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Australia Idle Science

Why Chilies Are Hot and Yogurt Puts Out the Fire 184

Posted by timothy
from the hence-the-kefir-in-the-spray-bottle dept.
bazzalunatic writes "The hottest chili in the world was made by Australians earlier this year, but how did they get the chilies so hot? Seems that worm juice is the key to revving up the capsaicin. And milk and yogurt are best to douse the heat, as they have fats that can absorb the capsaicin — which actually hijacks the neurons that detect heat."
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Why Chilies Are Hot and Yogurt Puts Out the Fire

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  • Hm... (Score:4, Funny)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday September 29, 2011 @02:40PM (#37558156) Homepage Journal

    So that means I should carry around yogurt to throw on my eyes during a date.
    • by Dyinobal (1427207)
      A date or a protest, it's sort of like a towel in that way.
    • by cayenne8 (626475)
      Damn....The Aussies misspelled it. I was thinking they'd won a chile contest....not bread the hottest pepper.

      The pepper itself is spelled chile.....if you're making the dish with ground chiles, beef and sometimes beans....originated I think in Texas, that would be spelled chili.

      • by Dyinobal (1427207)
        I'm afraid your wrong the pepper is spelled Chili or the UK spelling of Chilli
      • As a Texan native, let me point out that beans are only optional in the North.
        • by Dyinobal (1427207)
          Ya I mean who makes Chili with out some beans, or even a mix of different types of beans. I typically use a mix of kidney and pinto beans.
        • by Vegeta99 (219501)

          As a Pennsylvania native, I can assure you that beans are not optional. Somebody fed you sloppy joes without a bun.

          • by FatAlb3rt (533682)
            Maybe that's why Pennsylvania chili is so famous.
            • by cayenne8 (626475)
              Yeah...I find if you go very far up north....it isn't chili either.

              I had some chili from a family that was in the northern most part of Kentucky. Their chili?

              Man, if there was anything in it besides, ground beef, beans, water and salt and pepper, I missed it.

              No heat...no flavor...ugh.

              I find that most foods tend to get flavorless quickly as soon as you leave the south and head up north.

              I don't mean bland just in 'not hot'...but no seasoning whatsoever....

              • by wierd_w (1375923)

                You forgot the single most important ingredient.

                Cumin

                Substituting cumin for oregano in all meat chilli magically transforms it into spaghetti sauce.

                Buy a bottle, open it, and smell it. It smells like chilli. It is what makes chilli, chilli, and not sloppy joe mix, maranara sauce, or spaghetti sauce.

        • by maiki (857449)
          Chili (née "Chile con carne", or "chili peppers with meat") originally had no beans. "Texas-style chili contains no beans and may even be made with no other vegetables whatsoever besides chili peppers." This is from the fount of all knowledge, Wikipedia [wikipedia.org].
        • I'd say that the meat is optional, rather than the beans.

          I'm not a native, but I'm stuck here in Texas.

      • Are you by any chance from the US Southwest?

        I grew up in NM and spell it that way too, but the other places I've lived don't.

        • by cayenne8 (626475)

          Are you by any chance from the US Southwest?

          I grew up in NM and spell it that way too, but the other places I've lived don't.

          Nope..I live in New Orleans.

          • Are you by any chance from the US Southwest?

            I grew up in NM and spell it that way too, but the other places I've lived don't.

            Nope..I live in New Orleans.

            nice, i live in southern mississippi, just up the road from you so hello neighbor - and i like chili in my hot dogs, my homemade chili, on tortilla chips and who knows what else.

            • by plopez (54068)

              You should try a bratwurst wrapped in a tortilla w/ chili and cheese on it. Be sure to wash it down with a good pilsner (in other words *not* XX or Corona)

      • by BluBrick (1924)

        The past tense of breed is not spelled the same way as the stuff you use for sandwiches, it's bred.

        At least it is here in Australia where we spell the hot pepper "chili" (sometimes "chilli"). As for the dish made with ground chilis, beef and sometimes beans, we usually refer to it by its longer name of chili con carne (literally chili with meat). However, when spelled with an "e" on the end, the word Chile is always a proper noun that refers to a country on the west coast of South America.

      • by Macgrrl (762836)

        The hot vegetable referred to in this article is called a "chilli pepper" in Australian grocery stores and supermarkets.

        What Americans refer to as a "bell pepper" we call "capsicum".

    • by gknoy (899301)

      I know you're joking, but the article the other day about protesters getting pepper sprayed mentioned that the first aid for that is to put liquid antacids in your eyes, effectively. I imagine that fat-based products might help there. .... please don't test this.:D I can make no promises that it'd be a wise idea to put anything in your eyes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 29, 2011 @02:49PM (#37558262)

    Fortunately for heat-seekers, it appears capsaicin does not cause permanent tissue damage, even in high doses.

