Healthy Homemaking: Homemade Condiments

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Baby Step 12- Homemade Condiments

What this baby step is about:

Try your hand at making a homemade condiment of your choice.

Why this step is important:

Have you read the back of a condiment label lately? Enough said! ☺

Seriously though, there are so many unnecessary ingredients. Sugar (which tops the list and is present in almost every condiment), preservatives of every kind (of course), a bit of MSG here and there, maybe some colorings, not to mention white vinegar and regular table salt (which have had all nutritional benefit removed in the β€œwhitening” process).

Homemade condiments are quick, simple and wholesome. They can be used freely, without worrying about the sugar buzz your children will get from their ketchup, the rancid oils in the mayonnaise, or the preservatives in the salad dressing.

You may even find that once you begin to make them yourself, you will lose a taste for store bought items. I now find regular ketchup far too sweet since I have been making my own, and have also realized just how sweetened the mayonnaise is, too. I truly prefer the more down-to-earth, natural taste of something homemade, and after you adapt to the new flavor, you may just find the same is true for yourself.

Is it cheaper to make my own? I’m not really sure. I’ve heard many people say that it is, but frankly I don’t really think so. When I take into consideration all of the different ingredients I am using, I would wager that it ends up pretty much equal with what I would pay in the store.

The difference, then, is in the quality of the ingredients, the lack of unknowns or undesirables, and the freshness of the product. For me, that’s worth the few minutes that it takes to prepare it, rather than just grabbing it off the store shelf.

How to get started with this step:

My suggestion would be to simply choose one that your family enjoys often, and just give it a shot. If the first recipe doesn’t do it for you, try looking for another, or try altering the first one yourself. We all have slightly different tastes, so you may not love the honey mustard dressing that I love.

One thing to keep in mind is that many of these will not taste exactly the same as your usual store-bought brand. That’s ok. Encourage your family to try a little anyways, and be enthusiastic about it. Ask for their input, and see how you can tweak it to suit their tastes.

I once made a plum sauce that just wasn’t really doing it for us. I looked up in my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, to get an idea of what they would add to a plum sauce, and behold- they included soy sauce and vinegar in the recipe (which I hadn’t). A bit of Bragg’s and a few spoonfuls of apple cider vinegar later, and I had a sauce that we were practically licking up with our fingers, it was so good!

Online Resources:

Make-it yourself salad dressings (Ranch, Creamy Lemon Poppyseed, Caesar, plus Teriyaki sauce)
Everyday Oil and Vinegar Dressing
Honey Mustard Salad Dressing (best with homemade mayo) (just search the type of condiment you’d like to make, and chances are, you’ll find the recipe! As well, look for spice mix recipes, like taco seasoning mix)

Reading Resources:

Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book – Most really good, standard cookbooks will include condiment recipes. You might need to make minor ingredient substitutions to keep the recipes a bit healthier, but this book has a lot of do it yourself recipes
Nourishing Traditions – a whole chapter on homemade condiments

Do you ever make your own condiments? Which ones do you find the easiest to adjust to making homemade? Any great recipes to share?

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  1. All the time, love it. Ketchup I love SO much more than the store; just made creamy caesar dressing last night – very easy. It really is trial and error to find the recipe just right for us but it’s worth it. I have to be extra careful to keep ALL traces of MSG out of my diet (migraine sensitivity). I’ve used a few from – I liked the ketchup recipe from there. Mayo I haven’t mastered yet but I look forward to trying again. Thanks for the links and extra resources! I love having more on hand to try!

  2. I make my own mustard. That reminds me! I was going to do it this weekend! I’m excited to try the ketchup recipe. Thanks!

  3. Thanks for the ideas! I am excited to buy your Ebook hopefully in June. For now these tips have got me thinking enough to last me until then, LOL.

    I tried the ketchup recipe you have posted a while back but none of us liked it at all, I’ve been searching for another recipe but you gave some good ideas on where to find one. I make my own salad dressing (I recently found that link on the noursing gourmet, its great but I leave out the mustard). And I make my own teryaki sauce, and can my own relish too. My relish needs more help though for different ingredients.

  4. Wonderful post! I LOVE Nourishing Traditions and have reread it many, many times. It is a wonderful resource and reminder about what really is healthy!

  5. This is one thing I have never tried! It always seemed a little intimidating – but I think I have the courage to give it a whirl now! πŸ™‚

    Hey, I sent you an email, too. Hopefully we can connect at some point!

  6. This is one of the ideas I haven’t gotten around to yet, but I love the idea. Thank you for sharing these recipes.

  7. i enjoy your blog so much and learn so much from it that i gave you anaward. check out my blog for it πŸ™‚

  8. I’m wondering about the safety of consuming raw eggs as well. Also, we use Miracle Whip, have you ever come across a recipe for that? Thanks!

  9. Nola, I think Passionate Homemaking has a ketchup recipe. Have you tried that one? (I haven’t) The one I make still isn’t my hubby’s favorite (though the kids and I really like it), so I’m somewhat still looking for recipes, too. I occasionally buy the expensive organic, agave nectar ketchup for him instead, because he really enjoys that one.

    Nola and Christy, raw egg is fine if your eggs are from a good clean source (ie. free-range, not cooped up or sick), and well washed. Usually the bacteria that harbors in eggs is actually on the shell, so I always give an extra good wash to any egg I intend to eat raw (mine come straight from the farm, so they all need to be washed). Ultimately, the issue is similar to the raw milk one. It’s about quality and how it’s being done, but there is actually great nutrition in eating them raw. I was leery at first, but have done it now for several years without every getting sick from it.

    Sorry Christy, no recipes for Miracle Whip, only mayo. πŸ™‚ I’m sure they’re out there, though!

  10. ok, thanks I will look for that recipe. What is the agave one called? I looked online and could only find one…but I have never seen that here. Although I am fairly limited… Thats the issue with the eggs too. I can’t get the quality ones that I want, same as with milk. I keep looking for a healthier store bought mayo…its hard sometimes to find things away from the big city but I tell myself there is less air pollution here, never any smog etc so that must count for something :).

  11. Nola, The agave one is made by OrganicVille. Muir Glen also makes an organic ketchup, but I’m not sure what it’s sweetened with. I gave up looking for healthier (but still affordable) mayo and that’s why I started making my own. Now I really like it, even though it took some getting used to.

    And I’m sure the lower pollution counts for something! πŸ™‚

  12. Oddly enough, I’ve always made my own condiments since I avoid refined sugar in my diet. I started with ketchup and mayo in teens and have moved on to all sorts of things/ Today I made a pomegranate reduction when I could have ordered it online and paid three times as much as the juice cost.It’s going to be great in sauces.

    The one I like making best is lemon curd, which I first made years ago out of a failed buttercream. I think I’ll make a batch this weekend.

  13. I can’t think, honestly, of the last time that I purchased a condiment in a store. I have been trying to get recipes, one by one, that work for our family (and we are off sugar, no less) and for the most part it has worked. It is more costly that the store versions sometimes (especially if you consider that you can get lots of condiments cheaply or for free w/ couponing), but I do think that it is worth it for our family’s health.

    By making your own you can avoid high fructose corn syrup and the MSG-like flavor additives that are so prevalent in all refined foods.

    I still don’t have a good enough mustard recipe to share, but I will share 2 great recipes with you – one for a wonderful homemade Moroccan Vinaigrette:
    and one that you can extrapolate from my recipe for Oven Barbecued Chicken:

    I am just a beginning blogger, but hopefully I will have some more in the near future! And if someone has a great homemade mustard recipe….send it our way! πŸ™‚

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