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Frogs and Reapers



Kevin eating the Reaper was...painfully epic. He said it was the hottest thing he's ever eaten, substantially hotter than the Reaper we bought from Fiddlehead Farm last year. He said this between spoonfuls of yogurt, gasping, and then dumping sugar directly on his tongue in a desperate attempt to break up the oils. He had eaten a very small slice off the end, with no seeds.

Then he got some of the juice on his face and was scrubbing it with Tecnu, the poison-ivy remover, trying to get it off. It's...um. Quite a thing.

I feel this weird mix of satisfaction and horror. On the one hand, I didn't get into gardening to make things that destroy the taste buds. On the other, I have succeeded in what we'll call a mid-level gardening challenge--peppers aren't hard at all, but the super-hots can be dicey, and part of the challenge is making them come out super-hot, since we get so much water here in NC. (In another year, I might not have succeeded as well--the drought helped. I hand-watered them all, no irrigation, so I could balance the watering against the weather.)

On the gripping hand, they're dangerous and also useless. You can't cook with them. If I dried one and ground it into powder, other than the screaming as grains got in my eye, I could put maybe two grains in a gallon of chili. The guy who makes Cackalacky sauce wants a couple for a special Halloween blend, so a few will go to good homes, but there's honestly no point in growing them again in the garden. You can't use them for anything. I might save seeds from a couple Reapers just to have them, but I don't know that I'll bother, since their germination rates are really poor.

Next year, I've got a single Thai pepper from the owner of Thai Lanna restaurant, who brought her seeds over from Thailand, and twenty seeds of a Bolivian pepper, the name of which means something like "Lunatic Caterpillar." I'm growing just those two, widely separated, so that I can get enough seed to save. In practice, it seems like we use Habeneros, Jalapenos, and Thai peppers, and I bet we'd use Shishito, too, so I may give them a try in 2017.

On his face (and possibly in your mouth) you might try a bit of baking soda. It's a very weak base but might be helpful.

It's not an acid/base thing at all. Capsaicin is soluble in oil but not in water, which makes washing it off difficult.

Dear godfathers it sounds dangerous! I imagine you gardening in surgical gloves just to harvest the dreaded objects. I'm not a hot pepper eater, I had a painful experience with something fat, green and 1.5" long in an Indian restaurant (with no yoghurt on hand), and I've been afraid of peppers ever since. Congratulations on creating a chemical weapon though. Send presents of hot sauce to politicians. 😈

Shishito peppers are delicious, but padrons are even more so; I would grow padrons by preference. The heat level in both is variable but never weapons-grade.


I wish I had at least one of those to put in my REGRET sauce.

Is there a way to get you one? Do you need fresh peppers for REGRET? I could dry one, but if you need fresh, I could do it priority in a cold pack, maybe?

Well a quick Google suggests you could turn them into a natural pesticide. Or do you know anyone who needs to make pepper spray? (This is NOT a serious suggestion!)

Is it just the water or do other things influence the hotness of peppers my OH grew some in a tub and they turned out very hot indeed.

Edited at 2015-09-19 08:36 pm (UTC)

Birds are unaffected by capsaicin. She could put shreds of the peppers in her bird feeder to keep the squirrels out of it. My parents are trying crushed hot pepper as a way to keep the deer from raiding the bird feeder.

I dunno. Weaponized garding sounds very 'you' in a weird way. Which might be the only way to be You, so I repeat myself.

For future victims, alcohol will break up chili oils, according to Alton Brown. So, swish with vodka, basically.

He was. Apparently it was on the back of the throat and he couldn't get the vodka there ENOUGH.

Shishitous are amazing and I love them! <3 Congratulations on your deadly hot pepper! :D

i read this and cringe. i cannot do anything with capsaicin at all, no matter how mild. :/ not to mention allergies to bell pepper that i don't even want to imagine how that may cross-react...

the wee frog is adorable, and reminds me of one of my mama's rings...it's a very lifelike wee tree frog that wraps it's long legs around her finger! (the legs are the shank of the ring) i keep teasing her that i WANT that silly ring, but in actuality her fingers are very thin and it wouldn't fit. :) i enjoy your photos, so very much!

Are you sensitive to other nightshades: tomatoes, potatoes, pimientos, tomatillos, etc? Peppers are in the nightshade family—and even goji berries, I just found out!

I seriously hope Ursula video'd Kevin eating that reaper—maybe while playing a tango.

I actually just listened to that recording, so I should have known better, but as I was scrolling down my feed I just caught "frog" and "reaper" very impressionistically and thought "Death of Frogs" -- you know, lil froggy skeleton in a robe and all.

I guarantee you some crazy bastards will make hot sauce out of Reapers. I have a friend who sprinkles bhut jolokas on his food.

*ears perk* Spicy Halloween Cackalacky? I must have this!

Is it bad of me that I want to try growing those now?

OTOH, pretty sure that would land me on some sort of watch list...

What you do with peppers that hot to make them useful: Put a couple of them in the blender with water to cover, and blend on high for at least 15 minutes. What you want to come out with is a thin slurry in which there is no identifiable speck of actual pepper. This is key. Then you add that slurry to a pot of chili, but you don't eat that chili directly. Instead, you freeze it in cubes and use it by the cube to add heat to chili made with less-exotic ingredients.

Alternatively, if you're going to a potluck, you make 1 BIG pot of chili with no hot peppers at all, labeled "False Alarm", and 1 smaller pot with the slurry, labeled "Nuclear Holocaust". People can get chili from the big pot and use the smaller one for seasoning to personal taste. Note: don't do this unless you're sure nobody in the group at the potluck will be either too witless to understand the procedure -- don't laugh, I've seen it happen! -- or so foolhardy as to want to engage in a dicksizing contest (which my partner got to witness once when he did the 2-pots thing).

I figure the dicksizers get what they have coming to them, on that one. Perhaps they'll learn something.

FOR SCIENCE!!! (Also, it was nice of Kevin to donate his tongue as a test platform. Hopefully he will someday have functional taste buds once again.)

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