    "It's what I call 'fake pain'," says Mark. "It doesn't actually cause you physical harm, even though it feels like it."

    Like that pain box in Dune.

    So, the next time when eating Thai with these peppers...

    I must not fear.
    Fear is the mind-killer.
    Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
    I will face my fear.
    I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
    And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
    Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
    Only I will remain.

  • by LordNacho (1909280) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @03:00PM (#37558442)

    always made me think people have a few taste buds in their anus. I mean how else can it feel hot right?

    Turns out it's just the irritant effect. My wife reminds me of this each time now.

    • by ae1294 (1547521) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @03:07PM (#37558524) Journal

      always made me think people have a few taste buds in their anus. I mean how else can it feel hot right?

      Turns out it's just the irritant effect. My wife reminds me of this each time now.

      Wow, your wife is really all up your ass about that..

    • Um. Taste buds are for, you know, tasting. Chili's will irritate your eyes, nose, throat, all around your mouth, your intestines, cuts.. probably your ears.. anything sensitive pretty much. They're also awesome.

    • by Beorytis (1014777)

      >Turns out it's just the irritant effect.

      No. TFA says that capsaicin receptors are in other areas of the body besides the tongue. Capsaicin can fool nerve cells into sensing high temperature anywhere.

      • by Greyfox (87712)
        Yeah, the first time I made my green chile I roasted and peeled some jalepinos. Got pepper juice from wrist to elbow, in the process, and that entire area was burning for about 4 hours afterward.
    • What crawled up her butt?

    • by plopez (54068)

      That effect is also good for intestinal parasites. It drives them right out of your system from what I understand.

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      always made me think people have a few taste buds in their anus. I mean how else can it feel hot right?

      From here [australian...hic.com.au]

      The chilli is so scorching, that Marcel and his team have to wear protective gear when handling the new variety. "If you don't wear gloves your hands will be pumping heat for two days later," he says.

      It's 1,463,700 Scoville units.

    • I've maintained it's not good Mexican food unless it burns twice...
    • by Guppy (12314)

      always made me think people have a few taste buds in their anus.

      Funny, but the GI tract actually does have taste receptors, at least for sweet, bitter, and possibly umami.

  • by joeflies (529536) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @03:03PM (#37558478)
    Attention to the thief eating my pizza from the company refrigerator, may this serve as your fair warning that you just might bite into a sample of the Australian Worm Juice the next time you steal a slice.
    • Awesome idea. Now if I can just find a way to slip it into a soda can (work) or beer bottle (home).
      • by dargaud (518470)

        Awesome idea. Now if I can just find a way to slip it into a soda can (work) or beer bottle (home).

        I homebrew and I just made my second batch of chilly beer: I just put a small chilly in each bottle before starting the 2nd fermentation. Most people who've tried it love it, it's very good to drink as an appetizer, with olive and chips. Some people hate it tough. More for us ! I make it from a strong blond.

        • by wierd_w (1375923)

          You will have better results using dried thai peppers. You can get them in a 20lb bag at most asian stores.

          The part you actually want are the seeds.

          Crush up the peppers, then winnow them outside to get just the seeds. (If you don't know what winnowing is, google is your friend)

          Take the seeds inside and process them dry inside a small food processor until they are a fine powder. Seeds are mostly carbohydrates, and when finely powdered like this, will feed the yeast just fine. The digestive action of the yea

      • For beer you can get a bottle capper for about $15. For soda, a plastic bottle.. I think it's possible to get the cap off without breaking the safety ring if you push it up while you're unscrewing it
    • In case folks were wondering...

      A worm farm is basically a box that contains compost, dirt, and worms. You add food scraps and compost to the top. The worms chew through and digest the compost and food scraps. Worm juice is the fluid that collects at the bottom of a worm farm. It is not (as I first thought) made by throwing worms in a juicer. Worm juice is a very effective and safe fertilizer.
      • well, to be even more exact, it's not just about the fertilizer quality of the juice - TFA says:

        but what makes it particularly effective for bringing out the heat are the bodies of insects that have decomposed in the worm farm. "The insects in there are living and dying pretty rapidly, and bits of their shell will break down," says Mark. "When you apply the juice to the plants' roots, they think they're getting eaten by insects." In response, the chillies produce more of their defensive compounds like caps

        • by wierd_w (1375923)

          Adding wood ashes to the soil also has a strong effect on the heat of peppers. Pepper plants are alkaline loving, and a high potash content promotes obscene hotness in hot peppers.

        • I hope I didn't brain my damage.

          Your sig is a quote from the Simpsons episode where Homer eats the Guatemalan Insanity Peppers. How appropos.
    • by plopez (54068)

      It's good for keeping pets from chewing on electrical cords (or anything else for that matter). It causes no harm to the pet and might just save its life.

