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Tabasco is the trademarked brand name for a hot pepper sauce that is a well-known table condiment. It is made from red peppers (Capsicum frutescens var. tabasco), 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, United States, it is named after the Tabasco River and the state of Tabasco in Mexico. The original variety measures 2,500 to 5,000 su on the Scoville scale. There are now five varieties.
It has a hot, spicy flavor and is popular in many parts of the world: It is sold in more than 160 countries and packaged in 21 languages and dialects. More than 700,000 bottles of Tabasco sauce are produced each day at the Tabasco factory on Avery Island, Louisiana. 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 liter) jug for food service businesses, and down to a 1/8th-ounce miniature bottle. In Japan, Austria, Norway, Germany and parts of Ontario, Canada, Tabasco sauce is popular on pizza.
Tabasco has been produced by the McIlhenny Company since 1868. Several new types of sauces are now produced under the name Tabasco Sauce, including jalapeo-based green, chipotle-based smoked, habanero, and garlic sauces. The jalapeo variety does not include Tabasco peppers.
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 were traditionally grown on Avery Island, but the bulk of them are now grown in the more temperate climates of Central and South America, where the weather and more farm area allow a more predictable and larger year-round supply of the peppers.
Tabasco sauce has a shelf life of five years when stored in a cool and dry place.
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