FAQ

What's different about Marie Sharp's sauces?

Our ingredients are better. Very simply, we make products the old fashioned way — we use whole fruits and vegetables and real things from the earth.

Marie Sharp’s products are 100% CLEAN — our pesticide-free, NON-GMO vegetables are sustainably raised by the same Mennonite families, who for decades, have hand-harvested our unique heirloom varietals.

Our ingredients start FRESH.

What does this mean for you?

1. We do not ferment our peppers. The day they are picked is the day they are chopped, retaining all the juicy goodness. Most sauces use fermented mash that is stored over long periods of time.

2. Common Mexican sauces with water listed first is an indication that the producer has cut corners and used powdered ingredients (i.e. Cholula, Tapatio, El Yucateco, etc). Water is needed to rehydrate (or reconstitute) processed powdered ingredients, that are dead and lifeless.

3. Our sauces are not vinegar-based, like typical hot sauces, which can contain more than 40% white distilled vinegar. Marie Sharp's Pepper Sauces are based on whole fruits and vegetables that compliment foods, rather than overpower meals with acidic vinegar pungency.

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 go well beyond this standard. 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.

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. 

Gerry and Marie developed our own 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.

First and foremost, we use only fresh ingredients. This is almost unheard of in the Western world of food manufacturing. No fillers, colors, preservatives, thickeners, stabilizers, gums, or unpronounceable things.

What we don't grow or raise ourselves, we meticulously manage.

The same Mennonite families have been growing the same species of our indigenous carrots and onions for more than twenty years. You will not find pesticides, fungicides, roundup, or any GMO seeds on these farms. Neither will you see mechanized equipment.

Unlike most makers of common table sauces, we know exactly from which plot of land our ingredients originated. We are not interested in sourcing the cheapest form of salt, powdered garlic, or dehydrated pepper.

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 for many years after this date.

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.

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.

Depending on when your batch of sauce is made, your bottle of Pure Love Pineapple Habanero sauce may vary in color. This is due to seasonal crop yield of Marie Sharp’s heirloom habanero peppers. Yellow, orange or red habaneros may be used for creating Pure Love Pineapple. 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.

Who is Marie Sharp and Where is Melinda Estate?

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 80 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 30 different countries. Marie Sharp's is the #1 Habanero Pepper Sauce in the world.

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.

Absolutely not. Marie Sharp is the creator of the original habanero pepper sauce recipe marketed between 1980-1994.

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.

What are your hottest sauces?

list of Marie Sharp's hot sauces and their heat scale level