Spicy foods range from mild to chemical warfare hot. When your mouth is on fire, reach for these items to help cool off that “OMG I’m gonna die!” sensation! Find out more on today’s Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer!
Growing up I was lucky I could handle the spice level of ketchup. Yeah I know, I was a wuss. You see Mom never made spicy foods; it just wasn’t in her wheelhouse. Mexican foods weren’t around. I think our first exposure to Mexican cuisine was when the first Chi-Chi’s opened in Pittsburgh. I honestly think that was the first time I ever had chips and salsa. OMG, where had this been my whole life? So imagine my surprise when I took the first bite of chip with salsa only to feel like my mouth was going to melt off of my face (yeah I was a wuss then). The waiter gave me milk which helped to calm the heat though it didn’t stop me from shoveling it in my face.
Throughout the years my love of spice definitely bloomed as well did my tolerance for heat. It wasn’t until my most recent trip to Mexico where I tried some of the hottest salsas and sauces I swear to known to man kind did I know about the tricks to help tame the heat quickly. And also why those tricks worked while plain ice water doesn’t.
Once it was explained to me what each does it made sense. Carbs – like bread help soak up any excess spices or oils from the peppers still in your mouth. Proteins are what does the real trick. Such proteins like milk, yogurt, sour cream or even ice cream contains the protein casein. This protein acts as a neutralizer to break down capsaicin – or the ‘burning component of foods’. It’s funny as you can buy capsaicin spray which is what is used for bear spray. Yes think about it, enough capsaicin spray can stop a bear annnnnnnnnnnnd you eat foods that have it in it. Crazy, right?
So I’m sure you’re wondering “well that’s great but why doesn’t water, beer or soda work?” Capsaicin is fat-soluble and since water, soda and beer contain little to no fat, it just repels those liquids. So guzzling those liquids you’ll end up with nothing more than a buzz or a bloated belly.
Have dairy or milk allergies? These other methods are said to work as well:
→ A teaspoon of sugar in your mouth. Just put a teaspoon of sugar over your tongue and let it dissolve.
→ Peanut butter – yep, peanut butter has protein and an oil-like quality. Since oil and water doesn’t mix, oil and oil does. The oils in peanut butter can grab a hold of the heat oils and help soothe the burn.
→ Citrus – now this is one that I’ve not tested but it’s been said that the acidic in these fruits can act similarly like dairy and bind themselves to the capsaicin molecules.
I have friends that are Hispanic and Latino and they swear by salt but that has never worked for me. All I ever ended up with was a hot salty mouth that made my ears burn. LOL
….and now I want chips and salsa with all this spicy food talk!
Do you have a method that works for you?