Looking for a quick, easy way to elevate your mealtime routine? Why not give fermented condiments a try? These naturally preserved, nutritious super foods are one of the culinary world’s best-kept secrets. And no, we’re not talking about sour pickles and soggy cabbage. We’re talking about a wide array of sauces, relishes, salsas, krauts, and kimchis that are every bit as – and even more – delicious than your typical run-of-the-mill condiments. Condiments are garnishes that enhance a meal’s overall flavor. Not all condiments are created equal though. The truth is fermented condiments are simply fresher, spicier, tangier, and crunchier than your typical pantry fare. So, the next time you reach for that old familiar bottle of ketchup, mustard or mayonnaise, consider trying fermented condiments instead. You might be surprised to discover that they’re actually better tasting and better for you.
Nutrition Disguised as Yummy Goodness
When was the last time your family or friends “oohed and aahed” over one of your home-cooked meals? If blissful expressions and groans of delight are what you’re going for, try serving hot-off-the-grill burgers topped with a heaping spoonful of cool, crunchy fermented kimchi. Or a veggie-stuffed omelet with a squirt of naturally fermented sriracha. Or one of our personal favorites, an open-face Reuben slider piled high with sweet caraway apple fermented sauerkraut. Notice what all of these winning dishes have in common? They all owe their impressive taste creds to the addition of drool-worthy fermented condiments.
Fermentation is a natural process that preserves foods and infuses them with a distinctive tanginess and zest. However, fermented condiments do more than simply complement and enhance the flavor of your entrées. They also promote the growth of helpful bacteria, known as probiotics, which improve your body’s immune function and contribute to your digestive, heart, and mental health. Billions of these friendly microbes reside in your gut, helping your body absorb vitamins and minerals and fight off bad bacteria that can lead to disease.
A word to the wise, though, when you find yourself thrust into the limelight for your mealtime marvels, you might want to avoid words like “bacteria,” “microbe,” or even “ferment.” It’s enough that you know the food you’re serving is a boon to your family and friends’ health; all they need to know is that it’s delicious.
Sriracha is High on the List of Favorite Fermented Condiments
Sriracha is a complex, multi-layered, chili-based hot sauce that is so addictive, many foodies carry a bottle with them wherever they go. Incredibly versatile, all it takes is a dollop or two to completely transform eggs, salads, soups, veggies, or any steak, fish, or chicken entrée into a five-star meal. In fact, hot sauce aficionados love the spicy kick of a good sriracha so much, they’ll add it to just about anything, including chow mein, sushi, ramen noodles, tacos, Buddha bowls, party dips, and even pizza.
Wondering where you can get a bottle, or two, or three? Your local supermarket is a good bet, but most commercial sriracha brands contain added sugar and chemical preservatives and also lack the health benefits associated with fermented alternatives. A second option would be to make your own fermented sriracha from scratch; however, most of us don’t have a pantry full of fresh veggies, spices, and herbs on hand, as well as the time (days, not hours) needed to chop, ferment, blend, and puree our own special mix. Don’t despair though; there is a third option.
If you’re strapped for time, but would like to try a really great fermented sriracha, check out wildbrine’s sugar-free, vegan, spicy red or smoky green srirachas. Made from a select combination of naturally fermented cabbage, kale, peppers, green onions, garlic and tomatillos and infused with a blend of heat-inducing spices, these slow-burning hot sauces deliver a jolt of flavor with every bite. A good, fermented sriracha sauce is hands-down the best way to kickstart your metabolism, protect your health, and liven up an otherwise ho-hum meal. Just ask yourself, can an ordinary bottle of ketchup do all that? We don’t think so.