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How to Handle Hot Peppers

Learn how to avoid the volatile hot oils in chilis.

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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. Chilli such as jalapenos, 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 chili can transfer to other surfaces, so wash knives and cutting boards with hot soapy water to prevent the oils from transferring to other foods.