).
Place it on a firm surface and insert the knife into the middle.  Pull the knife through the end so you have halved the jalapeño. 

See those seeds and membranes? That is where the heat is, mixed up all along that center vein.  You can determine how much or how little heat you want to add to your recipe by how much of this you remove.  
I always remove the seeds, they aren't the main supplier of the heat.  But you can decide how much of the center membrane to leave in when you chop it to determine the heat factor. 

Step 2: Diced Jalapeño

If you dont want the outer skin of the jalapeño for some reason, you can just roll your knife along the edge leaving the meaty part of the pepper behind.  But since the skin isn't tough, I almost always leave it intact.  And the skin gives a great smokey flavor when you grill peppers. 

Whichever your decide, skin on or skin off, you need to slice down the pepper length wise into strips.  
Gather the strips into a bundle and cross slice them 
and you have diced jalapeño!

Step 3: What If Its That Residual Heat on Your Hands That Scares You?

Peppers are full of capsaicin, a volatile oil that runs trough the peppers core and somewhat into the fleshy parts.  This oil sticks to you hands when you are preparing peppers, unless you wear gloves.  

I have known people to put a finger to their lips and get burned, rub their eyes and get burned, and some how touched other places I won't mention, but they were definitely burned!

You can, and should, wash you hands after chopping jalapeños, but this will do very little to remove the capsaicin oil from your hands and fingers.  Once sure way to clean the oil off is to rinse off you hands and fingers with everyday ordinary household bleach.  
Bleach might be hard on your skin, but its a much nicer alternative to a pepper covered finger getting into your eye! 

Last thing I wanted to share is how to stop the heat from making your mouth fall open with flames shooting out.  People will tell you to use milk, or beer even wash it down with some soda pop.  These aren't likely to help, and might even make the pain worse.  
I was brought up believing the only way to stop they heat was to eat more pepper, which physiologically makes sense because you are forcing your body to release those "feel good" endorphines which might actually help.  But what if you don't want to eat more of it? 


Consuming a small amount of plain table sugar is a sure fire way to stop the pain! That's probably why milk helps some, the lactase it contains is a simple sugar.   
So remember, rinse your hands with bleach, and keep some sugar handy, and enjoy the taste and benefits of the JALAPEÑO! 



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    13 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    If a person has a bad reaction they should avoid contact altogether by wearing gloves or getting someone else to chop them. Washing your hands with bleach is not a better alternative.


    (w/ref other places I won't mention, a little can be nicely-warm)

    3 replies

    Ha ha you caught that did you eh? And yes a little can be nice, but that could be a fine line I wouldn't want to cross LOL.
    And I have never had a bad reaction or even seen one, but I have no doubt it does happen, and probably with some frequency.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I work with hot peppers all the time, habaneros, ghost and scorpions are some of the hottest peppers known, I don't wear gloves but I DO wash with rubbing alcohol or a combination of rubbing alcohol and dish detergent

    3 replies

    That would be a killer on my skin. Course bleach isn't much better, but as long as the oil is taken care of and the heat no longer a threat :))


    alcohol will dry your skin but that is easily repaired with hand lotion or olive oil if it's a concern. A lot depends on the amount of contact as well, the average person will only be cutting up a couple of hot peppers and my trick will work well for those. I made the mistake of picking and processing a couple of quarts of habaneros with out gloves and by the time I felt the burning in my fingers it was of course to late for any remedy but time and repeated washings. IF I am ever as lapse in my judgement again I'll give the bleach a try !


    Mid-fall I usually take a trip out to the farms and pick up several bushels of long green New Mexico Chiles. The very first time I did the peeling, I thought my hands were going to fall off it hurt so bad, but they looked completely normal!
    I have always "assumed" that through some chemical reaction the capsaicin in the peppers was neutralized by the bleach. Of course assuming is NEVER a good idea, and I really don't like just making an assumption about it, but I have never found any research to explain why the capsaicin stops burning after exposure to the bleach.

    Uh hate to tell you, but that is an old wives tale. The redness simply comes from aging or even over ripening (unless the pepper is cultivated to be a red variety) if you grow your own peppers, you can manipulate how hot the end product is though simply through decreasing the amount of water and not watering during the daylight hours at all. At least that is what one of the pepper growers near me has said. He grows one area of each field to be off the scoville chart kind of hot, to be sold to paint factories. I would never have thought of peppers in paint but apparently so.

    I learned that from the farmer who taught me peppers R in some paints. That was never on my list of things to try until then and I've never tried anything else since then. Can learn some really cool stuff from those old farmers :))