What's Different About Marie Sharp's Sauces?
Are your products certified organic?
No. Organic certification is difficult to obtain in Belize, but we are authentically as organic as a company can be.
To obtain USDA certification for produce in the United States, the plants are only treated with fungicides, pesticides, or herbicides that the USDA deems safe and do not use synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or radiation.
(Yes, organic foods can often be treated with pesticides.)
We exceed USDA standards. We are 100% pesticide-free. We use indigenous NON-GMO heirloom varietals. Our crops are hand harvested.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are made into products within hours of picking.
All trucks carrying produce coming into our facility are routinely tested for contamination.
Do your pepper sauces need to be refrigerated?
No. But they will stay fresh longer. Room temperature is where microbes thrive and multiply at the fastest rate; refrigeration slows down this growth. The FDA is now encouraging all sauce makers to add "Refrigerate after opening" to labels.
Hot sauces can last far longer than their "best buy" date, which is only a guide, not an expiration.
How do you smoke your peppers?
Gerry and Marie Sharp developed our method for smoking peppers after watching documentaries about smokers in Alaska.
We have an exclusive and secret blend of four different types of fruit wood; Craboo wood, Grapefruit wood, Guava wood and Orange wood.
What is the shelf life of your pepper sauces?
We do not have an expiration date. The "Best By" date is 36 months from the day of manufacturing. The product is extremely shelf stable and is safe to use long after this date.
Why do some flavors have a high sodium content?
At Marie Sharp's, we pride ourselves on using whole and natural ingredients.
Most of our sauces are low in sodium, but our hotter sauces can be higher. Salt is "natures preservative." If you read our competitor's labels, you’ll notice they substitute salt with unhealthy ingredients like Sodium Benzoates/Sorbates, Nitrites, and Sulfites.
Because we refuse to sacrifice taste and health for these artificial preservatives, we have to find a way to stabilize our product's shelf life in a healthy and delicious way. We accomplish this by only using hand-raked, fluffy, snow-white Mayan sea salt and fruit vinegars to preserve and stabilize our tasty sauces for long lives on your shelves.
What is the white frothy layer on top of my jam or jelly after it has been refrigerated?
When you make jams and jellies from scratch, every batch will be different. You will not have a perfect uniform consistency like a fast-food restaurant or other large-scale jelly manufacturer. If the layer on top is crystallized, it is sugars in the jam that have risen to the top and hardened from being in a cool place.
If it is a frothy layer, that is from the bubbles forming while being cooked and then rising after the canning process. These factors will not change the flavor but can change the texture. You can fix this by heating your jams and jellies back up, or stirring out the bubbles.
Why does my bottle of Sauce seem different than the last one?
Like a fine wine, depending on when your batch of sauce is made, your bottle of Marie’s Sharp’s sauce may have slight variations.
This is due to seasonal crop yield of Marie Sharp’s heirloom habanero peppers, available local fruits and vegetables, and small batch production.
This anomaly truly captures the essence of how Mrs. Marie makes her sauces still today. Just as if they were coming from her small kitchen, she uses only freshly available ingredients for ultimate flavor, adding no artificial fillers, dyes, or other nonsense to make the product appear identical from batch to batch.
Why is the label different on this bottle versus the last one?
Obtaining packaging materials has been especially challenging during the last few years, and therefore labels, neck bands and caps may vary in color or appearance.
We know how important it is to have your product look great on the shelf, so we try our best to make sure that every bottle looks as good as possible.
Who is Marie Sharp and Where is Melinda Estate?
Is Marie Sharp a real person?
Yes. Marie is very real, and the brand name is a registered US Trademark.
We speak to Ms. Marie each week.
Since 1980, Marie has crafted recipes using the habanero pepper long before it was a household name. From 1980 until 1994, Marie's sauces were sold under the brand name Melinda's, named for her 400-acre farm in Belize — Melinda Estate.
At 84 years young, Marie is an active CEO starting work every day at 8:00 a.m. Three generations of family members report to Marie, who is in full command of day-to-day operations.
The undisputed "Queen of Habanero" sells her sauce in more than 36 different countries. Marie Sharp's is the #1 Habanero Pepper Sauce in the world.
Where is Melinda Estate, the Marie Sharp's farm, located?
The Melinda Forest Reserve is an area of Belize, Central America, home to the greatest sauce maker the world has ever known.
Melinda Estate is the name of the Sharp family farm where Marie Sharp has made her products since 1980. Melinda Estate is located on Melinda Road, in the Stann Creek District of Belize, within the greater Melinda Forest Reserve.
You can read more about Marie Sharp here: Marie Sharp's on Wikipedia.
Is Marie Sharp associated with the Melinda's brand marketed in the USA?
Marie Sharp is the creator of the original habanero pepper sauce recipe marketed between 1980-1994 under the Melinda's brand name.
The sauce that took the world by storm was, and still is, crafted with a fresh carrot-base and a blend of onions, freshly squeezed key lime juice, natural vinegar and sea salt, with varying amounts of red habanero pepper.
After 1994, Marie has produced all her products under the brand name Marie Sharp's Fine Foods, Ltd. Everything is still made at the same family farm with the same thoughtful ingredients and processes.