You may be wondering what does “Inferno hands” mean or maybe you already know in which case I’m really sorry! In case you don’t know what “inferno hands” stands for, I’m here to tell you so you don’t end up making the same mistake I did. Also known as, Hot Pepper Hands or “OMG! I’VE JUST CUT JALAPENO AND MY HANDS ARE ON FIRE!”, Inferno Hands describes the pain felt when your skin is burning after cutting hot peppers.
Note to self and to everyone reading: Do not ever, EVER, cut and/or deseed hot peppers with your bare hands!
This story starts about a week ago when we bought some Jalapeños and Habaneros from the store so we can save the seeds to plant some ourselves next year. Romania is not big on spicy food and people here only got the taste of really hot peppers in the last few years. This is the main reason why hot peppers seeds are not easy to find here, so naturally, when we saw those peppers in the store we went for it.
I ate Jalapeños before while I was working in the USA and they are not bad at all, I actually really liked the heat. However, I never had Habaneros before and I wasn’t aware of how hot they were. Up until yesterday…
I was taking a break from work and I thought that’s as good of a moment as any to cut our newly purchased novelty hot peppers and put the seeds to dry. After all, I was only going to cut one of each. No big deal right?
So I got to work: I cut the two peppers, left the seeds to dry and headed straight to the bathroom to wash my hands. Thoroughly!
After that, I sat down, had a sip of coffee and then, a moment of negligence: I scratched my nose and one of my eyes after touching hot peppers!
My nose started to burn and run uncontrollably and my eye felt like it was on fire. I had to run to the bathroom again and put my eye under the running water just to cool off the burn.
10 minutes later, more or less and the pain went away. I thought to myself: “This was the worse that could happen. It happened. It passed now I’m good. I have a funny story to tell Vlad.”
But I couldn’t have been more wrong! I went back to work and about an hour after I finished cutting the hot peppers my hands started to burn. And when I say my skin was burning, I mean it felt like my hands were constantly on fire and I could not put it out.
I tried everything the Internet had to offer on how to get jalapeño off your hands. The list includes milk, yoghurt, oils, dishwashing detergent, slices of cucumbers, lemons, honey, creams, anti-burn spray, you name it, I tried it. I was desperate! Do you know how you know you’re desperate? You try peeing on your own hand, that’s how!
Still, nothing worked for more than 5 seconds and at one point it was getting even worse if that was at all possible.
Fast forward 5 more hours and my Hot Pepper Hands finally started to cool down, but every time I used my hands or touched anything with my fingers, the burn would come back.
As soon as I was able to type again I went online and educated myself: Habaneros are really hot peppers. They score 100,000 to 350,000 heat units on the Scoville scale, compared to the Jalapeño which has only 1,000 to 10,000 heat units. Quite a difference…
So if you ever wanna make hot sauce, salsa, or handle hot peppers in any way please use rubber gloves and work in an open space. Trust me you do not want Inferno Hands!
It’s been 24 hours since I cut those hot peppers and my fingers still burn whenever I touch anything. Even using my phone is painful. But if you didn’t recently get burned by hot peppers and you can still use your phone, be sure to go to our Instagram and our Facebook page and follow us for more adventures here at the Valhalla homestead.