Nourishing our Children | Fall 2019 | Rethinking Condiments

By Barbara Schellenberg

Condiments should be used to elevate a meal and can be a great way to incorporate more nutrients into your diet, but I find they are more often served up to mask the flavour or lack of flavour in food. As with everything, it is important to have a strong foundation; start with the best available ingredients for a meal to make sure you have a nutritious and flavourful base. Then use a creative, homemade condiment to take a simple meal to the next level.

Commercial condiments are full of synthetic colours, processed sugars, thickeners, flavourings, and flavour enhancers that are linked to many health and behavioural problems. These are things you really don’t want to feed to your kids. Store bought condiments like ketchup, HP sauce, and cranberry sauce are so easily replaced by nutritious, homemade and unique sides. Using simple ingredients, you can eliminate a swath of chemicals from your diet. Try homemade cranberry sauce, currant sauce, or even a delicious acidic spiced plum sauce.

This simple and quick condiment is probably my favourite since it uses whatever fruit you have on hand.

Melt a little butter in a saucepan, toss in a few handfuls of fresh or frozen ripe fruit such as wild berries, fresh figs, pears, apples (even bananas work great with pork!). Lightly sauté the fruit until it starts to look like a compote. This ‘no-sugar-added’ versatile condiment is a great addition to top any meat dish. You can play with adding herbs, vinegars, and spices, as well. I particularly like to use berry sauces with lamb and apple/pear/fig with beef and pork.

Alternatively, you can find many great replacement recipes for traditional condiments in Sally Fallons’ book, Nourishing Traditions (available at www.westonaprice.org), and other online sources. I also have a favourite ketchup recipe you can find online by Jamie Oliver. It is easy to make and is absolutely delicious.

Introduce sides such as live, facto-fermented kimchi and sauerkraut. The live probiotic sides aid indigestion and metabolism of nutrients, helping your body make the most of the food you eat. They also have a cleansing effect on the palate, making your food taste ‘brighter’.

For more everyday ways to incorporate nutritious and healing foods into your daily diet, you can follow my food page on Facebook: @ek.everydaysuperfoods.

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