Ghost Pepper 4th of July Accident

Ever hear of a Ghost Pepper? As a Former Member of the Hot Pepper Society, I was Constantly Looking for the Next Biggest, Baddest Hot Pepper. I recently was introduced to the Naga Jolokia, better known as the Ghost Pepper

After years of Hot Pepper Society meetings it was time to give it a break(there is only so much the body can bear). The saying "you are what you eat" was to be taken literally, at both ends, because I was burning hot. That's when I focused back to Tomatoes, a sweeter, less threatening vegetable / fruit.

This year I was unexpectedly re-introduced to Very Hot Peppers by two fellow gardeners.

One brought me the seeds of a Northeast U.S. favorite, the Italian Long Hot from New jersey. These were claimed to be a very hot version.

Another brought me a Pepper Plant claiming it was the Hottest Pepper in the World.The Naga Jolokia better known as the Ghost Pepper from India.

Hot Peppers are back in the tomato patch! My Experimental side placed the little Ghost Pepper directly behind my garden insectory flanked on either side with the Long Hot seedlings I had started. Both Long hots were flanked on one side by San Marzanos and my recently California acquired Black from Tula.

It would prove to be cross pollination Heaven, or Hell in this case. Sweet and spicy tomatoes make great sauce and salsa.

I used to think of Scotch Bonnet as one of the nastiest peppers in existence until I tried these two new Hotties. The Ghost Pepper is about TEN times hotter! The first harvest proved to be insane.

First, I moved with caution and rubber gloves preparing my First Tropical Ghost Salsa. (combining Ghost Pepper and my Salsa Recipe by adding Mango and pineapple).

Proceeding with caution I used 1(one) Medium sized Red Ghost removing the seeds and veins in an attempt to reduce the heat. I finely chopped the meat and added it one quart of salsa. Unbearably Hot!

After tripling the recipe and adding two more tomatoes and mangoes. The recipe was very hot and tasty. One little Pepper held heat in one gallon of salsa. Amazing!

The little Ghost plant grew big and produced massive volumes of these little devils. I tried to give them away, there were very few takers.

Just to give you an idea of how hot this pepper is in relationship to a pepper you think is very hot, here is the Scoville Scale Chart.

Next, in the kitchen were the, as I call them, Mutant Long Hots. These peppers took on the exact color and wrinkly appearance of the Ghost Pepper.

Cautious again, armed with rubber gloves I used the same seeding procedure as the Ghosts and decided to go traditional, Italian peppers and onions. While these looked the same as Ghosts, the smell was richer and sweeter.

Sauteing the peppers and onions, I realized the devil was at my door. We couldn't walk near the kitchen without our eyes and faces feeling like they were on fire! And that was just the cooking steam.

There wasn't enough Italian bread in the world to stop the pain when eaten.

We did discover uses for both recipes. Both the Salsa and Peppers and Onions were used as roasting and grilling marinates, producing great flavor on fish, chicken, pork and steak. The marinates would have to be totally removed before serving.

So, with huge crops of veggies no one in their right mind would eat, I decided to dry them and grind them for pepper flakes. This would probably require Haz-Met suits, masks and gloves. But, first they would have to strung and air dried.

The great 4th of July Ghost Pepper accident

Rubber gloves, a sharp needle and strong string I began stringing 4th of July morning. I completed the first string and hung it outside. My forearms and face were tingling with a slight burn from the dust of some of the partially dried peppers.

Into the second string I couldn't help looking at how red the string and gloves were getting from the fresher juicier little Ghost Peppers.

When stringing peppers to air dry the, needle and string need to go through the seed shoulder (the hottest part of the pepper).

My cook side started daydreaming about what kind of soup that hot string would make.

Just as I was in full dream mode I came upon a very tough pepper and without thinking (I do that now and then, usually the results are similar) I drove the hell coated needle into the fingerprint side of my left index finger.

Ever see those movies when someone is shot and they don't realize it right away?

"Oh (expletive)" is all I could mutter as I watched my finger swell with liquid (my body and brain saying "get that the hell outta here!"). I then realized My finger was paralyzed. I'm guessing the needle and the hot Ghost Pepper juice hit a nerve or something.

Suddenly came the heat and the Extreme Pain.

I finally was able to move the finger an hour later while enduring intense pain. I regained movement in the poisoned finger just about the same time the my hard head was yielding to the thought that maybe it's time for the hospital. Yes! The hard head prevailed, this time.

All I had to deal with was the next two hours of intense heat/pain inside the finger and seemingly all the veins in my hand.

I was all better just in time for the real 4th of July Fireworks, although they weren't quite as exciting as injecting Ghost Pepper.

I can't wait to see how the Haz-Met Pepper grinding goes!?

The Moral of the Story

Always proceed with caution and pay attention when handling Guns and VERY HOT PEPPERS.

Did I mention how much I love tomatoes?

Happy 4th of July!

Can a Tomato Adventure get as out of control as this Ghost Pepper disaster?
Oh yeah! This Summer seek out Tomato Festivals gone wild!

This Summer American Tomato Festivals get Hot!

While the Ghost Pepper would take most recipes to an oral hell. Peppers are great garden companions for tomatoes.

But it doesn't stop there! Peppers sweet, hot or super hot are an interesting variation for just about any Tomato recipe.

Peppers as Garden Companions
Tomato recipes can be enhanced by Peppers