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Q: Extracting capsaicin from peppers ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Extracting capsaicin from peppers
Category: Science > Agriculture and Farming
Asked by: waynesimonsen-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 06 Jul 2005 13:05 PDT
Expires: 05 Aug 2005 13:05 PDT
Question ID: 540637
How can you extract capsaicin from peppers at home? Particularly
jalapeño, habanero, and cayenne peppers.
Subject: Re: Extracting capsaicin from peppers
Answered By: crabcakes-ga on 06 Jul 2005 15:03 PDT
Hi Waynesimonsen,

You probably *COULD* extract the capsaicin from peppers at home, if
you had all the equipment to do it safely, but I don?t recommend it.
Read the following:

"Pure capsaicin is so powerful that chemists who handle the
crystalline powder must work in a filtered "tox room" in full body
protection. The suit has a closed hood to prevent inhaling the powder.
Said pharmaceutical chemist Lloyd Matheson of the University of Iowa,
who once inhaled some capsaicin accidentally: "It?s not toxic, but you
wish you were dead if you inhale it." "One milligram of pure capsaicin
placed on your hand would feel like a red-hot poker and would surely
blister the skin," said capsaicin expert Marlin Bensinger."

?NOTE: The extract is very noxious and will cause contact burns on
exposed skin; all extraction steps should be carried out in a hood.

Extraction. From the available equipment in the laboratory (see the
list below) determine the method by which you will most efficiently
and completely extract all the capsaicin from the pepper material
which you brought to class. Your sample must be a fresh pepper and you
are to weigh exactly 10 g of it of the whole pepper for extraction ~
for competition purposes there is to be no selective isolation of
parts of the pepper; it is suggested you finely "chop" your pepper
prior to extraction. Divert a small proportion of the chopped sample
for dry weight determination (see the TA). The extraction solvent to
be used is acetonitrile. Vacuum filtration flasks with Buchner funnels
are to be used to remove insoluble plant parts. The volume of your
extract must be 25 ml (Volume must be measured exactly, if necessary
rinse with 5 ml more ACN). Be aware of the time required for the
method you choose. Transfer 1 ml of extract to a 10 ml volumetric
flask and dilute to the 10 ml mark with deionized water. This diluted
sample must next be cleaned up for analysis.?

?Acetonitrile burns with a luminous flame. It may cause explosions
when in contact with strong oxidizers; nitrogen-fluorine compounds are
potentially explosive in contact with it. It can react violently with
sulfuric acid, oleum, chlorosulfonic acid, and perchlorates. It forms
explosive mixtures with air.?

Capsaicin is found only in chile peppers and in no other plant,
animal, or mineral. Detectable to the human taste buds to one part in
one million, this powerful alkaloid is extracted from hot chiles as an
oleoresin (thick oil) used in super-hot sauces and pepper sprays. The
oleoresin is refined into a white crystalline powder that is so toxic
that technicians can work with it only in clean rooms while clothed in
protective suits with filtered air. Many experts believe that
capsaicin?s use as a medicine has a great future that scientists are
just beginning to discover.

I?d recommend the following as a replacement to extracting the capsaicin.
?Whether you use dried red chiles from a ristra or buy them by the
bag, you can grind them into a powder that can then be used as a base
for sauces or for seasoning foods. suggests using an
electric coffee grinder to make chile power ? but use another grinder
for coffee beans. If you?d prefer, you can rehydrate dried chile pods.
Here, from, is how to go about it:
Select about a dozen dried chiles and wash them in warm water. Wear
gloves while handling the pods.
-- Remove the stems, seeds and veins. If you prefer a hotter chile,
leave some of the membranes and seeds.
-- Put chiles in a saucepan with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then
simmer for about 10 minutes.
-- If not fully rehydrated, remove from heat, cover the pan and let
steam for a few minutes until chiles are soft and pliable.
-- Taste the chile water: If it?s bitter, replace it with 2 cups fresh water.
-- Pour the mixture into blender and purée until smooth. Strain
through a sieve or colander to remove the chopped bits of skin and any
remaining seeds.
-- Freeze or use right away.?

?Capsaicin, however, is rather expensive. To avoid these costs Vinik
recommends making your own capsaicin-like cream by mixing three
teaspoons of cayenne pepper in a jar of cold cream.

If you decide to use either type of cream, special care must be taken
when applying it to prevent irritation to other parts of the body.
Users should wear gloves and apply only a thin layer of the cream. If
it is applied too thick, it may dry and chip off creating a powder
that can irritate the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, mouth and

" Kancor's Capsicum Oleoresins and Capsaicin Crystals are manufactured
by a proprietary process to yield high purity, heavy metal free
extracts. These products are free of all pathogens."

This is an interesting article on capsaicin.

Regards, Crabcakes

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