The tapered fruits, around 4 cm long, are initially pale yellowish-green and turn yellow and orange before ripening to bright red.Tabascos rate from 30,000 to 50,000 on the Scoville scale of heat levels, and are the only variety of chili pepper whose fruits are "juicy", i.e., not dry on the inside.If grown outside of their natural habitat, the peppers are planted two to three weeks after the last frost when soil temperatures exceed 10 °C (50 °F) and the weather has settled.A location that receives plenty of light and heat, with soil that is fertile, lightweight, slightly acidic (pH 5.5–7.0), and well-drained, is ideal for growing the plants. Growers are careful to make sure that fertilizers and soil are rich in phosphorus, potassium, and calcium and low in nitrogen, which can deter fruit growth. .
The next year, he sent out 658 bottles of sauce at one dollar apiece wholesale to grocers around the Gulf Coast, particularly in New Orleans. .
According to the company's official history, Tabasco was first produced in 1868 by Edmund McIlhenny, a Maryland-born former banker who moved to Louisiana around 1840."The story actually begins in the pre-Civil War era with a New Orleans plantation owner named Maunsel White, who was famous for the food served at his sumptuous dinner parties.Mr. White's table no doubt groaned with the region's varied fare—drawing inspiration from European, Caribbean, and Cajun sources—but one of his favorite sauces was of his own devising, made from a pepper named for its origins in the Mexican state of Tabasco.Rothfeder cited January 26, 1850, letter to the New Orleans Daily Delta newspaper crediting White as having introduced "Tobasco red pepper" (sic) to the southern United States and asserting that the McIlhenny was at least inspired by White's recipe. Jean Andrews, in her book "Peppers: The Domesticated Capsicums", goes further to declare—citing United States Circuit Court testimony from 1922—that prior to his death in 1862, "White gave some [pepper] pods, along with his recipe, to his friend Edmund McIlhenny, during a visit to White's Deer Range Plantation.To distribute his, Edmund McIlhenny initially obtained unused cologne bottles from a New Orleans glass supplier.On his death in 1890, McIlhenny was succeeded by his eldest son, John Avery McIlhenny, who expanded and modernized the business, but resigned after only a few years in order to join Theodore Roosevelt's 1st US Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, the Rough Riders. On John's departure, brother Edward Avery McIlhenny, a self-taught naturalist fresh from an Arctic adventure, assumed control of the company and also focused on expansion and modernization, running the business from 1898 until his death in 1949.Edward McIlhenny Simmons then ran the company as president and CEO for several years, remaining as board chairman until his death in 2012.The warrant held is "Supplier of Tabasco HM The Queen – Master of the Household – Granted in 2009".In 2005, Avery Island was hit hard by Hurricane Rita, and the family constructed a 17-foot (5.2 m)-high levee around the low side of the factory and invested in back-up generators.Today, peppers grown on the Island are used to produce seed stock, which is then shipped to foreign growers primarily in Central and South America.This ensures the availability of peppers should severe weather or other problems occur at a particular growing location.Peppers are ground into a mash on the day of harvest and placed along with salt in white oak barrels previously used for whiskey of various distilleries.The resulting liquid is then mixed with distilled vinegar, stirred occasionally for a month, and then bottled as a finished sauce.Tabasco diamond reserve edition was a limited bottling released in 2018 to commemorate the brand's 150th anniversary.This sauce consists of peppers that have been aged for up to fifteen years, then mixed with sparkling white wine vinegar.Tabasco brand pepper sauce is sold in more than 195 countries and territories and is packaged in 25 languages and dialects.The Australian, British and Canadian armies also issue small bottles of Tabasco sauce in their rations.McIlhenny Company also permits other brands to use and advertise Tabasco sauce as an ingredient in their products (a common marketing practice called "co-branding"), including Spam, Hormel chili, Slim Jim beef sticks, Heinz ketchup, A1 steak sauce, Plochman's mustard, Lawry's salt, Zapp's potato chips, Heluva Good dip, and Vlasic Pickles.During the Vietnam War, Brigadier General Walter S. McIlhenny issued The Charlie Ration Cookbook.It instructed troops how to mix C-rations to make such meals as "Combat Canapés" or "Breast of Chicken under Bullets." Soldiers also requested their families to send them Tabasco sauce in "care packages" from home.During the 1980s, the U.S.
