Homemade Condiments for Your Summer Gathering

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At Fuel we are all about injecting flavor into healthy foods and taking the enjoyment of eating clean to another level.  Fresh ingredients and homemade food is a huge part of our philosophy so I thought I would give you some ideas on how to make familiar summer condiments healthier and even more full of flavor.  Most people associate summer BBQ season with the standard adornments such as ketchup, mustard, and relish but these are often highly processed and loaded with refined sugars and preservatives.  I know most people don’t consider making homemade versions of these toppings but it is really super simple, in the end you will have something much healthier and the taste will outshine any bottled condiment lingering in your refrigerator I promise!

Let’s start with ketchup, probably the most popular all around condiment out there.  Unless you are buying an all-natural, organic type ketchup most conventional brands contain a whack of refined sugar and less than wholesome ingredients, take a look at the ingredient label and you will see what I am talking about.

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Have you ever wondered how natural flavor can be considered an ingredient…hmmmm?
According to Code of Federal Regulations natural flavoring is defined as:

the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.“….In other words, natural flavors can be pretty much anything approved for use in foods.

Even more reason to make easy and delicious homemade ketchup…you will never turn back!! We often serve a variation of this with our amazing turkey burger.  Here is a super simple ketchup recipe that doesn’t even require turning on the stoveImage

Ingredients:

1 cup sun dried tomatoes

1 cup fresh tomatoes, any kind will do but grape tomatoes add a nice sweet flavour

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup sweet yellow onion or shallots, chopped

10 basil leaves

1 tsp. all spice, ground

1/2 tsp. cloves, ground

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

6 dates, pitted

1/4 olive or flax oil

2 tbsp raw coconut nectarraw honey, or coconut sugar

1 tsp. himalayan or sea salt

Preparation:

  1. Soak dates and sun dried tomatoes in enough warm water to cover for about 20 minutes, then drain soak water.
  2. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth, how easy is that!!
  3. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

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Mustard is my favorite condiment because is it so versatile, pungent in flavour, and has many health benefits.  Amazing on its own or as an addition to dressings, marinades, and dips mustard is a must have in my pantry.  Conventional mustard is not the worst offender in terms of unhealthy ingredients and there are many great natural brands that I use quite often, but there is just something about making it from scratch and putting your own twist on it.  This is a simple basic recipe but you could add all types of additional flavors, how about fresh tarragon, dill, or rosemary….yum!!

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup brown or yellow mustard seeds (the brown seeds have more of a kick!)

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp. white pepper, ground

1 tsp. tumeric, ground

1/4 filtered water, or just enough to achieve desired consistency

Preparation:

  1. Gently crush mustard seeds with a mortar and pestle, this will result in a ‘grainy’ type mustard.  If you prefer a ‘smoother’ consistency grind mustard seeds in a coffee or spice grinder.
  2. Add all ingredients except water to a blender and blend to combine.
  3. Add water slowly until desired consistency is achieved.
  4. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator up to 2 months.

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Conventional relish is another one of those sneaky purveyors of refined sugar which most of you are hopefully trying to avoid. Relish also contains artificial colors, unless you are eating kale relish that vibrant green color which so beautifully compliments your BBQ favorites is very far removed from anything natural.

Have you ever looked at the ingredient list of the most popular brands of prepared relish? You might find items like high fructose corn syrup, refined salt, colors such as yellow no. 5 (also known as tartrazine) and blue no. 1, natural flavor (yes it rears its ugly head again!), and preservatives such as polysorbate 80

Ditch that unhealthy stuff and try your hand at making a fresh relish, another great recipe that has endless possibilities for adding your own personal flare.  While I admit this one takes more prep time than the first two recipes due to all the chopping, it is definitely worth it! A simple trick to avoid the chopping is to do a rough chop of the first four ingredients and then pulse in a food processor with the remaining ingredients…so easy!

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Ingredients:

1 small jar of natural pickles, drained and finely chopped

1 red pepper, finely chopped

1 green pepper finely chopped

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

juice of 2 medium sized lemons

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or natural red wine vinegar

1/4 cup coconut sugar

2 tsp. grated ginger or powdered ginger

1 tsp. white pepper, ground

Preparation:

  1. If chopping by hand mix all ingredients in a large bowl and let sit for 1 hour to allow flavors to marinate together.
  2. If using a food processor add all ingredients and pulse a few times to achieve a fine chop, you want it to be a little chunky.
  3. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Try one of these recipes at your next outdoor gathering, these make great host gifts as well, trust me you will the hit of the party!!

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Wishing you a fresh, nutritious, and delicious day!

Michelle Waithe, holistic nutritionist at Fuel

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