Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Ghost Pepper Jelly Incident

I never claimed to be the sharpest knife in the drawer.  In my life I've done some incredibly stupid things.  Today, I'm adding Making Ghost Pepper Jelly to the list.

This all began some time ago, almost two years, I think.  Somebody gave me ghost pepper seeds and I tried to grow them.  They sprouted, and died.  Only two survived because of the very cold summer we had.  I re-potted them and babied those two survivors over winter.  Then, on the day of the final frost, I re-potted them into something bigger and continued to baby them.

They flourished and I had two plants full of ghost peppers.  It was awesome.

Word got out and I brought the first couple of peppers that were ready to work.  I gave a couple to the friend who gave me the seeds, and I gave one to my manager, who split it with another guy I work with.  

They both ate half of the pepper raw.  Poor Shane was bleeding internally and out his backside.  The pepper burned its way down in some gastrointestinal Sherman's March until it arrived at the ocean.  That poor bastard!  

I even made some salsa with a few and it was a huge success despite the risk of internal bleeding and death.  

At the end of summer, I picked what was left, and froze them in a freezer bag.  The intent was to make Ghost Pepper Jelly.  I had a freezer bag with about 40 of them just waiting for their chance to pounce.  

The recipe I used was pretty much the standard one you find on Pinterest.  

3 Ghost Peppers
3 Red bell peppers
6 cups of sugar
2 cups of apple vinegar
3oz of liquid pectin.  

Simple enough, right?  

Chop up the peppers and remove all the seeds and stems.  Run it through a food processor or blender with the sugar and apple vinegar.  

Put it in a pot, boil it for 10 minutes, then add the pectin and boil for another 1 minute.  

Put it in jars and follow the basic canning instructions.

Most people look at recipes on Pinterest and think, "Oh, I'd love to try that!"  But not me.  Nope.  I look at a recipe and see all the things I could screw up and produce a nightmare.  

For example, instead of 3 ghost peppers, I used all 40 I had.  And 7 giant red bell peppers.  I adjusted the sugar and vinegar accordingly.  Plus, the pectin.  

I will say I learned a lesson from the last time I chopped up ghost peppers.  My hand was numb for about an hour then burned like hell for several more hours after that.  This time I used rubber gloves when handling the peppers.  

I said that bit so I could tell a story.  When I was a kid, we canned jalapeno peppers.  I spent about three hours chopping them for my mom.  Afterwards, I went to the bathroom.  Need more details?  


I'm also amazed at how many times a human rubs their eyes.  Wow.  

So, yeah, I made too much for my cooking pot and it boiled over.  The fumes were so bad I was coughing and gagging.  My eyes were teared up like a South Korean student protester and my skin was burning.  I must have gotten more on myself that I realized.  My arms are still burning with red marks where the toxic brew hit me.  

As a warning, I'll say that when it boils over and scorches on the heating elements of an electric oven, it smells even worse.  

But I kept on and finished filling the jars.  As I type this up, I can hear pops of different jars as they seal.  Honestly, though, most of them popped as soon as I took them out of the boiling water bath.  

HINT:  Boiling water is great at cleaning up after spilling tons of jam or having it boil over.  I used that boiling water to clean and it saved me a huge mess later on.  

HINT:  Wear gloves when cleaning the pots, pans, knives and containers used to chop or cook ghost peppers because it still burns the fuck out of your skin when doing dishes.  My hands are red and on fire.  

I even have a dozen of those adorable little jelly jars full of the toxic brew.  I say "toxic" because I haven't tasted it yet.  Not even a bit.  I'm not sure why but right now, scorching the inside of my body to go along with the outside just doesn't sound like fun.  Nope.  

I'll be bestowing these "gifts" upon unsuspecting people tomorrow at work.  After that, I'm thinking about selling off a bunch so I can get some cash.  How does $5.00 a small one sound?  Think of it as chemical warfare on the cooties trying to make you sick.  This stuff will burn all the way down and sanitize the pipes.  

While I don't have money for labels, if I can get some, I'm going to call it Uncle Ted's Semi-Famous Heinous Anus Jelly.  Just remember, it's your ass that has to deal with it, not mine.  

1 comment:

  1. At least, running for the bathroom is exercise. And doing handstands in the shower is practically aerobic, right? :D