Monday, September 16, 2013

why ketchup is my new best friend.

Life is never dull.
Our family grows hot peppers. 

^^that's a bit of Hebrew poetry for you. Rephrasing the same idea with different words to prove a point. 

I repeat: Our family grows hot peppers. I don't know why, but we do. I guess it's because my daddy has always liked hot stuff and thought he should try growing the little fire balls themselves.

I don't know. But we grow them.

Actually, our family now has a reputation for hot peppers in all forms - fresh, chopped, dehydrated, ground to powder, salsa-fied, etc. This reputation has often preceded us, and we have a quite a name. My dad and myself almost always bring peppers with us to social gatherings, just in case anyone wants to try one. We both get a kick out of watching folks try these little guys for the first time. Or the tenth.

What is not so commonly known is that we not only grow hot peppers, but they grow themselves.. And they grow very well. They are prolific. We're talking PROLIFIC.

pro·lif·ic adjective \prə-ˈli-fik\
: producing a large amount of something

So, what to do with this abundance of peppers? You can only give away (or ship away - yes, I'm looking at y'all, my Ellerslie family. You got the package. *wink*) so many. 

We process them.

That's a fancy word for chopping them up. Just sounds more appealing somehow. But we really do process them. We slice them open down the middle and dehydrate them - then we can grind them to powder later and use it all year long, or mix various varieties together to create the notorious "Morales Fire Flakes"…or we chop them up and make salsas of various intensities.

On Saturday, I chopped them up for salsa - but a salsa with hardly any diluting agent. It's pretty hot.

One thing that I, in my great humility and humbleness, have refused to do is wear gloves while cutting peppers. It's never irritated me like it has my mother or sisters, so why bother? I like feeling my fingers anyway.


That changed.

So, on said Saturday afternoon, about six hours after chopping up four pounds of various varieties of hot peppers (including jalapeño, habanero, caribbean red, anaheim chili and chinese five color), my hands began to feel a little funny. I've had hot pepper burns before, so I wasn't alarmed and continued on with my day.

By bedtime, I was a mess. I couldn't sleep, couldn't focus on anything, felt my mental functions turning off to try to block out the pain throbbing through my fingertips. Finally, I swallowed my pride, climbed back out of bed and went to find my mommy. *waahhhh!*

We tried a lot of things. Coconut oil, my best friend and daily companion, failed me. As did lavender oil. So I just sat with my hand in a bowl of water (instant salvation) and waited for Mama to Google something that would work. First thing - washing my hands with shampoo, then rubbing with vaseline. I'll give it some credit, it helped for ten whole minutes, but after that it was back with ferocity. Well, pooh. 

And then, we found it.

My new best friend. Sorry, coconut oil. Feel the burn.

Ketchup. *dun-da-daaa!*

I sat for fifteen minutes at our kitchen table at 10pm at night trying not to fall asleep with my hand in a bowl of ketchup. 

This is my life, my friends. This is my life.

For all its awkwardness though, there was quite a glorious result - soft, slightly prune-ified, pink-tinted fingers and no burning sensation at all.

I'd like to think I've learned a lesson from all this. Something about wearing gloves while cutting hot peppers, perhaps? But it might just be that ketchup is the perfect kitchen companion for those who continue to live in stubborn rebellion.

Moral of the story: I don't like gloves and I love ketchup.

Oh, and Mamas are the best. Especially mine.


  1. Wow, your family sounds like my family! We grow a LOT of hot peppers and we make salsa from them and do just about EVERYTHING with them. And my dad puts them in everything that he eats. We give them to people too. I recognize the peppers in your pictures as peppers that we also have out in our garden. :)

  2. Awesome post! =D The peppers are beautiful. I've always thought peppers came in the nicest colors, but the hot ones can be wicked. I have a bad habit of rubbing my eyes after I work with them. It's not stubbornness, so I guess it must be stupidity. Seriously, it happens recurrently. And I don't think ketchup would help me. :)

    ~ The 14-th Assistant Kitchen Maid

  3. HA. Love it. And I love the name: Fire Flakes. It's soo.....pizazzy!

  4. Your Mama is the best!

    Ouch! I always thought I was tough too, then I got some hot pepper juice in my eye. Not sure I can begin to describe how that was.

    Your peppers look amazing! Miss you!

    1. AHHHH! Ms Tracy!!!! I miss you too! Lovely to see a comment from your sweet self on here. :) And yes, I agree, my Mama is the best. *grin* xoxoxox