flavor enhancers, condiments

Recipes for Food Enhancers, Condiments, Spicing up Boring Food…

flavor enhancers, condiments

Food enhancers (flavor enhancers). Condiments like ketchup, mustard, mayo, relish, dressings, sauces, spices, syrups, and all others…

Well, did you know that you can make your own?

And maybe homemade is better for you?

Here’s the challenge:

List one of your own recipes for homemade (do it yourself) condiments or flavor enhancements in the comment section below.

I’ll pull some of them out and insert into the article.

Do-it-yourself Flavor Enhancers

Being a preparedness website, we recommend that you go beyond just having some food storage. Don’t forget about all those spices and condiments!

Put together a inventory of ingredients to make your own food enhancers.

Maybe some of it could come from your garden. Other spices and enhancers might come from your grocery store which you simply add to your own storage (not everything grows local).

Plain food can get boring. So what can we do to bring it to life?

Don’t suffer from ‘appetite fatigue’.

Here are a few recipes (extracted from previous comments) to get the thought process going.

Make Your Own Chocolate Syrup

(from MSB commenter, ‘JayJay’)

I make my own syrup. Better than Hershey’s.
No preservatives.

1 cup cane sugar
½ cup cocoa
1 cup water
¼-½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon sea salt

Pour all ingredients except vanilla into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for several minutes, stirring constantly.

Stir in vanilla extract.
Allow syrup to cool.

I store my syrup in an empty chocolate syrup container.

Make Your Own Italian Dressing

(from MSB commenter, ‘Peanut Gallery’)

Italian Dressing

1 cup of salad oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon thyme
2 cloves garlic minced

Shake all the ingredients in a jar. Let sit for at least 2 hours to blend the flavors.

I randomly pulled those two recipes out of our reader comment base. Now’s your chance to add your own, for the benefit of others.

Ready? Go!

Recipe Book: The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook: Make Your Own Condiments


  1. Taking ramen spice packets into the wild is easy to do, the foil is tough and takes damage from other contents of pack easy. Many flavors to choose from and if you treat it as just flavor, lasts a good while. Or use entire package for a soup on a cold day. Very high sodium content so use with caution.

  2. I used to waste a lot of money on condiments I used only a few times before throwing out the rest of the jar. Most of those are mayonnaise based and I always use my mayo before it spoils.

    So Tartar sauce is Mayo, pickle relish, grated onion, dill, salt and pepper. Just add them all to taste. You can add capers if you have them, but I almost never have them.

    Coleslaw dressing is Mayo, milk, vinegar, salt, pepper, a little mustard or turmeric. Again add to taste and until you get the consistency you want.

    1. You can substitute: Buttermilk instead of milk and vinegar, dried onion instead of fresh, etc. And you can add anything you like such as parsley, Worcestershire sauce, Sriracha, chili powder, garlic, sugar, etc. or whatever sounds good depending on what type of fish you are cooking or what is in your salad that day.

      I just make enough for one serving at a time. Just whips up in a minute.

  3. Ken –
    I have been lurking around MSB for a few years now and have finally decided to thank you and compliment you on the format that you use to encourage input and information sharing from the online community of which you have a loyal following. I’m the same age as NRP along with a few others and always enjoy reading the comments section where I find good advice and at times, contrasting opinions and lessons learned. Thank-you Ken.
    (So much for being a grey man and maintaining a low profile online…)

    1. Northernsarge;
      “I’m the same age as NRP along with a few others…”
      Ohhh Crapo, you’re one of these here OLD farts…. HAHAHA
      Welcome to the comment side of the BLOG, we always welcome the comments.
      Any chance you have a Recipe to contribute to the Article?
      Always looking for something new…. :-)

      1. Thank-you for the welcome NRP. No pre-made mixes here. I have 2 shelves full of spices and I just mix stuff up on the fly. I do have a bunch of different dried hot peppers in mason jars that I have grown and use frequently but the DW less so. I’ll throw my 2 cents worth in another day on another topic that I may have something useful to contribute.

    2. Sarge, Thank you for saying that. I have no idea who’s out there reading this blog and it encourages me to keep on doing so when I get positive feedback.

      1. – Ken, you know we love to read this blog. As NRP said, we are all addicted and just holding our breath waiting for you to decide to start charging us! After all, it is the best thing on the Internet!
        – Papa S.

  4. I’m thinking something kinda spicy that can also be used to eat right out-a-da-jar type thing, so here is my recipe for Spicy Pickled Garlic.
    You could just mush them up to add to some cooking, or again, just eat them with that rabbit you shot and grilled up.
    PS; yes I keep several cases prepared up, they will store for a VERY long time. Unless ya eat them all….

