Let me tell you all about how to work with jalapenos…terrifying, I know. I actually have a picture of a pair of rubber gloves, a knife, and a couple of jalapenos, but I decided that that was probably just too scary for my family-friendly blog, so I’ll try and keep this PG-rated.
Jalapenos get a bad rap. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: not all jalapenos are created equal. Some will be so spicy that you may never eat again (okay, maybe not YOU, but most of you) and some taste a lot like a slightly-spicier green bell pepper. Here’s the secret: when you’re at the grocery store, pick up a jalapeno and sniff it. If it tickles your throat, it’s a spicy one and you can make your pepper-buying decision from there. You can also take note of the small white “stretch marks” on the outside of the pepper. The more stretch marks, the hotter the pepper. The other secret? The thing that makes jalapenos hot are the seeds and the membrane.
See all of these seeds? And the white stuff inside?
That’s the hot part. So if you’re not interested in a burning mouth, just run your fingers around that membrane in the middle and toss the seeds out with the dirty diapers and your dreams of eating like a true Mexican. To be extra careful, wear rubber gloves and use a small paring knife to make sure you get everything.
As far as handling the peppers go, be aware that the oils will stay on your hands unless you’re vigilant about making sure they don’t. You may think you washed your hands well until that night when you go take our your contacts. To avoid burning eyes, you can either wear rubber the gloves while handling your cut peppers or just wash your hands really, really well. Pretend you’re in Kindergarten and sing the ABCs. Twice. Once your peppers are all cleaned out, just slice or dice as the recipe calls for.
You could also try one of these jalapeno corers! I just heard about them! Has anyone ever used one?