      • Not my stupid dog, he just licked all the hot spray off, seemed to like it. (shrug) My ex's dog didn't care for it at all.
  • by dargaud (518470)
    I've just grown by first crop of capsain-rich chillies, but I'm no specialist (I prefer them tasty, not life threatening). So if fat is so good at getting rid of the heat, why not take a mouthful of lard, or gargle with olive oil ?!?
    • why not take a mouthful of lard, or gargle with olive oil ?!?

      Do you really have to ask that question?

      Incidentally, FTA: "My favourite remedy is olive oil," he says, "but it's not the most pleasant."

      • I know enough people from the mediterranean area who would, just for the taste, take a tablespoon full of olive oil, every now and then. To be honest, if it is a really good oil, it is not unpleasant.
    • by rolfwind (528248)

      FTFA:

      "Something with a lot of fat in it - like yogurt or milk - is going to dissolve the compound and wash it away," says Mark Peacock, a plant scientist from the University of Sydney, who this year helped to cultivate the world's hottest chilli, the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T. "My favourite remedy is olive oil," he says, "but it's not the most pleasant."

    • by St.Creed (853824)

      That is actually what you do when you eat the Szechuan hot pot in Chengdu, China (Szechuan being the region in China famous for its spicy food). You have a bowl of sesame oil next to your plate and after you dip the meat/shrimp/fish in the hotpot (a bowl of boiling chili-oil, basically) you then either eat them like that (ouch) or run them through the sesame oil (with some other stuff, I think some vinegar too), which makes it edible for people like me. Actually, I think it improves the taste.

  • *looks at the Carribean Red Habenero powder*
    *look at kidlet's strawberry yogurt*
    Excellent...
  • Yoghurt to cut the burn has been a staple of East Indian cooking for millenia. Plus a nice mango lassi to top off a meal is tasty.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @04:43PM (#37560084)
    It's not a very "scientific" article if they neglected to mention that capsaicin is not just soluble in fats but also in alcohol.

    You need more than a couple of percent, though, so a beer isn't going to help you much. A glass of port or something stronger, like swishing a shot of whiskey or vodka around in your mouth, will whisk a lot of the capsaicin away.
    • Alternatively a bottle of Vodka with 4 or 5 Thai hot peppers (left to sit for a couple of months) makes both awesome Bloody Marys and an e-ticket shot when served out of the freezer. Take the shot and your mouth keeps getting hotter for about 2 minutes, you sweat and flush, I call it a 'Hot Flash'. Menopausal women want to force it on their men like a preggo and a sympathy belly (and yet they refuse to shave in a sympathy bald spot).

      Tried it with Scotch bonnets. Too hot. No pepper flavor, just pure heat.

    • by istartedi (132515)

      I realize it's just one data point; but it didn't work for me. One time I accidently started chomping on one of the Szechuan peppers in my chicken kung pao. By the time I realized what I was doing, it was too late and I had a mouth full of chomped up pepper. My room-mates said, "there's cold beer in the fridge, that'll help". No dice. On top of the burning, all I had was a slight fizzy sensation from the carbonation. Only time helped.

    • by pauljlucas (529435) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @09:49PM (#37562440) Homepage Journal

      You need more than a couple of percent [of alcohol], though, so a beer isn't going to help you much. A glass of port or something stronger, like swishing a shot of whiskey or vodka around in your mouth, will whisk a lot of the capsaicin away.

      According to Alton Brown [youtube.com], you need pure ethyl alcohol.

    • by Zebedeu (739988)

      Mythbusters tested this. Actually they testes many so-called cures for the burning sensation, and alcohol was one of them.

      It wasn't really working, but then as the guys got drunk suddenly they didn't care as much.
      Kari, who was judging the results and in the end she concluded: "alcohol is a cure for spice like it's a cure for ugly -- it doesn't really help, but at least you don't care".

      • And many thousands of other people have tested it and found that it works.

        Like Alton Brown, Mythbusters is good, but not perfect.
  • The article mentions that the reason we like chili is partly explained because it releases endorphins. Why dont they just say they don't really know?

  • Being from New Mexico, I gotta interject that there is a difference between Chili and Chile.

    "Chili" is that soupy stuff that Texans like and often is mostly beans in a spicy sauce.
    `
    "Chile" and the other hand is what grows on plants, and is a key ingredient of "chili."

    </pedantry>

  • ...you should gargle with Mazolla.

  • I have set my mouth on fire more than once only to find that milk didn't stop me from crying like a little girl for one second. The only thing that works like a fire extinguisher is lime juice in water. It is like a light switch. You don't even need that much lime juice so you don't have to replace one misery with another. I suspect that something in it destroys the molecules that either induce pain or detect pain. Maybe the heat doesn't work in an acidic environment?

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