You Should Never Reheat Hot Peppers In The Microwave. Here's Why

There are a lot of things that you just shouldn't do with your microwave — these ovens are terrible at reheating pizza, they make your meat go all rubbery, and they turn leftover French fries into a soggy mess. Still, none of these kitchen mishaps will actually hurt you too much, unless you drop that rock-hard pizza on your foot.

If you plan to use your microwave to heat up anything containing hot peppers, though, watch out. You may find yourself in some serious pain as soon as you open the door and breathe in the fiery fumes. There's a reason why peppers are one food you should never, ever microwave, and that reason is chemistry.

The thing that makes peppers hot is a chemical compound known as capsaicin. Heating hot peppers in the microwave releases this compound into the air, and according to The Healthy, once airborne, the chemicals can burn your eyes and throat. Still skeptical? Don't be.

Why nuking hot peppers is dangerous

In 2016, WHAM TV reported that a Rochester, New York hazmat team had to be called out to an apartment building to contain a serious air contamination situation. The airborne hazard that caused residents to experience coughing and breathing difficulty was traced to a hot pepper that someone had cooked in a microwave. Firefighters and police officers responding to the scene reported that the effect this pepper had was similar to that of pepper spray. As Lt. Dana Cieslinski of the Rochester Fire Department put it, "It seems whatever kind of pepper they were using, once it's aerosolized, if you've ever gotten pepper in your eyes, you know how hard it can be on your system. I do not know what kind of pepper it was, but clearly spicy enough to affect the people in the hallway." 

While no one was actually hospitalized as a result of breathing in the pepper fumes, residents of the building had to be evacuated for over 90 minutes. So yeah, unless you've got lungs of iron — and very forgiving neighbors — don't be That Guy (or Gal) That Zapped the Pepper.