Yes, I am a novice canner. Yes, I am of mostly Scandinavian descent, therefore I am not familiar with the preparation of "hot" foods. Eaten them? Yes. I have eaten salsa many times before.
This was the first time I'd ever made it.
Now, I do seem to recall that I read somewhere that fresh jalapenos are hot. The seeds are hot. They burn the tongue and can be uncomfortable on the skin.
I did not refresh my memory in that regard and went ahead to prepare several fresh jalapenos for the salsa I made this morning. (18 half-pints worth) I began by slicing one up, seeds and all and dumped it into the mix. Then I thought "Hmmmm... maybe I should taste one just to see how hot it really is?" I popped about an 1/8 teaspoon-sized piece of pepper with 2 seeds into my mouth. BURN! Drank a glass of water and decided I would strip the innards out, since my memory was clearing (probably activated by my overheated mouth) and telling me that the seeds were the hottest part of the pepper. I prepared the rest sans guts.
Gradually I began to notice a burning sensation on my hands. I washed up very carefully and it kept getting worse, started creeping up my arms. OUCH! The dim recesses of my mind pulled up a mental file .. something about wearing gloves when preparing hot peppers. OUCH!-OUCH!-OUCH! At one point my entire left arm felt numb, like I was having a stroke. I asked my husband if I was whining too much. He gave me "that look". You know what I mean.
Anyway, the salsa is done, it's good, and my hands and arms feel much better. Next time: gloves!