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Apr '08

Spice Up Your Spring With Delicious Tabasco Recipes (& Trivia)!

Attention hot sauce junkies…

Big congratulations are in order for the members of Charleston’s own Ladies Philoptochos Society, whose local community cookbook, Popular Greek Recipes was recently inducted in the Walter S. McIlhenny Hall of Fame as part of the 18th annual Tabasco Community Cookbook Awards after selling 100,000 copies!

The first edition of the recently updated cookbook was published in 1957.

Invented in 1868 by Edmund McIlhenny, Tabasco is a versatile Louisiana hot sauce that is a popular ingredient in many recipes and drinks. (Click here to see a list of nearly 700 drinks that feature Tabasco sauce from iDrink.Com.)

Three miles from the Gulf Coast, deep in Cajun country, the company home is a 2,500-acre dome of solid rock salt, formed when ancient seabeds evaporated, according to a recent MSNBC article. Annual sales of the spicy condiment are tallied at approximately $250 million.

According to Wikipedia’s Tabasco sauce page:

“Until recently, all of the peppers were grown on Avery Island. While a small portion of the crop is still grown on the island, the bulk of the crop is now grown in Central and South America, where the weather and the availability of more farmland allow a more predictable and larger year-round supply of peppers. This also helps to ensure the supply of peppers should something happen to the crop at a particular location. All of the seeds are still grown on Avery Island.

Following company tradition, the peppers are hand picked by workers. To tell their ripeness, peppers are checked with a little red stick, or ‘le petit bâton rouge’ that each worker carries around. Those peppers not matching the color of the stick are not harvested. Harvested peppers are shipped back to the Island factory. Peppers are ground into mash, and salt and vinegar are added. The mixture is put into old white oak whiskey barrels from distilleries to age for up to three years. The bright red mash is so corrosive that forklifts are reported to last only six years.”

Also, via the Hot Sauce Blog, here’s a good article from the New York Times about the McIlhenny Company’s plan to retool after Hurricane Rita when it was inches away from being lost in the storm.

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