Last Indulgence: That’s Hot

Last Indulgence: That’s HotBack in the 1950s, when this photo was taken, August was when the peppers used to make Tabasco were harvested on Avery Island, La. Braving the heat and humidity, workers picked peppers—descendents of the Capiscum frutescens seeds that company founder Edmund McIlhenny had planted in 1868—which were then mashed and mixed with vinegar and a small amount of Avery Island salt extracted from the salt mines. (The island is a salt dome island.) The pepper mash was placed in white oak barrels, covered with more Avery Island salt, then fermented for up to three years at the Tabasco warehouse. The process hasn’t changed  much since then, except that the peppers are now grown in Latin America with the pepper plants on Avery Island used to supply seeds for the harvest plants.  And, something else hasn’t changed: the McIlhenny family still owns and operates Tabasco—and approves the peppers that are used in this world-famous sauce.

Today, visitors to Avery Island can tour the plant where Tabasco is made, as well as view the island’s bird rookeries and exotic greenery and flowers. But, if you can’t make it out there, a dash of Tabasco is sure to not only liven up your food, but its vinegary-salt flavor will remind you of the island’s foundation.

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