I say, “Tabasco,” you say—“Sauce!” Right? But the most famous hot sauce in the world wouldn’t even exist without its key component—Tabasco Peppers! And these delicious, infamous little peppers are good for more than just making Tabasco Sauce…they can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, offer great health benefits, and are super easy to grow at home.
Read on to learn all about tabasco peppers and decide for yourself if you’re ready to grow these tasty little peppers in your home garden!
Characteristics of Tabasco Peppers
Best known as the defining ingredient of the world-renowned and widely beloved Tabasco Sauce, these peppers are a type of chili pepper that offers a rich kick of heat that will spice up just about any dish!
Some of the most defining characteristics of tabasco peppers are their color and size. These little peppers grow to be 1-2 inches long and mature from yellowish green to a creamy yellow, then to orange, and finally to bright red as they ripen.
In terms of heat, tabasco peppers are considered slightly above medium level. They rank on the Scoville scale—which measures the heat level of peppers—at around 30,000 to 50,000 units…fairly solidly in the middle.
Another defining characteristic that sets tabasco peppers apart from other chili pepper varieties is the inner texture of the peppers themselves. In fact, they are the only chili pepper with an interior that’s on the juicy side, rather than dry.
Eating Tabasco Peppers
As the basis for Tabasco Sauce, you will often find these peppers included in quite the broad buffet of dishes! You can even cook them yourself into a simple, homemade Tabasco Sauce recipe using vinegar, Tabasco Peppers, and salt (with the addition of water if you prefer a fermented Tabasco Sauce!).
Once made into sauce, tabasco peppers can be enjoyed in so many different dishes! You can it as a component in Latin American, Mexican, and Tex-Mex cuisine, sprinkled on scrambled eggs, included it in savory meat dishes, or even blend it in different drinks!
But, I hear you ask, what about eating tabasco peppers raw? Yep, you can do that, too! These peppers make a great addition to salsa, soups, stews, and chilis when chopped up—just be sure you don’t add more than your palate can handle!
In addition, you can dehydrate and then pulverize tabasco peppers to make a Tabasco chili powder that adds a wonderful dimension of flavor to seasoning chicken, fish, chili, and just about any dish that needs a boost of heat.
Tabasco Pepper Health Benefits
Oftentimes, hot peppers get a bad rap, best known only for how much they burn when consumed; but the truth is, these peppers actually offer some really awesome health benefits that not everyone may know about!
First and foremost, tabasco peppers do not contain sodium, cholesterol, or high levels of sugar. This is great for folks watching out for these nutritional components in their diet!
On the other hand, tabasco peppers are high in a lot of vital nutrients! These include high levels of Vitamin A, which promotes healthy eyesight and can also help reduce the risk of cancer markers, and Vitamin C.
Beyond its familiar properties in boosting the immune system, Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that helps repair cells and fights free radicals that can cause harmful inflammation throughout the body.
In addition, tabasco peppers—like all chilis—are high in capsaicin, which is what gives them their well-known heat. Capsaicin provides an additional boost to the immune system and works alongside Vitamin C to reduce inflammation; it also has shown in studies to kill cancer cells and speed up the metabolism, which helps with maintaining an overall healthy weight.
For those who are not sensitive to the heat in chili peppers, there are also wonderful benefits to one’s digestion and overall heart health from eating these little peppers. They can also help soothe psoriasis flare-ups, reduce joint pain, and even diminish the pain of a migraine!
Growing Tobasco Peppers at Home
Tabasco peppers are a compact plant, easy to grow at home, and great for a garden of any size! They come in a number of varieties, most of them bred to address specific sensitivities such as to certain plant diseases. Some of the common needs among Tabasco Pepper plants, however, remain the same.
These needs include their hardiness in the soil; as long as there is an ample amount of organic matter available, most Tabasco Pepper plants can thrive in soil of just about any composition. They also prefer direct sunlight, but the leaves can occasionally scorch a bit in sweltering conditions, so a bit of afternoon shade won’t hurt them!
It’s also crucial to note that Tabasco Pepper plants are not cold or drought resistant. They need frequent watering and mulching to help retain their moisture, so they thrive at their best! Mulching your garden or pot with dark soil several weeks before planting your Tabasco Pepper plants will also help ensure the soil is warm enough for them to thrive.
It’s often wise to begin your tabasco pepper plants indoors, four to six weeks before the final frost in your area, to ensure they get a good headstart on growing. Once the threat of frost has passed, you can transplant the tabasco pepper plants into a hole twice as wide as their transplant container.
Gently shake off the dirt from the transplant container from the roots, then place the pepper plant in the hole and carefully pack in the soil around it to the same depth as the pot it came from.
You may consider staking your plants, as they tend to produce quite a bit and will get overburdened if not properly assisted. In addition, you can fertilize and feed your pepper plants with organic fertilizer and feed every two to three weeks. Keep a close eye on the water level in the soil to ensure it remains moist but not oversaturated—and then watch your pepper plants thrive!
Where to Buy Tabasco Pepper Seeds
Tabasco Pepper seeds and seedlings can often be found at local nurseries, lawn and garden centers, and even grocery stores. If sourcing your seeds online, we recommend Hoss Tools’ Tabasco Pepper seeds.
Wrapping up Tabasco Peppers
Ready to grow some delicious, all-purpose tabasco peppers in your own pots or your backyard garden? Before you get started, be sure to check out our Peppers page! This is a great resource to learn about all different kinds of peppers, how to best grow and care for them, and so much more!