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Help! I ate a hot pepper!

red chili peppers - cookthink

What should you do if you eat a pepper that sets your tongue on fire?

Do not drink beer. Water won’t help either. (In a Caribbean folktale, children drown in a river trying to cool their tongues after eating habanero stew. See Dave Dewitt and Nancy Gerlach's The Pepper Pantry for the full story.) Capsaicin, the chemical that makes a hot pepper hot, doesn’t dissolve in water, so even ice water won’t help remove the heat.

Your best bet? Get milk. Because capsaicin is fat-soluble, a compound in milk can actually pull the capsaicin off your tongue and relieve some of the burn. Another option: eat bread or rice to absorb the heat. Cucumber can also have a cooling effect.

If you are feeling brave (or masochistic), you could try eating another pepper. According Robert Berkley, the author of Peppers: A Cookbook, you can build up a resistance to capsaicin by eating more chile peppers. With Berkley’s approach, you get the added high of a capsaicin-triggered endorphin release. Before you know it, you might be addicted to the hot little things.

Reference: How to seed a chile pepper (Cookthink)
Reference:: Why are some jalapenos hotter than others? (Cookthink)

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