Tabasco peppers are the main ingredients in the famous Tabasco sauce. These red, fiery hot peppers are native to the Central Mexican Tabasco province, but grown elsewhere for their unique, erect and juicy fruit pods.
Scientific name: Capsicum frutescens var. tabasco. In Botany, tabasco pepper belongs to the nightshade family (Solanaceae), in the genus: Capsicum and chief cultivars in the frutescens species.
|Tabasco pepper- Capsicum frutescens var. tabasco.
Photo courtesy: Chris Vaughan
Tabasco peppers prefer frost-free, sunshine climates to flourish. Fertile, well-drained sandy soils with adequate moisture put through their growth.
Tabasco plant is a small shrub, growing about 2-3 feet in height with woody stems and glabrous foliage spreading. It is a perennial plant and continues to bear fruits as long as it receives water and enough nutrition in the soil.
Being a C. frutescens cultivar, its fruits tend to grow up rather than hanging down from its stems and filled with juicy flesh inside. Immature pods are green which turn yellow and red as they continue to ripen. Completely grown Tabasco measures 1-2 inches in length and 0.5 inches across. Inside, light yellow seeds are flat, ovoid, and attached around the central placenta.
On the Scoville scale hotness scale, Tabasco peppers possess 30,000-50,000 "Scoville heat units" (SHU). To compare, sweet bell peppers have zero SCU, and Mexican habañeros possess 200,000 to 500,000 units.
Tabascos are fiery hot peppers. Don't overdo with them while cooking since they hit a spicy bite, so a little goes a long way.
Nonetheless, tabasco pepper carries many phytochemical compounds, like capsaicin, that are known to have disease-preventing and health-promoting properties.
Tabasco peppers, as in other hot chili peppers, contain capsaicin, an alkaloid compound that gives them a strong spicy, and burning character.
Scientific studies suggest that the role of capsaicin as anti-bacterial, anti-tumor, analgesic, and anti-diabetic properties, at least in some early laboratory studies on experimental mammals. It was also found to reduce LDL-cholesterol levels in obese individuals.
Fresh tabasco peppers are a rich source of vitamin-C and B-complex vitamins. Vitamin-C is a potent water-soluble antioxidant, required for collagen synthesis, and also helps boost immunity against viral diseases.
Tabasco composes other antioxidants in very large amounts such as vitamin A (1,640 IU/100 g), and flavonoids like β -carotene, α -carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and cryptoxanthin which help protect us from injurious effects of free radicals generated by stress and disease conditions.
|Principle||Nutrient Value||% of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.76 g||3.75%|
|Dietary Fiber||0.6 g||<2%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.11 mg||2%|
|Vitamin A||1640 IU||54.6%|
|Vitamin C||4.5 mg||7.5%|
|Vitamin E||0.01 mg||<1%|
|Vitamin K||0.2 µg||<1%|
|Calcium||12 mg||1.2 %|
The tolerance level of hot peppers in human beings, including tabasco, may have wide individual variations. Consume in moderation to avoid any untoward experiences.
|TABASCO brand Original Red Sauce.|
A large portion of tabasco peppers harvest goes for preparing world-famous Tabasco sauce. Fresh green and ripe (red) tabasco peppers may not be readily available in the US markets but may be kept for limited sale in the farmers' markets for Tabasco enthusiasts who want to prepare their own Tabasco sauce at home.
If you intend to make your own sauce, buy fresh, red, firm uniform-sized peppers featuring smooth, shiny skin and firm stems. Avoid dry, wilt, and pods with cracks, cuts, and surface bruising.
At home, store them in a vegetable compartment, inside the refrigerator set at high relative humidity. They keep well for few days when stored in the fridge.
To prepare tabasco sauce at home, wash them in cold water and mop-dry using a soft absorbent towel. Caution: wear gloves while handling hot variety chili peppers including tabasco. Remove the stem. Chop or slice as you wish.
Ingredients to make tabasco sauce are tabasco chili peppers, vinegar, and salt. The taste of the sauce will vary depending on aging, seeded/deseeded peppers and the quality of the vinegar used. In order to make Tabasco sauce, combine the ingredients, cook the sauce, then strain and store in glass bottles and store in the fridge.
However, "TABASCO brand Original Red Sauce" has been prepared with aged red peppers, Avery Island salt, and distilled vinegar.
Here are some serving tips:
Tabasco are very hot peppers. Do not overdo tabasco when cooking because they compose very high amounts of alkaloid compound capsaicin, which gives them a strong, pungent taste.
|Peruvian dish -Lomo saltado with fries mixed in tabasco sauce.|
Enjoy spicy, authentic Cajun dishes and classic Southern food that uses tabasco sauce.
Tabasco sauce can be added on top or added to the dish while cooking itself.
It adds extra punch a variety of foods, such as seafood (shrimp or oyster po boy Louisiana-style) sandwiches, nachos with crawfish, burgers, pasta, and pizza.
Prepare Louisiana-style shrimp, chicken and boudin sausage gumbo, served with rice or bread and sprinkle tabasco sauce to elevate its flavor.
Tabasco is categorized as hot peppers (30,000 to 50,000 on the Scoville scale of heat levels), characterized by high contents of capsaicin, which gives a strong spicy, pungent character. Small bits may elicit severe irritation and burning sensation inflammation in the mouth, tongue, and throat when coming in contact with the mucosa of the oral cavity, throat, and stomach.
Eating cold yogurt dilutes capsaicin concentration, prevents its contact with stomach walls, and thus may help reduce burning pain.
Avoid touching eyes with chili-pepper contaminated fingers. If so, rinse eyes thoroughly with cold water to reduce irritation.
Like in other hot chilies, tabasco peppers too can worsen existing gastritis, stomach ulcer, and gastro-esophageal reflux (GER) conditions.
Also read ≺≺ Jalapeno peppers nutrition facts.
≺≺ Back to Spices from Tabasco peppers. Visit here for an impressive list of healthy spices with complete illustrations of their nutrition facts and health benefits.
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USDA National Nutrient Database. (opens in new window)
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