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Fire and Brimstone Gourmet Hot Pepper Sauce lesson plans

Fire and Brimstone Gourmet Pepper Sauce

This lesson plan uses the attitude objectives stated in the Alberta Program of Studies for Elementary Science. It is intended to encourage students to develop the following attitudes towards scientific study:

Demonstrate positive attitudes for the study of science and for the application of science in responsible ways.

Specific Learner Expectations

Students will show growth in acquiring and applying the following traits

  • curiosity
  • confidence in personal ability to learn and develop problem-solving skills
  • inventiveness and open-mindedness
  • perseverance in the search for understandings and for solutions to problems
  • flexibility in considering new ideas
  • critical-mindedness in examining evidence and determining what the evidence means
  • a willingness to use evidence as the basis for their conclusions and actions
  • a willingness to work with others in shared activities and in sharing of experiences
  • appreciation of the benefits gained from shared effort and cooperation
  • a sense of personal and shared responsibility for actions taken
  • respect for living things and environments, and commitment for their care.

Teachers are encouraged to use these lesson plans as a springboard for studying specific topics in Elementary Science.

How was this pepper sauce developed?

In this lesson plan, students will learn how an immigrant from the West Indies developed an award-winning sauce that he ate as a child.

A retired federal inspector from Lethbridge, Basil Simmons took a fifty-five-year-old recipe from his grandmother and combined the ingredients of Guyana, Jamaica and Alberta to produce a prize-winning hot pepper sauce.

Simmons family.

Simmons was looking to have a post-retirement career and when friends suggested he look no further than his own heritage, he decided to develop a condiment that was unlike anything on the market. He blended together mango, onion, mustard, cucumber, canola oil and Jamaican Scotch bonnet—one of the hottest peppers in the world—to construct Simmons Fire and Brimstone Hot Pepper Sauce.

In the beginning, the Simmons family made the sauce in a small commercial kitchen in Lethbridge. But when Basil set up a company with his wife Hilda and daughter Margaret, the size of production required them to move the operation to the federal food-processing centre at Leduc.      

Lesson 1—Activity 1
Have a selection of hot pepper sauces from various producers to sample with the Simmons variety. Allow students to taste, smell and view the sauces. What are their reactions?

Lesson 1—Activity 2
Show the students a selection of hot and sweet peppers. Provide information about where they are grown, and how they taste. Allow them to sample the peppers in their natural, cooked, dried, and pickled states.  

What makes this sauce different from other pepper sauces?

In this lesson plan, students learn that there is more to a pepper sauce than heat alone.

Heat in the Simmons sauce comes from two sources: mustard, and the Scotch bonnet pepper, one of the hottest peppers in the world. The Scotch bonnet is closely related to the Jamaican hot and habanero chilies. Its popular name derives from its Scottish tam-o’-shanter-like appearance. 

While heat is the main factor in a hot pepper sauce, what also occurs in many varieties is the flavour of the accompanying ingredients. In the Simmons sauce, the sweetness of mango and cooked onion, and a subtle flavour of cucumber serve to move the palate away from heat alone. Because of this, many hot sauce lovers enjoy the richness in both heat and flavour of the Simmons sauce.

This sauce comes in two strengths, and in the mild variety, the flavour and sweetness of the mango, onion and cucumber are slightly more pronounced.

Lesson 2—Activity 1
How do I make the pain go away? Present students with antidotes for the heat from the peppers. These can range include warm water, milk, yogurt and cream cheese. The warm water will help wash the pepper oils from the mouth, and the milk products will counter the acid from the peppers. Do the students have any ideas about why people eat a food that hurts them?

Is the sauce available outside of Alberta?

In this lesson plan, students will learn of the international reach of this product.

Since winning top honours in 2001 at hot foods shows in the United States, the Simmons hot sauce has been available throughout Canada and the United States. What is even more surprising, however, is the interest shown by hot sauce aficionados in Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom.

The Simmons hot sauce joins many other Alberta products whose appearance at international food shows has gained them distribution throughout the United States and beyond. Examples of these products include Kinnikinnick gluten-free breads, Alberta honey, Alberta mustard, NoNut Golden Peabutter, New Era nutraceutical bars, Big Rock beer, and Cheemo perogies.   

Lesson 3—Activity 1
Arrange a field trip to a local grocery store to see the various pepper sauces that are available. If the store is willing to provide a taste test, have the students sample and compare what is available.

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