The internet is full of fabulous facts about everything from current events to the history of basket weaving. Because of this, as we research for our daily content on food trucks, food carts and street food, we stumble upon some items of knowledge that we just did not know. We have decided when these fun facts pop up, that we would share them with our readers in our section titled “Did You Know?”
For today’s Did You Know fun food facts we will look at Tabasco.
The Facts: Tabasco pepper sauce was named after the Tabasco River in southern Mexico by creator Edmund McIlhenny because he liked the sound of the word.
- Tabasco pepper sauce is made from a variety of pepper called Capsicum frutescens, known for centuries in Latin America and first recorded in 1493 by Dr. Chauca, the physician on Columbus’s voyage.
- In 1912, pharmacologist Wilbur Scoville devised an organoleptic test to rate the hotness of peppers. The mildest bell peppers rate zero; habaneras peppers score 200,000 to 300,000 units. Tabasco pepper sauce scores between 9,000 to 12,000 units on the Scoville scale.
- Tabasco pepper sauce is still made much the way Edmund McIlhenny first developed the sauce. Ripe peppers are harvested, crushed, mixed with Avery Island salt, and aged in white oak barrels for up to three years. The peppers are then drained, blended with strong, all-natural vinegar, stirred for several weeks, strained, bottled, and shipped.
- In 1932, when the British government began an isolationist “Buy British” campaign, Parliament banned the purchase of Tabasco pepper sauce, popular in England since 1868 and available in the House of Commons dining rooms. The resulting protest from members of Parliament was dubbed “The Tabasco Tempest,” and inevitably Tabasco pepper sauce returned to parliamentary tables. To this day Queen Elizabeth uses Tabasco pepper sauce on her lobster cocktail.
- During Operation Desert Storm, a miniature bottle of Tabasco pepper sauce was included in one out of every three ration kits sent to troops in the Gulf. The United States military now packs Tabasco pepper sauce in every ration kit.
- The McIlhenny Company sells more than 100 million bottles of Tabasco pepper sauce a year.
- Tabasco pepper sauce bottles are labeled in fifteen languages and shipped to more than a hundred countries.
- Americans use more Tabasco pepper sauce than any other nation, followed by the Japanese who sprinkle it on pizza and spaghetti.