"Cooling off" hot chili peppers in Greek pepper brine?
November 29, 2014 1:10 PM   Subscribe

I have too-hot-to-eat chili peppers, but also a jar of milder pepperoncini brine. Can the latter "cool" the former?

A while back, the grocery was out of Greek peppers so I bought some Hot Chili Peppers. They are WAY TOO HOT to snack on, for me. I've now got a jar of milder pepperoncinis that's almost empty. (Fridge photo here.)

I plan to drain the too-hots and put them in the milder brine (or whatever we call the leftover juice) of Greek peppers. Will the hot peppers lose some of their heat, so's I can eat? Any tricks or additions I should consider?

posted by easement1 to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Capsaicin (the spicy compound in peppers) is fat-soluble. Eat sour cream or milk, or basically anything dairy/fatty with spicy food to take away the sting.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 1:17 PM on November 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

The brine won't do anything. You could use them in a dip or spread with cream cheese, sour cream, or mayo (or all of the above!) to take out some of the sting, but the milder brine is milder because it had mild peppers in it. It didn't make them mild.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:47 PM on November 29, 2014 [5 favorites]

I would try boiling the brine and immediatey pouring it over the peppers, it may help them to "give up" some of their heat to the brine. Either way, they will certainly be less spicy if you halve them and scoop out the seeds & inner membrane (wear gloves if you do this).
posted by STFUDonnie at 2:44 PM on November 29, 2014

If you cook something with the too-hot peppers, add sugar to it. Cuts the heat significantly.
posted by adamrice at 3:04 PM on November 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

They will lose some heat to the milder brine, but not as much as if you just mix up some brand new brine with vinegar, water, and salt. I can't tell you exact amounts, but it should taste as tart and salty as the existing brine (either the pepperoncini brine or the hot pepper brine). Boil it to dissolve the salt, then pour it over the drained peppers while warm (not hot, or you risk making the peppers mushy). It'll take a while for the heat to diffuse out into the brine, and there's no guarantee it'll be enough, but it's worth a shot.

Those peppers are pretty hot, though, and are hard to cool off. You might be better off cutting your losses and buying another jar of the kind you like.
posted by WasabiFlux at 3:35 PM on November 29, 2014

I think I read a recipe for Dijon mustard that used white wine to mellow the heat of the mustard powder (not the same substance but same idea). And doesn't drinking alcoholic beverages with spicy foods mitigate the capsasin? Although the “Truth is, you might have to drink 10 ounces of 70-proof tequila to dissolve 1 ounce of concentrated capsaicin compound,” according to MythBusters. I wonder if brining them in some kind of alcohol would work? Tequila or vodka or lemoncello?

Oh, and ditto on removing the seeds.
posted by Beti at 4:06 PM on November 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Melt them in a soft Mexican cheese, and use it as a dip or quesadilla ingredient.
posted by oceanjesse at 4:40 PM on November 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh, a couple more ideas:

A bit of sugar in the new brine will help cut the heat.

If you're willing to slice open and rinse off the peppers, doing this before changing the brine and before eating the peppers will rinse off excess heat.

If you're really intent on eating these peppers eventually, you can change the brine every few days until they're mild to your liking, but you'll also potentially lose flavor and color.
posted by WasabiFlux at 4:45 PM on November 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks all. Seems these suckers aren't likely to cool down to the point of standalone snackability without more work than I'm willing to put up with. (hm. "an amount of work up with which I'm not willing to put."?)

You've convinced me to just keep 'em in the back of the fridge until the appropriate recipe comes along.

(I should've been clearer from the start: I munch on plain mild peppers straight out of the jar as a sort-of diet thing. 5 or 6 peppers curbs my craving for less-healthy snax. I was hoping to "de-heat" these, for snacking, but you've convinced me to keep them until it's time for cheese dip or something.)

Thanks again for every answer.
posted by easement1 at 6:33 PM on November 29, 2014

I'll add that they're really good on the side, in minute nibbles, with a pastrami sandwich or a burger. I tend to bite off the tip and then squeeze the juices into the sandwich. Ahh, Greek burger joints...
posted by WasabiFlux at 1:34 AM on November 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

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