Friday, March 23, 2007

Wouldn’t You Like To Be A Pepper, Too?

Ok, I posted the previous story so I could tell you this one…

Anyone know what these are? Yep – Scotch Bonnets. The Scotch Bonnet is reputed to be one of the world's hottest peppers, measuring 100000-350000 Scoville units! Even Alton Brown, of Good Eats fame, handles them with non-permeable gloves.

If you read the previous post, and bothered to go to the Choice Produce website to see the beautiful peppers swags, you may have noticed the bright orange, round accent peppers amongst the finery. When I received my two swags via FedEx and unwrapped them at home, I discovered a few of these cuties had fallen off, along with a handful of the skinny chilies.

Critter LOVES pepperoncinis and most anything hot and spicy. I carefully set the handful of peppers, including the orange ones, next to her at the dining table and told her she could have them.

“But be careful,” I warned. “I think the orange ones are Scotch Bonnets.”

“No they’re not,” Critter replied. “I just ate one – it’s a small bell pepper.”

“Are you sure? I think they’re Scotch Bonnets.”

Long pause. “Well, the seeds are hot…” And within moments, Critter was standing, waving her hand in front of her mouth, gasping for water, and tears streaming down her face. Her whole head turned red as I quickly poured her a glass of milk. She dutifully sipped the milk, letting it sit on her burning tongue. It took a full 10 minutes for the burning to stop.

Of course, while all of this was happening, I was stupid enough to say “Well, I ought to be ok if I avoid the veins and seeds…” and I sampled a piece of the fleshy pepper. I spent 5 minutes with my glass of milk, and cleaning out my sinuses.

I promptly called my sister-in-law to warn her about the orange culinary bombs. And she pointed out that the largish, dark green peppers at the top were jalapeños. Um, yikes! Needless to say, I threw away the other loose peppers before more damage could be done.

All evening, Critter kept saying, “My taste buds are standing up.”

Um, sadly, no. If I remember my Alton Brown episode correctly, they actually burned off from the capsaicin (hot oil) in the pepper. And they’ll take about 3 weeks to grow back.