How to Handle Hot Sauce with Care

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Making your own or having a collection of hot sauces can be a great addition to any kitchen or home. However, with this addition also comes a responsibility to yourself, the people you live with and the people for whom you cook. The responsibilities include (1) making sure all hot sauces are labeled by name and by level of hotness, (2) using appropriate care when using and storing and using gloves if hot sauces are above a certain level of hotness, and (3) making sure to warn family and friend also how to handle the hot sauces.

The chemical in peppers called capsaicin is where we get the sensation and subsequent endorphin release of hotness. That same chemical is what can cause pain and burning if inappropriately handled or used. Accordingly you must be careful when handling your hot sauce.

(1) Label all your hot sauces by name and hotness.

It is important to handle your hot sauces with care and a simple way to assure this happens is to make sure all bottles are labeled clearly. Not only should names be present but also some objective assessment of the total hotness. The standard in the field of peppers and hot sauce would be the total Scolville Units for the peppers used. This system may be too complicated for the average hot sauce enthusiast so your own objective assessment would be important–a scale ranging not at all hot to habanero hot. This will help to protect accidental consumption by friends and family.

(2) Use appropriate care when using and storing.

First make sure that all your hot sauces are stored in secure and sealed bottles. You must make sure that not hot sauce leaks out or residue remains on the exterior of the bottle. Make sure that the hot sauce remains out of the reach of children or anyone who will have trouble reading the labels.

When you use your hot sauce make sure that you take measures to prevent accidental exposure to mucous membranes–i.e. eyes and mouth—by way of accidental transfer from utensils or hands. You can do this by isolating the utensils to be used in hot sauce and washing them immediately after you are done using them. If necessary use disposable gloves to protect your hands. Disposable cooking gloves are inexpensive and a good way to protect your skin from small cuts. Consult the internet on how to remove gloves in such a way to prevent accidental exposure by touching only the interior of each glove during disposal.

(3) Warn family and friends about how to use hot sauce and how hot each sauce is.

Every person varies in their tolerance for hot sauce. Just because you can handle a 300,000 Scolville Unit hot sauce does not mean that your family or friends can do so equally. Make sure to tell them about your labeling system.

Everyone must be aware of how to handle hot sauce with care to prevent adverse experiences. If you are making your own sauce proper care must occur from the first moment you begin working with peppers. For others the process begins after production and has to do with proper handling, storage, use, and consumption. The goals of how to handle hot sauce with care is to prevent any accidental exposure to unintended hot sauce that can cause painful reactions to capsaicin.

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