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(Mis) Adventures in Canning


My canning addiction now requires medication.  It’s bad I tell you 😀


We’ll get to that in a minute, but trust me, canning is not for the faint of heart.  Hot water, botulism, and lots of chopping.  It is so worth it though…and after last night I’m definitely sure of this. 🙂

One of my best church volunteers constantly gives me tomatoes from his garden to make salsa.  Ahhh, a man who truly knows the way to my heart.

Chelle sent me the recipe to her salsa from last year.  We share an intense passion for cilantro…only I was not about to put any jalapeños in my favorite condiment.  Those suckers are hot.  I went to the farmer’s market Wednesday in search of salsa ingredients as well as many many more for other canning experiments.  I asked a farmer for a pepper with a bit of spice but not too hot.  I wanted medium salsa not flame thrower stuff.  I believed the guy who grew them and picked up four of these….

cherry bomb

Now it might surprise you I know a lot about peppers.  It might come from watching too much Food Network and History channel (or maybe Fear Factor and Survivor) but I know the difference between poblanos, serranos and scotch bonnets.  However these little beauties were new to me. Their name you may ask…Big Bombs.  How’s that for irony.  I was oblivious to their name and potent powers until Google enlightened me this morning 😉

My salsa was going along beautifully.  Sliced, diced, and into the pot it went to boil.  Then the burning started. Oh I didn’t burn the salsa…it burned me.  To be more exact the peppers burned me.  We are talking full fire spreading across my hands.  What’s the first thing you do when you burn your hands with peppers…I consult twitter. 🙂


All great suggestions my friends.  Sorry Meg, I was not about to lick my hands and risk losing my tongue but I tried all the others…and kept canning.  I washed my hands and wrapped them in milk soaked towels.  This was serious business.  By the time I was heard the “ping, ping, ping” of a successful evening my hands were fully engulfed like I could throw a fireball at any moment.

I have a pretty high pain tolerance but I gave in and called the doctor’s office.  The lovely on call doc told me my Twitter friends’ suggestions might have spread the burn from the fingers to covering my entire hand.  Oops.  Thanks for the help though ladies.  Instead I was told to sit like this.


Do you know how hard it is to read blogs when you hands are immersed in a bucket of really COLD water?  And no the nose is not the same a a finger for typing…I tried.  After an hour penance in the water my hands were still on fire.  So off to the ER we went.  Oh joy.  Remember the last time I was at the ER? At least this trip had a funny story.  I calmly said “I was making salsa.” when the triage nursed asked me what happened.

After a bit of a wait while my hands melted several ice packs, the doc gave me a diagnosis…Contact Dermatitis.  Apparently my skin is super sensitive to the pepper oils.  Normal course of treatment…Prednisone.  IMG_3866No thanks Doc…notice the ALLERGY bracelet…that means Prednisone too.  Dr. Funny said “but of course that would make you vomit like crazy.” Medical terminology…gotta love it.  Uh I’ll take the hands on fire please.  Instead he prescribed the medications you saw at the top.  Lidocaine and Hydrocortisone to numb my hands and reduce the inflammation.  I thought it looked like cinnabon frosting.

*Side Note: You know you are a crazy blogger when you wish you had your camera to document the antics at the ER when you burn your hands with peppers. :-)*

It did numb my hands slightly but made blogging difficult last night.  Hence the post today.  At least I got my salsa finished.


After all the drama with the peppers I had to test a jar.  I wanted to know if I was going to breath fire. 🙂


Not hot at all.  Tasted like my favorite salsa ever from a now defunct Mexican Restaurant.


At least now I have 6 pints (5 full, 2 half) of yummy cilantro salsa.  It should last about 6 weeks. 🙂

BTW my hands weren’t the only thing on fire last night…


But that is a story for another day 🙂

20 Comments leave one →
  1. 10/09/2010 11:35 AM

    Oh my goodness lady, I’m glad you’re ok!! OUCH!! I think this might make me not want to try this whole canning business. At least you didn’t wipe your nose 😉

    • 10/09/2010 11:41 AM

      The canning wasn’t the problem it was the pepper. Hunni’s solution is…don’t trust farmers 🙂 Try the canning…it’s worth it and fun. Minus the peppers 😀

      I’m fine. I was more worried because I had an itch in my eye and almost touched it.

  2. Melissa permalink
    10/09/2010 11:42 AM

    Can you take benedryl or claritin or anything? SOmetimes working these things from “the inside out” helps too…

    I’m so sorry you had burning hands!!! I need to go get myself some gloves this weekend before I start my hot pepper rings. Remember, pepper spray comes from peppers!! ouch!!!

    • 10/09/2010 11:46 AM

      I didn’t include it but the doctor actually said salt water really helps because of pH. I already take claritin so it didn’t help 🙂

      Definitely get gloves! Now!

  3. 10/09/2010 9:35 PM

    Ouch! I hope you’re feeling better 😦

    Cute pictures of your salsa tasting, though!

    • 10/09/2010 10:29 PM

      I’m fine. The burning was gone by noon today. Lesson learned but great story to tell now 🙂

  4. 10/09/2010 9:51 PM

    Hope your feeling better!

    That’s great that you are stocked on salsa . . . Well, for the 1.5 months anyway 🙂

    • 10/09/2010 11:15 PM

      I’m feeling much better thanks 🙂

      I’m seriously planning to make more but Hunni bought gloves for the next batch 🙂

  5. 11/09/2010 7:30 AM

    A few weeks ago we tried canning salsa as well. We didn’t the same experience we it was an adventure. Check it out. Thanks for sharing your story, even if it did hurt.

  6. 11/09/2010 7:38 PM

    LOL Cynthia! I cannot believe this ended in a trip to the ER! I am sure glad your hands are ok.

    • 11/09/2010 7:46 PM

      OH Jenny! I wanted to call you my friend. I’m sure it would have made a great blog post for you too 🙂


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