Homemade Condiments Offer Better Quality, Less Plastic Waste

| 8/5/2015 8:05:00 AM

Sheila JulsonFor years, I’ve made my own salad dressing. I started with simple vinaigrettes and branched out to ranch, vegetarian Caesar salad, and Thousand Island. I serve and store the dressings in my rustic corked-topped salad dressing bottles, which not only impress guests, but also keep a few glass and plastic bottles out of the recycling bin. (Is all of that plastic really getting recycled?)

My household progressed to homemade enchilada sauce and savory-seasoning blends created from our own spice cabinet, guaranteeing that our condiments are free from partially hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup, and any other synthetic concoctions that had been slipped into our commercial foods over the last 60 years.

But there were some crucial condiments I had ignored, and the reality stared me in the face as I grabbed our household recycling bin to take outside for pickup. An empty plastic mayonnaise jar sat at the top, razzing me with its label that had the words “partially hydrogenated soybean oil” tucked away in the fine print – just like a credit card statement that hides all the nasty details.

I cursed the fact that we let our guard down and vowed to research homemade mayonnaise recipes. It was a process that frightened me, as I remembered the one and only time I tried to make homemade mayonnaise. I was a teenager, and I tried making mayonnaise with the commercial corn oil we happened to have in the house.

homemade mayonnaise 

After I discarded the mayonnaise jar, my husband Doug and I ran out to pick up a few groceries. Knowing that we were going to grill out that evening, he wanted barbecue sauce. After examining almost every brand on the shelf, all of the labels revealed high-fructose corn syrup as a top ingredient. I also thought of all those plastic bottles and where they really ended up after use. We left without purchasing barbecue sauce, another condiment I knew we could make ourselves.

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