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Cooking icon 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 “whitening” 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

Taken from the eBook Healthy Homemaking: One Step at a Time.

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