This Southern Staple Is The Best Cure For Jalapeño Hands

Keep this first-aid ingredient stocked in your fridge

<p>Alison Miksch</p>

Alison Miksch

Last night I made a rookie cooking mistake—and I’m still paying the price. I was preparing stuffed poblano peppers for supper, and as you do with any kind of stuffed peppers recipe, I cut the peppers open and pulled out the seeds and membranes. Because they were poblano peppers, which are not supposed to be hot, I just used my fingers—no gloves. It’s a dramatic understatement to say I have regrets.

Related: Get the recipe

The burning didn’t start immediately. In fact, for some odd reason it didn’t creep up until an hour later. And when it did, it came with a vengeance. Like poison ivy, capsaicin travels wherever you take it. If you touch your eyes, get ready to cry. If you go to the restroom, well—get ready to holler. Thoughts and prayers, my friend. Anyone who’s experienced the exquisite misery of getting jalapeño juice (i.e., capsaicin, the chemical in peppers that brings the burn) on their selves knows what I’m talking about. It’s a slow, sneaky burn that creeps up on you, then quickly makes its presence known like a toddler throwing a tantrum. Frantic for relief, I ran to my friend Google to help.

Remedy 1: Soap & Water

My Result: Fail

Multiple sources claimed washing with soap and hot water would help stop the burn. I found this to be extremely untrue. In my situation, this felt like throwing water on a grease fire—it made the burn worse and spread the heat more. Later and further googling revealed that soap and water helps more if you wash your hands immediately.

Remedy 2: Burn Spray

My Result: Fail

Now fully engulfed in figurative flames, I turned to my medicine cabinet for help. I grabbed a can of first-aid burn spray and thought, “why not?” I sprayed my hands first, then closed my eyes and turned the can on my face. Despite actively macing myself, I noticed only a brief respite from the conflagration.

By this point, I was in quite a state. Blinking through tears, I keep reading for a nugget of hope. The next “magic” cure was milk. Apparently, a protein (casein) in milk, combined with fat, would do the trick. In desperation, I flung open the fridge, but to my dismay, I only had oat milk. And then I saw it…hiding in the back of the fridge was my only hope.

Remedy 3: Buttermilk

Result: My Savior For Jalapeño Hands

I grabbed the buttermilk carton, gave it a vigorous shake, then poured it over burning hands. The relief was immediate and blissful. I could almost hear the hiss of steam as it flowed over my pepper-penetrated paws, smothering the flames. Buttermilk is the best treatment for jalapeño hands—its thickness allows it to smother the capsaicin like a wet, cool blanket, and the fat and casein bind to your skin’s pain receptors, short circuiting your body’s fire alarm that won't stop beeping.

If you think my buttermilk bath stopped with my hands, you are mistaken. Nope. I straight up poured buttermilk into my hands and then splashed it onto my face. I kept my eyes closed, but I did my best to rub it in to relieve the burn. And miracle of miracles, it worked.

Of all the things I tried to soothe my burning skin, buttermilk was the best. I’ve always respected this quintessential Southern ingredient to make the best cornbread, but now I have a whole new reason to put it on a culinary pedestal. Buttermilk, you’re my hero.

But next time, you better believe I’m wearing gloves.

Related: 35 Recipes For Leftover Buttermilk

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Read the original article on Southern Living.