12 Interesting Facts About TABASCO®

The McIIhenny Company, the Louisiana-based company behind TABASCO®, is celebrating the 150-year anniversary of their iconic sauce. Who would have been able to predict that when Edmund McIIhenny harvested his first tabasco pepper crop in 1868 and created an appetising sauce set to enhance the flavours in foods, that this sauce would change the way the world eats forever? Made from three key ingredients – tabasco peppers, salt and vinegar – the pepper mash is aged in oak barrels for three years and then bottled by Edmund’s Family on Avery Island.

TABASCO® has its roots steeped in creating an experience – one that aims to tantalise the taste buds as well as elevate experiences when sharing a meal with others. While it enhances the flavour of the food as an ingredient, it can also be used as an add-on to any dish. Sold in more than 185 countries and labelled in 22 languages and dialects, (over 164 million bottles are consumed annually) it is instantly recognisable all across the world and is quite comfortable in the out-of-home and in-the-home environment.

TABASCO® will be celebrating its birthday around the world throughout the year, and South Africans can also join in the fun by celebrating at home. Simply visit TABASCO.com where you can gain access to recipes from chef and bartender friends of TABASCO®, spotlighting classic dishes and drinks that have made the sauce a popular and indispensable icon.

Twelve interesting facts about TABASCO®

  1. Every bottle of TABASCO® has a number on its base. Legend has it that this refers to the sauce’s strength. It actually denotes the type of mould used to create each bottle.
  2. TABASCO® has been used to improve the flavour of food on the International Space Station, where the lack of gravity affects astronauts’ sense of taste.
  3. Tabasco chillies start off green before turning yellow, then orange, and finally the bright red most of us associate with the sauce.
  4. Edmund Mcllhenny used a red stick, or ‘le petit baton rouge’, to measure the ripeness of the peppers. It is still used today to ensure the quality of the harvest.
  5. The chillies grown on the island aren’t made into sauce. They are used to provide seeds, which are then grown in Central and South America.
  6. Each year, the seeds from the best quality chillies are dried before being stored in a bank vault for safekeeping.
  7. It takes five years to produce each batch of TABASCO® from seed to sauce, including three years of maturation in repurposed bourbon whiskey barrels.
  8. The unaged and unprocessed pepper mash is around 10 times hotter than the final sauce.
  9. Every drop of TABASCO® is processed on Avery Island, where there is a 170-acre nature reserve with tropical plants, rare birds and alligators.
  10. Abouth half of the company’s 200 employees live on the island, with many of their ancestors having worked and lived there.
  11. The Queen Mother reportedly sent her staff to search London for TABASCO® sauce during the Second World War, wanting it for a shrimp cocktail. As a result, TABASCO is now an official supplier to the Queen.
  12. The red TABASCO® sauce measures 2,500 – 5,000 SHU’s on the Scoville scale of spiciness. In 2017, a limited edition was made with the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper, which can hit up to two million SHUs.