Know your Tabasco Pepper

  • The tabasco pepper is a variety of chili pepper species Capsicum frutescens
  • It is best known through its use in Tabasco sauce, followed by peppered vinegar.
  • Like all C. frutescens cultivars, the tabasco plant has a typical bushy growth, which commercial cultivation makes stronger by trimming the plants. 

  • The actual pepper is less than 5 cm (2") long.
  • The tapered fruits are initially pale yellowish-green and turn yellow and orange before ripening to bright red. 
  • Unlike most chilis, tabasco fruits grow upwards, rather than hanging down from their stems.
  • Tabascos rate from 30,000 to 50,000 on the Scoville scale of heat levels, and are the only variety of chili pepper whose fruits are "juicy"; i.e., they are not dry on the inside. 
  • A large part of the tabasco pepper stock fell victim to the tobacco mosaic virus in the 1960s; the first resistant variety (Greenleaf tabasco) was not cultivated until around 1970.
  • The word "tabasco" is the name of a Mexican state.