On Wednesday afternoon, Peter and I had this brilliant plan to make some sweet chilli sauce with the hundred thousand tiny birds-eye chillies growing on the bush in our garden. Oh we were so, so stupid, and if I could rewind time to that moment and decide to go back inside and make banana cake instead, I would.
It started off pretty enough, the chillies were so gorgeous and bright and red, and I had a ripper recipe ready to go.
But as I cut those babies in half and scooped out their hot little seeded insides, my fingers began to develop a tingle. I got half way through my job before I couldn’t handle it anymore. Which was when Peter took over.
By then my fingers weren’t so much tingling as, oh I don’t know… on freaking fire!
Pete finished off the chopping, and I got them into the saucepan doing their thing. That’s how committed I was.
At about that stage, Peter’s hands started to burn too. Within half an hour, both of us were in such agony. It literally felt like you were holding your hand in a pot of boiling water. I started to develop welts on some of my fingers. Oh my word.
I jumped online (as you do) and googled, “How to stop chilli burning your hands”. I found all kinds of suggestions, including oil, salt, vinegar, milk, aloe vera. I can promise you with the greatest certainty, NONE of them work. Not one. Not even a little bit.
We started laughing. Because it was all just so ridiculous. But honestly, I don’t know that I have ever hurt that much before! Pete decided to ring the Nurse’s line, and between fits of giggles explained our predicament. It really, really wasn’t even a little bit funny, but we have a good enough sense of humour between us that we could hear how silly the whole story sounded.
The nurse told us that there really wasn’t much more to try aside from the things we had already done. We would just have to wait it out. If it got really bad we could go down to Emergency, and they would give us a shot of antihistamine, which may or may not make a difference. Oh and they may not have given it to me anyway, being 30 weeks pregnant and all. Pete went to buy some ice for us, since our hands were burning so badly that cold water from the tap actually burned them more, and we had used up all the cold water we had in the fridge.
The ice water was the only thing that offered any relief, but it was very temporary. For one, as soon as you took your hand out the pain came back with a vengeance; for two, as your hands became more pruned, the pores opened up and the chilli somehow seemed to soak in even deeper. It was crazy!!!
We finally got to bed, leaving our house in an absolute shambles because we were literally unable to do anything, our hands were completely useless to us! We lay in bed and tried to sleep, in-between groaning and exclaiming at each other how much it hurt!
It wasn’t until somewhere between 11pm and midnight that the pain finally started to ease. About 6 or 7 hours after the whole debacle began. It was literally all of a sudden, we both realised that it wasn’t hurting as much anymore. We were so relieved we nearly cried. And then we slept. Being in so much pain is exhausting!
The next day, we both were back to tingling fingers, but none of the pain from the night before. Thank the LORD!!!
So now we’re stuck with three jars of this. We both twitch a little whenever we see it. We have decided to call it Hell Sauce, because it is as hot as hades. Seriously.
And just for the record, I used twice the volume of capsicum as that of chillies to try and tone it down a bit. I think I would have been better to use, say, 4 chillies to about 3 capsicums, and that might have been a little bit palatable.
I am never, EVER touching chillies without wearing gloves again. That’s if I can even bring myself to touch a chilli again full stop!