Mar. 20, 2013 - Issue #909: Water Crisis
Six things about Tabasco sauce
Tabasco sauce has been igniting mouths since 1868 when it was first produced by Edmund McIlhenny, a former banker living in Louisiana. He originally used discarded cologne bottles to distribute the sauce to family and friends before splurging on new bottles to sell it to the public.
Can't mess with a good thing
When the sauce was first concocted, it was made using a pepper mash that came from tabasco peppers grown exclusively on Avery Island, Louisiana. In order to ensure a year-round supply, seed stock is sourced from the island before being exported to foreign growers in Central or South America, where climates are more stable.
Once the peppers are picked—by hand—they are ground into a mash and put in white oak barrels previously used for Jack Daniel's Tennessee whiskey. There's no traces of whiskey remaining once the barrels are de-charred to remove the top layer of wood. The mash is aged for three years with salt before being strained to remove skin and seeds. The liquid that comes from this process is mixed with vinegar, stirred occasionally over the course of a month and bottled.
If you can't stand the heat ...
There are several varieties of Tabasco sold and served around the world, ranging from the classic red to chipotle smoked. While they all pack a punch, the title of spiciest sauce goes to the habanero variety, which measures 7000 to 12 0000 Scoville head units (SHU) on the Scoville scale, which is used to measure the pungency of chili peppers. The flagship red variety clocks in at 2500 to 5000 SHU.
Made to last
A two-ounce bottle of Tabasco sauce is said to contain enough for 720 drops.
Out of this world
Tabasco sauce has become a mainstay among dining condiments, and NASA's dining habits are no exception. The spicy sauce appeared on the menu for NASA's space shuttle program and was also sent up on Skylab and on the International Space Station.
Don't toss it yet
Have you ever noticed that Tabasco sauce gets darker over time? The reason is due to the light-sensitive nature of tabasco pepper pigments, which darken after prolonged exposure to artificial or natural light. The sauce isn't ruined though—bottles have a shelf life of five years.V vueweekly.com comments: powered by Disqus
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