Freezing Hot Chillies - Neither Tautology nor Oxymoron?

 There are two definitions of Tautology: verbal tautology and logical tautology. Verbal tautology refers to a phrase or sentence that includes two or more words with the same meaning. For example:

  • close proximity
  • new innovation
  • very unique
  • a necessary requirement
  • a short summary
As a general rule, the overuse of verbal tautology equates to a poor writing style because the unnecessary repetitive words add nothing to the understanding of the phrase or sentence (see verbosity). There are times when verbal tautology may be used to emphasize a point or add clarity. For example, I interviewed the candidate personally. Technically, the use of the personal pronoun, 'I', makes the adverb, 'personally', redundant. However, if interviews were sometimes perfomed by telephone or online, then the addition of 'personally' would indicate that this particular interview was face-to-face. Verbal tautologies may also be used for comic effect. Three of my favourites are:

  • It's like deja vu all over again - Yogi Berra
  • It's difficult to make predictions, especially about the future - Various including Neils Bohr and Yogi Berra, of course
  • You can observe a lot by watching - that's Yogi Berra again.
Logical tautologies are statements or formulae that are always true. Some examples are:

  • all batchelors are unmarried men
  • all humans are mammals
  • it is raining or it is not raining
  • A = A
  • X ≄ Y
An oxymoron is a combination of contradictory words such as deafening silence or less is more. Although oxymorons may seem incongruous, they often make perfect sense in the right context. Some examples:

  • organized chaos
  • awfully good
  • working vacation
  • old news
  • pretty ugly
  • seriously funny
  • the budget was unlimited, but I exceeded it - Donald Trump
  • I can resist everything but temptation - Oscar Wilde
  • We must believe in free wiil. We have no choice - Isaac B Singer
  • Of course I can keep secrets. It's the people I tell them to that can't keep them - Anthony Haden-Guest
  • I never said most of the things I said - Yogi Berra

The title of this post might be considered to be a verbal tautology (freezing hot chillies) and/or an oxymoron (freezing hot or hot chillies) but is neither. It is simply a descriptive title on how we prepare and store our Jalapeno chilli crop.

This is my preferred method. Beware that dissecting and chopping chilli peppers can get right up your nose. Mary always wears nitrile gloves for this job but I don't find it necessary using this method.

First, rinse the chilli under the cold tap and dry with a tea towel. Place on the chopping board (Photo 1):

Photo 1: Washed & dried chilli awaiting its fate

Top and tail (Photo 2):

Photo 2: Topped & tailed chilli

Slice in half (Photo 3) and check for any signs of decay - typically green/black fungal growth and dark/black seeds - discarding all but the best.

Photo 3: Halved Chilli

I remove the seeds and most of the pith which are the 'hottest' parts. There is still plenty of 'heat' left in the fleshy part and it is easier to estimate quantites when adding to curries, soups, chilli dishes, etc after discarding the variable and unpredictable seeds and pith. The easiest way to do this, I find, is the slice the chilli into quarters (Photo 4):

Photo 4: Quartered Chilli

And use the tip of a sharp knife to scoop out the pith and seeds starting from the pointy end and working your way to the stem end (Photo 5):

Photo 5: Prepared Chilli Quarters

Slice the prepared quarters to your preferred size and lay out on a freezer tray. Place in freezer (Photo 6) at -18 ℃ or below for 24 hours before transferring the contents to a suitable container (box or plastic bag).

Photo 6: Open Tray Freezing of Prepared Chillies

Typically, I would use a whole chilli in a curry (4 persons) and half a chilli in spicy parsnip soup (2 litres).


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