Condiments, Sauces & Spreads Buying Guide

There’s hardly anyone who doesn’t relish a good meal. Along with the ingredients of a particular dish, the dressing , garnishing and overall appearance of the food also goes a long way in making it alluring. And in many food items, it’s all about the condiments and seasonings added that enhance the taste of the dish. So what exactly are condiments, sauces and seasonings? Well, being precise condiments are the various sauces and seasonings that are added in a particular delicacy to boost the flavour or simply as a complement to the food. Generally condiments are added in diminutive quantities as they impart a pungent flavour to the dish. Salt, ketchup, pepper, vinegar,mustard, sugar and olive oil are some items popularly used as condiments to prepare either a sauce or a seasoning.

Properties:

Boasting of a consistency similar to that of a thick paste or liquid, dinners more often than not serve up condiments from a bowl, bottle or jar when it is a sauce. It isn’t always necessary though for condiments to being provided in this state. In some instances, they are dry and may include herbs. In this form, they are referred to as seasonings.

Types of Condiments:

Condiments are categorized as pungents, fatty and hot. Under the pungent group, it includes ingredients like:
  • onions,
  • garlic,
  • horseradish,
  • chives and
  • shallots.
A variety of edible fat is put under the fatty substance condiment group and includes
  • butter,
  • animal fats and
  • vegetable greases.
The hot condiment group is comprised of English sauces like
  • Baron Green seasoning,
  • Worcestershire,
  • ketchup and
  • Harvey,
American sauces like
  • Tabasco,
  • chilli and
  • steak sauce
also featured in the hot list.

Sauces:

Condiments in the liquid form are referred to as sauce and are used in virtually all cuisines across the globe. While in some food items they form a key ingredient, in others they may be served as only an accompaniment. In most dishes they aren’t generally eaten by themselves and are employed solely for the purpose of adding moisture and flavour to the food. Certain dishes also use sauces only to make them a visual treat and more appetizing. In many sauces, a liquid component is an essential part though in certain sauces a solid ingredient could be its key constituter.

Seasonings:

Including a range of spices and herbs, seasonings form an integral part of many world cuisines. Augmenting the flavour of the food to give it a distinct richness, a seasoning is generally added in a dish in minimal quantity depending on the taste that needs to be imparted to the dish. Hot and cold oil infusions are also used as seasonings.

Uses:

Added to a dish generally before serving, condiments give a strong texture besides adding to the dish’s aroma. The French cuisine is best known for its use of condiments. Some other cuisines that include sauces and seasonings as major contributors to a dish are
  • Korean,
  • Chinese,
  • Italian,
  • Indian,
  • British,
  • Latino,
  • Peruvian and
  • Southeast Asian.
The properties of a condiment typically determine its use. For example, when salt is used by itself as a seasoning, it is generally added to draw out the water from the food while also adding to the taste. Sweet sauces are employed hot or cold to either garnish or complement a dessert. Stewed fruit often made sweet include sauces like apple and cranberry. While apple sauce goes well with food delicacies such as ham, potato pancakes or pork, cranberry sauce is best enjoyed when served with poultry. A seasoning is rubbed on to the food ingredient like meat or vegetable to impart its distinct flavour. In some cuisines, seasonings are added in moderate proportions to the food either at the start or the end of the dish depending on whether it is of the hot, acidic, saccharine or saline type. A dish that has been well-planned includes condiments in the right quantity to complement the ingredients used. Meats in particular are prepared with the right use of condiments irrespective of the cuisine. It is however important to match the condiment with the kind of meat appropriately to get the best taste from the dish. Roasted meat in a Sunday roast conventionally uses condiments. Cranberry sauce generally accompanies turkey, redcurrant jelly/mint sauce goes well with lamb and beef is usually enhanced with mustard/horseradish sauce. Mustard/apple sauce is used to enhance the taste of pork, while Apple jelly/Bread sauce is used for chicken.

Availability:

Condiments are available either in a packaging or can be prepared fresh for instant use. Those featuring in packets or sachets of single-serving include ketchups or mustard. Among the readymade sauce variety soy sauce is the most popular one. Certain dishes require a sauce to be prepared fresh right before it is served like Bechamel sauce. Salad dressings are also made fresh and aren’t available off the shelf as such.

Storage:

Traditionally condiments have been stored in an overall cool environment. Depending on the condiment in question, refrigeration may also be necessary. Ketchups and sauces like mayo, that include ingredients which have the tendency to go rancid sooner need to be refrigerated. Herbs and seasonings may be stored well in air-tight containers at room temperatures. Exposing the surface area of the ingredients used to prepare a condiment increases the chances of them losing out on flavour. Condiments such as vinegar need to be stored on the basis of its type though if unopened it has a shelf life of up to two years. More than knowing how long a condiment stays fresh or gives the desired flavour to the food, it is important to keep track of when the condiment has been exposed to moisture.

Nutritive value:

Along with taste, condiments are known for the nutritive value also. Helping in the easy secretion of important digestive juices, condiments are used in the treatment of a number of ailments. When cooked appropriately, condiments add taste and variation well to the food. Absorbed into the body, condiments are best known for their digestive properties. Condiments including seasonings are also known to have anti-bacterial properties and including them in right proportions in the diet can also help improve overall health.

Related Accessories

  • Condiment Pump
  • Condiment Holder
  • Condiment Server
  • Condiment Organizer
  • Condiment Tray
  • Condiment Pot
  • Condiment Rack
  • Sauce Maker
  • Sauce Cup
  • Sauce Pot

Blogs