While you’ve probably started to see more and more brands of hot sauce hit the market in recent years, the hot stuff is hardly something new. In fact, it’s possible to trace hot sauce back generations in the U.S. alone, while its real origins likely stretch back hundreds or even thousands of years. That’s because hot chili peppers go way back in time, in some cases it’s suspected upwards of several thousand years ago!
That’s the time period when people living in what we now call South America, Central America and Mexico were probably already using hot spices and chili peppers. It’s generally thought they probably ground up the pepper with water to make a paste, possibly then pairing it with tortillas. Those peppers may also have been used for medicinal purposes. When Europeans made contact, though, they began taking some of the hot plants back to Europe and other areas. The pepper, after all, was easy to grow and inexpensive, and its popularity spread fast.
It’s reported the first bottled hot sauce in the U.S. made for commercial production came out in the early 1800s. By the early 1900s, several more types and brands of hot sauce hit the market too. While most of those early brands are now obsolete, Tabasco sauce, which came about in the mid 1800s, is still around today and a real crowd favorite. Walk into any grocery store and you’ll likely find rows upon rows of different options to choose from. In fact, hot sauce has gained quite a following in more recent decades and years, and it’s certainly big business. Still based on different varieties of chili peppers, manufacturers these days use all different methods to produce some of the most flavorful concoctions around, and some are truly packed with a generous supply of heat!