Tabasco is the brand name for a hot pepper sauce that is a well-known table condiment. It is made from red peppers (Capsicum frutescens), vinegar, water, and salt, and aged in white oak barrels. There are many other kinds of "hot pepper sauce" on the market, most of them similar to Tabasco, but Tabasco is by far the most famous. Although it is produced in Louisiana, it is named after the Tabasco River and Tabasco State of Mexico. The original variety measures 2,500 to 5,000 su on the Scoville scale. There are now five varieties. The garlic variety also includes the Tabasco pepper.
It has a hot, spicy flavor and is popular in many parts of the world: it is sold in more than 110 countries and packaged in 19 different languages. More than 150 million bottles are sold each year, half of those in the United States. These range in size from the common two-ounce and five-ounce (60 and 150 mL) bottles available in most grocery stores, up to a one US gallon (4 L) jug for food service businesses, and down to a miniature bottle (which rural Louisianians often carry in their shirt pocket at lunch time, "just in case"). In Japan and parts of Ontario, Canada, Tabasco sauce is popular on pizza. Also, in parts of the southeastern US it is used to "spice up" pancakes.
Tabasco has been produced by the McIlhenny Company of Avery Island, Louisiana, since 1868, holding the second-oldest U.S. food patent. Several new types of sauces are now produced under the name Tabasco Sauce, including green pepper, chipotle, Habanero, and garlic sauces. In addition, the company has cashed in on its brand name by licensing the production of branded merchandise, including neckties, hand towels, golf shirts, posters and Bloody Mary mix.
The peppers used are a spicy cultivar of Capsicum frutescens and are grown on Avery Island. Another cultivar commonly called the "Tabasco pepper" is grown there as well, which is used in the garlic variety of the sauce.
Tabasco sauce has a shelf life of 5 years when stored in a cool and dry place.
- Official website (http://www.tabasco.com/)
- History of Tabasco sauce (http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/Tabasco.htm)