Tabasco Is The Spice Of Life
Tabasco Sauce is easily the most recognizable hot sauce on the globe. Walk into any restaurant or bar in the world and ask for Tabasco and 9 out of 10 will hand you a bottle. The rest will apologize for having run out. While most have certainly heard of this marvelous hot sauce and can recognize a bottle of it from across the room, few know its history or importance.
From the Beginning
Many people believe the hot sauce comes from Tabasco Mexico. While the tabasco pepper does take its name from the Mexican state, the sauce was never made there and very few of the pepper plants grow there today.
The hot sauce was originally made on Avery Island, off the coast of Louisiana. Edward McIlhenny invented the concoction in 1868. To this day, all production of Tabasco Sauce takes place on Avery Island. The tobacco peppers themselves were also all grown on the island. Early in the 21st century, areas of Central and South America began growing the peppers as well. This has allowed the company to maintain production despite several severe hurricanes hitting Louisiana in recent years.
The McIhenny family has always controlled the company. Each of the 6 McIlhenny men who have run the enterprise have been committed to making Tabasco Sauce the most recognized and desired brand wherever hot sauce is consumed.
The Key Ingredient
Tabasco peppers are a unique pepper. The peppers will move from yellow to orange to red as they ripen. While most peppers grow toward the ground, the tips of the peppers reach for the sun. This makes the bushy plants they grow on very attractive when the peppers are ripening as the color contrast is much more pronounced.
The peppers need to be harvested when their color is just right. This requires that all of the harvesting be done by hand rather than machine. Each of the individuals picking tobacco peppers is provided with a color stick they use to verify the pepper is ready. If the colors are not a perfect match, the pepper is left to mature.
When fully mature, the tobacco pepper is bright red, about an inch long and juicy inside. It is the only chili pepper that is not dry inside which is probably the main reason Tabasco Sauce is the hot sauce of choice around the world.
In Food and Drink
On the Scoville Scale for hotness, Tabasco Sauce is rated medium. This makes it a very versatile hot sauce. Few barbeque sauces are considered complete without Tabasco. It is a common ingredient in Cajun and Creole dishes like Jambalaya and Gumbo.
It is not certain when Tabasco became a standard component of every bartender's setup; Tabasco sauce is a key flavor in more than a few beverages. Each bartender has their own secret recipe for the perfect Bloody Mary, but every single one of them includes Tabasco Sauce. Prairie Fire is a popular shot on college campuses around the world. It is simple to make, add a few drops of Tabasco Sauce to Tequila and enjoy.
Alcoholic beverages are not the only drinks that benefit from a splash Tabasco, shakes and smoothies taste better with a little spice too. A Peppy Papaya Mango Smoothie is the perfect way to enjoy a warm summer day.