military began to include miniature bottles of Tabasco sauce in its MREs. During the same period, McIlhenny Company issued a new military-oriented cookbook using characters from the comic strip Beetle Bailey.Some appearances date as far back as the Our Gang short Birthday Blues in 1932 and Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times in 1936.In Back to the Future Part III, the saloon bartender uses Tabasco as an ingredient for an instant hangover cure he calls "wake-up juice". .
About Our Barrels
While the ingredients may be simple, a lengthy aging process helps develop the complex flavor that makes TABASCO® Sauce unique.Our white oak barrels, which store the red pepper mash as it matures, are the unsung heroes of the aging process.Coy Boutte, who manages the barrel warehouse and oversees the pepper mash aging process at McIlhenny Company, shares his insight into how these barrels play an integral role in the production process.We use decommissioned white oak bourbon barrels sourced from different distilleries around the country.The barrel tops are then sealed with salt to form a natural protective barrier that also allows for the release of gases produced during the slow fermentation process.Pepper mash is aged in these barrels for up to three years before it’s blended with high-quality distilled vinegar for 28 days, strained, and bottled.Coy Boutte was born and raised on Avery Island and is the fourth-generation member of his family to work for McIlhenny Company.Over his nearly 14-year history with McIlhenny Company, Boutte worked his way up from the island’s mechanic shop to the barrel warehouse, where he now oversees the pepper mash aging process. .
Tabasco Hot Pepper: Small Size, Big Flavor & Heat
Common issues: Plants drop flowers when daytime temps soar above 90º F. Few pests bother peppers, but keep an eye out for aphids, slugs, pill bugs, and leafminers.Humid weather (especially in gardens with heavy soil that doesn’t drain well) can invite fungal diseases like leafspot.Fruits store longer for fresh use if you don’t remove the stem, which can create an open wound that’s ripe for spoiling.Storage: Store unwashed (or washed and dried) peppers in the refrigerator in a loosely closed plastic bag.
TABASCO® Scorpion Pepper Sauce
Culled from the flames of flavor, this fiery sauce features a dynamic mix of scorpion peppers, guava, and pineapple—all blended with a splash of TABASCO®. .
Tabasco Pepper Guide: Heat, Flavor, Uses
It is made in America and is arguably the most popular (and easily found) hot sauce on the planet.This is a medium-hot chili (30,000 to 50,0000 Scoville heat units), very similar to the cayenne pepper in terms of overall spiciness.Compared to our reference point, the jalapeño, it’s around twelve times hotter on average, so it’s got a bit of a kick.The pepper mash is diluted in the vinegar base to the point where the hot sauce has more of a jalapeño level heat (2,500 – 5,000 SHU).As they ripen they change color: starting yellow, then taking an orange hue, and finally a beautiful red shade.Their colors and the way they grow make the tabasco pepper a lovely option to use in landscaped home gardens.On Avery Island, Louisiana, the McIlhenny family has been running since 1868 perhaps the most famous hot sauce business on the planet.Perhaps it still lacks the fanatic popularity of tomato ketchup and mustard, but its fan base grows every day.People use it on meats, eggs, poultry, and any sort of Mexican, southern, or southwestern dish.Due to their overall juiciness, you don’t typically find these chilies in dried or powdered form.You can buy tabasco seeds and plants online (Amazon), and, as was mentioned earlier, they make for great gardening due to their “reach for the sun” look. .
