Capsaicin Extraction


from Wikipedia:
The chemical compound capsaicin (C18H27NO3) (8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide) is the active component of chile peppers (Capsicum). It is an irritant for mammals including humans and produces a sensation of burning in the mouth. Capsaicin and several related compounds are called capsaicinoids and are produced as a secondary metabolite by certain plants of the genus Capsicum (chile peppers), probably as deterrants against herbivores. Pure capsaicin is a lipophilic colorless odorless crystalline to waxy compound.

OK, now the science bit is over, let's look at extracting the Capsaicin. First of all Capsaicin is not soluble in water, or beer, so the age old theory of drowning the "burn" with beer really does not work. In fact it may just feel worse. Capsaicin can be partially dissolved in some oils, or pretty much fully dissolved in alcohol. After reading quite a lot on this subject (various web sites searched via Google) it seemed that by grinding dried chillies very finely, and then stirring into a high alcohol solution, it was possible to get most of the capsaicin to dissolve. Then a simple process to evaporate off the alcohol is required and voila! super concentrated capsaicin! We will add pictures next time we make some.


1 drop on a mushroom..


Equipment Required


  1. Dry your chillies fully. We used a flat baking tray in a biltong dryer, but you can also use the oven on a really low temp, or even leave out in the sun. This may take a day or 2!

  2. Once FULLY dried, grind the chillies in batches. Be carefull here, as the grinder will produce chilli dust. Grind as much as you can to obtain the finest possible flakes.

  3. Add the fine flakes to the coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder in managable batches.

  4. Add the fine powder to the glass jar and then add the alcohol to cover. Pop on the lid and shake well

  5. Leave for a few days, shaking a few times per day - just to ensure as much Capsaicin as possible becomes dissolved in the alcohol solution.

  6. Pour the contents into a large funnel with a sieve inside - or anything that you have handy that can filter out the larger particles. This will take some time, but eventually you will be left with a dark red liquid in the jar and a solid paste in the funnel. Don't discard the paste, you can dry and re-grind to make a decent chilli powder.

  7. Clean out the 1st jar and then filter the liquid into the jar, through the filter paper, to end up with a relatively particle free dark red liquid

  8. You are now left with a mix of Capsaicin and alcohol. We put the open jar in the biltong dryer overnight, or until the liquid becomes slightly viscous.

  9. Transfer to a smaller jar (we used a mustard jar) and pop into the fridge to store for use. Note, you can further evaporate the alcohol off, but the viscosity will increase until it becomes like Bovril. It is then difficult to use.

You now have a ridiculously strong base that can be used to make chilli sauces or simply to cook with. The fruity aroma is amazing, but the heat factor is positively nuclear!! USE WITH EXTREME CAUTION!!

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