Everyone loves a healthful dose of hot sauce.
Not only does it add a little heat and flavor to your favorite dishes, but it is also a staple in many cultures around the world.
Plus, it is quite good for you!
Needless to say, hot sauce is pretty amazing—and what better time to celebrate its greatness than Hot Sauce Day?
What Is the Big Deal About Hot Sauce Day?
That is right—January 22nd is Hot Sauce Day and it is exactly what you would expect: a day completely devoted to celebrating this popular spicy condiment.
But here is something you might not have expected: did you know that hot sauce has been around for thousands of years?
We can trace the roots of hot sauce back to more than 6,000 years ago when the people of Mexico, Central America and South America started using chilies (one of the main ingredients in hot sauce) to flavor their food.
Chili peppers were also enjoyed in various forms throughout Europe after the plant made its way across the Atlantic Ocean in the 16th century.
Then in 1807, the first bottled hot sauce was introduced to the mass market in a small shop in Massachusetts.
The hot sauce tradition was officially born.
What Is Inside Your Favorite Hot Sauce?
Hot sauce is ‘hot’ because it contains chili pepper.
However, what specific type of pepper is used depends on culture and geographic location.
Here is a quick look at the main ingredients from some of the world’s most renowned hot sauce destinations:
- Mexico: Chipotle or jalapeno peppers
- Jamaica: Scotch bonnet peppers
- Belize: Habanero peppers, carrots and onions
- China: Chili peppers ground into a thick paste
- Japan: Chilies infused with awamori rice spirit
- Vietnam: Sun-ripened chili peppers, garlic, vinegar, sugar and salt
Obviously this is a ‘short list’ of hot sauces.
However, one thing remains constant: no matter where you travel, you are bound to find a popular, local hot sauce that is unique and delicious.
The Surprising Health Benefits of Hot Sauce
We all agree that hot sauce can ‘rev up’ a dish. But did you know that this extra spice is actually quite good for you?
For one thing, hot sauces tend to be low in calories, sugar, and fat. Plus, they may contain a good amount of vitamin C, which boosts metabolism and supports the immune system.
Additionally, chili peppers are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, all of which help to improve overall health.
Another unique benefit comes from capsaicin, a colorless compound that gives chili peppers their heat and also contains analgesic properties powerful enough to be used in some pain relieving topical creams.
How to Celebrate Hot Sauce Day
Now that you know all about chili peppers and hot sauce, here are a few ideas for participating in Hot Sauce Day on January 22nd:
- Host a Hot Sauce Sampling Party: Gather your friends and family together to taste test new flavors.
- Try Hot Sauce from Another Culture: If you typically eat Mexican hot sauce, give one from China, Japan or another country a try. The possibilities are endless and you might just find a new favorite.
- Make a Hot Sauce Recipe: Hot sauce is typically used as a condiment but how about trying a recipe where it plays the starring role? You will thoroughly enjoy our recipe for Baked Buffalo Cauliflower ‘Wings!’ Not only is it a fun weekday entrée, it could also be THE appetizer that everyone is talking about at your Super Bowl party or other special gathering!
In any event, have a happy Hot Sauce Day and be sure to eat something spicy on January 22nd!