How Tabasco's Hottest-Ever Sauce Is Made
I slide down my mask—the one I’ve been wearing to keep the cough-inducing vapor of aerosolized capsaicin out of my lungs—and examine the gleaming-red bits of scorpion pepper “mash” I hold on the pad of my index finger.I’m standing on a poured-concrete floor in one of the sauce-making buildings on Tabasco’s campus, which is located on Avery Island, Louisiana—about two hours due west of New Orleans.Beside me and holding a scoop of the scorpion pepper mash is John Simmons, a sixth-generation member of the McIlhenny family that founded Tabasco on Avery Island back in 1868.Scorpion Sauce checks in at roughly 30,000 Scoville units—making it exponentially hotter than original Tabasco, which lands somewhere between 2,500 and 5,000 SHUs.It was easy to see why animals (and humans) would be tempted to eat these peppers, and why they would need to pack such insane amounts of natural fire to deter hungry mammals.The mash is unexpectedly delicious—a salty flavor-bomb that tastes like the freshest exotic fruits in the world had been distilled down to their essences, mixed together, and dripped onto the tip and sides of my tongue.There’s that scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where the old dude drinks from what he thinks is the Holy Grail, but then realizes he was wrong and that he’s truly screwed.OK.” The heat is growing more intense every second, and my throat and nostrils are suddenly burning as though I snorted battery acid.A full minute passes, and I feel like I’m riding a rollercoaster blindfolded; I have no idea when it’s going to stop climbing and make its descent.As if reading my mind, Simmons says, “I’m still accelerating.” I nod in agreement, but I’m afraid to talk because it might make things worse.A few more seconds pass, and Simmons says some other stuff that I don’t catch because my brain and body are dealing with more pressing concerns.The burn gradually eases back—the pepper’s fangs slowly extricating themselves from my taste buds.Simmons confirms that these are indeed repurposed whiskey barrels that are bought new and used to age the pepper mash used in Tabasco’s signature red sauce.Considering the food-and-beverage industry’s current obsession with barrel-aging, I tell Simmons it’s shocking to me that Tabasco isn’t crowing about its barrel program in ads or on its famous label.He notes that the young mash—apart from being a vibrant scarlet color, as opposed to the burnt appearance of the aged mash—has aromas of fresh-cut fruit like pears and apples.Simmons and I spend some more time touring Tabasco’s facilities, including the bottling plant and the laboratory where each batch of sauce is tested to ensure its components are appropriately balanced.(When we stop by the lab, they’re about halfway through testing the scorpion sauce I watched Simmons and his coworkers make.Throughout my tour, we pause to chitchat with dozens of Tabasco employees, all of whom seem to know Simmons personally and are clearly proud of where they work and the sauces they make.I can’t get him to dish about any of Tabasco’s competitors, but he does hint that he thinks hot sauces are best when they don’t overpower foods.(One sauce in particular—a “roasted” sauce—was a smoky, complex stunner, and I urged Simmons to get that bad boy into grocery stores as soon as possible.).This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. .
The Surprisingly Interesting History and Production of Tabasco
Marsh wasn't a pepper sauce maker, but grew sugar cane on the part of the island that he owned.Every night, they detonate an explosive underground to ready some more salt for harvest, and sometimes you can hear the boom from the Marsh House.During the Civil War, the families fled New Orleans to live on the island and escape the conflict.After the Civil War, Edmund McIlhenny, a banker whose industry had been destroyed by the conflict, succeeded in his venture creating a pepper sauce.The seeds for all the peppers grown for Tabasco originate on the island, picked from the best plants, then peppers used in the sauce are grown in Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.The pepper mash then ages in a barrel for three years on Avery island, stacked six-high on top of each other.The barrels have a valve on top that releases carbon dioxide from the fermenting peppers, and it bubbles through the salt.My fellow Tabasco taster Amy Sherman made an illustration of me undergoing the initiation.But a trip to the gift shop on Avery Island shows just how many other brand extensions there are: Tabasco has hundreds of products it co-brands with, including A1 steak sauce, Hormel Chili, Cheez-Its, Slim Jims, and SPAM.So yeah, it turns out that Tabasco pepper sauce, something we see practically every day and never think about, actually has a fascinating history, production process, and global reach, all from this little island in the Louisiana bayou. .