The evolution of hot sauce, from ancient time to today

A lot of us just can’t get enough of hot sauce, from topping breakfast, lunch, and dinner creations, to snacks in between

Today, hot sauce is used to flavor everything from eggs and wings to stir fry, stew, dips, and even cocktails. While you may be eager to try some of the latest concoctions tied to the hot pepper scale, hot sauce has likely been around for thousands of years. Some say it can be traced back to the ancient times. As early as 6500 BC, it’s thought indigenous people in Central America were making their own versions of hot sauce from water, salt, spices, and herbs. In some cases, hot sauce was used for spiritual reasons, as well as medicinal ones.

The story was similar in the pre-Columbian era.

It’s believed hot sauces were part of Mesoamerican culture, as they were used to help flavor food, but also preserve food. During colonization, Europeans introduced their own methods and ingredients, such as vinegar, for making hot sauce. Asian explorers brought with them ginger, garlic, and soy sauce. As hot sauce began to spread around the world, it also began to influence local cuisine. In the Caribbean, its commonly used for seafood and fish, and often relies on garlic and scotch bonnet peppers. In Mexico, hot sauce is often used for burritos and tacos, and is generally now made from chiles, onions, and tomatoes. In the United States, you’ll often find hot sauce made from cayenne peppers, spices, and vinegar.

Today, some surveys suggest more than 70-percent of Americans have some type of hot sauce in their home.

And nearly the same amount admit to using it at least once a week. Millennials are especially fond of hot sauce, which makes sense because the trend for new styles and flavors of hot sauce really began taking off in the late 20th century. That’s good news for all of us who just can’t stop at one.

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