Burn Baby Burn

I started growing herbs back in gradeschool. One of the first herbs I first experimented with was mint. I bought chocolate mint, lemon mint, and I think bubble gum mint. Honestly I don’t even remember but I sure had fun! Mom gave me a plot of her garden that I faithfully tended and gradually stole more of my mom’s garden to increase my own. Haha.

But this is not about mint. Oh my no. Once I mastered mint (interpret that as…mint takes over with no care necessary and you will pay for it for the next 15 years as it takes over the rest of your garden…) I moved onto more challenging things like…cayenne pepper. By that time I was in highschool and taking an herbology course. My sister, Deborah, had cold hands and feet so I nominated her as my first guinea pig. Cayenne has heating properties that is supposed to help with cold extremities.  My plan was to grow my own cayenne, dry it, powder it, and put it into capsules and feed my guinea pig. She would be healed forever!

I faithfully tended my cayenne garden and finally harvested my crop. Being a wise teenager I had read that one must wear gloves during the harvesting period so not to get the juice on your hands. I bought industrial strength gloves, picked those peppers and brought them inside to de-seed. Now why I de-seeded I’m not quite sure. Looking back I could have simply hung them to dry and been done with it. But I got it in my head that I needed to de-stem and de-seed before drying. 

Now let me tell ya that once you cut into a fresh cayenne pepper that pepper is in the air. Ho. Ly. Cow. My eyes watered but I kept cutting my peppers. Then the itch happened. Ya know those nose itches that are super intense? Yea. Well with stinging eyes I took a swipe at my nose with my arm. I thought I would be safe since I hadn’t touched the peppers with my ARM. Weeeeeel….that juice in the air was also on my arm and I immediately started screeching. Off came the industrial strength gloves. Not thinking (or semi thinking…cuz I HAD had gloves on to prevent this very problem, right?) I rubbed my nose with my hand thinking it would be safe of the pepper essence. It wasn’t. Now my whole face was burning and I honestly thought there were flames leaping off of it. 

And thus started the mad fury dash for extinguishing the flames. First I tried cold water. Didn’t phase the burn. Then I remembered about milk cutting hot things. Grabbed it out of the fridge and splashed it on. A second of relief. Then for some reason I thought of bread…so I rubbed some bread on my face. Haha, wow. That sounds even more dumb in writing. And guess what? It didn’t help. To tell you the truth I don’t remember how long my face burned but in the end it was time that made it go away. I was sorely disappointed milk didn’t help. Or bread. I mean, come on.

Moral of this blooper…when you harvest cayenne. Seriously. Just let it dry. Then (I still would suggest industrial strength gloves) make it into a powder. Your face will thank you. 

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