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Manage the Heat of Hot Peppers

Turn down the heat on those hot peppers with proper selection and preparation.

The majority of the capsaicin that gives hot peppers their heat is in the white membrane that houses the seeds. So remove the white membrane and the seeds if you want to turn down the heat.

The spicy heat of these peppers is measured in Scoville Heat Units. A panel of 5 taste testers decides when the spicy heat has been neutralized in sugar water and then assigns the rating. Today many companies use a less subjective chemical process, but translate their results into the popular Scoville heat units.

Wear rubber gloves and avoid touching your face and eyes when working with hot peppers as they can burn. Wash your hands, utensils and cutting boards when finished.  And be sure to label hot peppers when growing, harvesting and storing to avoid any mix ups.  And have a glass of milk handy to help neutralize the sting.

A bit more information: Scoville heat ratings vary with the type of pepper and between individual plants within a specific type based on individual plant differences and the growing conditions. You’ll find hot peppers like Poblanos at 1000 Scoville heat units, jalapenos between 2500 and 6000 to the ghost pepper at over 2 million.


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