The Tabasco chili originated from a state of that name in south-east Mexico, where the land is mostly flat and marshy and hot and humid with extensive jungles. The Tabasco can be found growing commercially in New Iberia, Louisiana, the home of the famous sauce company of the same name where it has grown since at least 1850.

The founder of the famous McIlhenny Tobasco sauce had never been to Tabasco, but either he had been to other parts of Mexico or had received the seeds as a gift from a friend just returned from Central America. He began growing the peppers on Avery Island, and named the sauce "Tabasco" because it sounded exotic, e.g. foreign and Mexican! The sauce originally was produced from the red, ripe fruit but more recently is also produced from the green (unripe) fruit.

Tabasco chiles are also grown by sauce makers in Venezuela and Guatemala.

The Tabasco grows pointing upwards, is bright red when picked, 40 mm long by 10 mm wide, and has a heat level of 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville heat units. (Capsicum frutescens var. tabasco). Tabasco plants grow into compact bushes 300 mm to 1,200 mm high, bearing around 100 pointed 35 mm long pods.

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Capsicum
Species: C. frutescens
Subspecies: C. f. var. tabasco
Trinomial name
Capsicum frutescens "Tabasco"

Try Yorky's Special Recipes

Read The Chili Story