Handling Hot Peppers

The oils in hot peppers are what gives them the lip-tingling heat you love -- but they can burn if they aren't handled with a little respect. Take these few protective measures, and it's all good.

When a recipe calls for chili peppers, choose them according to the heat level you want. Generally, the smaller the pepper, the hotter it is. Chilies such as Jalapeños, Serranos, and Habaneros contain volatile oils that can burn your skin and eyes. You can protect your hands if desired by covering them with plastic bags or rubber gloves. Oils from chilies can transfer to other surfaces so wash knives and cutting boards with hot soapy water to prevent the oils from transferring to other foods.