Hot peppers, such as chile peppers, get their spicy, hot flavor from capsaicin located in the fruit of the pepper. The spicy factor in hot peppers is believed to be a defense mechanism preventing animals from eating the plants. Many people enjoy the added "kick" hot peppers give to a dish -- but if the peppers create a hotter taste than you prefer, it's likely your eyes will water and your tongue will burn.
Things You'll Need
Take a sip of cold milk after eating food with hot peppers that make your mouth burn. Dairy products are known to help get rid of the spicy taste on your tongue -- this is due to the casein in dairy products, which surrounds and washes away fatty capsaicin in the same way dish soap washes grease off dishes. If the spiciness is very strong or milk doesn't help, eat a couple spoonfuls of a thicker dairy product, such as plain yogurt. Plain yogurt is often served with many spicy Middle Eastern dishes for this reason.
Nibble on a plain, bland-flavored cracker, such as those crumbled up in soup, to help remove spicy capsaicin from the tongue.
Eat a spoon full of sugar. Allow the sugar to linger on your tongue for a few seconds for maximum cooling effect. Wash it down with a drink of milk and repeat these steps as much as needed until the spicy taste is gone.
Drink a few sips of cold beer. The alcohol in the beer helps wash away mild burning on the tongue because capsaicin is soluble in alcohol.
Tips & Warnings
- Serve sour cream or crackers and bread with spicy foods to help cool your tongue in between bites.
- Coat your hands with vegetable shortening or wear rubber gloves when handling hot peppers.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after washing or handling hot peppers. Capsaicin that gets on your hands can be easily transferred to your eyes or lips, resulting in pain and discomfort.
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