    1. Spicy Pickled Garlic;

      I use Sam’s Club pre-peeled Garlic, in the 3 pound bag. I HATE to peel Garlic, and peeling 3 pounds would drive me over the wall. 3 Pounds will make right at 10, ½ pints.

      Ingredients needed for a 3 pound batch;
      3 Pounds of peeled Garlic I don’t remove the “ends” but you may if you wish
      Approx. ¼ cups each
      Course Red Pepper
      Mustard Seed Whole
      10 Bay Leafs
      4 Cups White Vinegar
      2 Cups Water, I like to use Bottled Water (one pint)
      4 Tbsp. Pickling or Kosher Salt
      2 Tbsp. Sugar

      Wash/Rinse Jars well, and place lids in warm/hot water.
      Pre-Heat water-bath water till very warm, but not hot. You don’t want to break the jars with temp changes.
      Toss the Vinegar, Water, Salt, and Sugar into a pan and heat till bubbles form, do not boil. Keep it hot
      In each Jar place 1 Bay Leaf, one tsp. Red Pepper, Mustard, Peppercorns and pack jars tight with Garlic to within ½” of top, Fill each Jar with the hot Vinegar Mixture to within ½” of top.
      Wipe Jar edge with a clean cloth, place Lid and Ring as normal, don’t over tighten lids, just “finger snug”.
      Process jars (Hot Water Bath) for 10 minutes AFTER hard boil begins. Make sure water covers tops of Jars at least 1”.
      Remove Jars and place on Towel placed on countertop, NOT directly on top, that may crack/break the HOT Jars.
      After cool make sure to Label and Date. I also “shake” the jars to mix the Spices into the Garlic.
      I let mine sit for at least one month before eating.
      A hint; make a batch every month, you will LOVE these things.

      1. NPR
        Spicy pickled garlic sounds good. I’m going to try it. I like to take banana, Anaheim, or bell peppers and can them with Mrs. Wages kosher dill pickle mix. I will put a hot pepper or 2 in each jar to spice them up.

        1. car guy;
          Ohhh I do like HOT Peppers, a LOT of them.

          Thai Dragon
          Jalapeño Pepper
          TigerPaw Habanero
          Ghost Peppers
          Some Trinidad Scorpion
          and a few Carolina Reaper, I don’t eat these, just for cooking.

          All home grown… BTW, I have never had Bugs eat the Ghost, the Scorps or the Reapers HAHAHA

          I do think my favorite is the good old Roasted Hatch Green Chile Pepper

        2. Jalapeno and cayenne is about the limit for me. I’m a light weight. I like it spicy but not painfully hot.

        3. car guy;
          FYI, one Carolina Reaper plant is enough for the entire community… HAHAHA

          At 2,200,000 Scoville Units just one of those little suckers is enough to heat up a 55 gallon drum of Chill. Yeeee-HAAAAA

          Remembering that a mild Jalapeño is right at 2,500 Scoville Units. :-)

        4. NRP,
          2.2 million Scovilles. You are a masochist ol’ son, no other name for it.

        5. Minerjim;
          Not so bad if you use a sweet pickling sauce….
          I call em “Flame Thrower, Both Ends” ROFLMAO

      2. NRP
        I’m gonna have to write that recipe down.
        Love the pickled garlic GF picks up at the novelty store. Not homemade, but yumm

  5. In our attempt to avoid plastics as much as possible (seems like almost all condiments and sauces come in plastic jars) we have taken to using various spices to jack up the taste on various dishes so we wont need condiments. As a matter of experiment, last week we ate the same dish all week. Chicken, vegetables, and potatoes. The only difference was different spices to change the flavor. It was like eating a different dish every night. I have fallen in love with my spice rack again.

    1. Peanut Gallery;
      I 1000% agree on the “Plastics”.
      On the Spices, tis a LOT cheaper to purchase in the 1 pound Mylar bags from wherever and repackage into Glass Mason Jars, that Vac Seal them.

      1. Yes I know about the 1 pound bags, that’s how I got into trouble with the 8 pounds of Hungarian Sweet Paprika. I still can’t believe that I forgot I bought that spice and re-purchased another 7 times. Once it was out of site it was also out of my mind.

        1. Peanut Gallery;
          Sorry I got quite the belly laugh out of that, 8 POUNDS of Paprika ROFLMAO.

  6. I don’t know that I have a recipe to share but a thanks to Ken for once again reading my mind. I was just looking last night for different spice/flavor combinations that would work for the ubiquitous prep of rice and beans to mix it up.

  7. I have been trying out a lot of different spices lately. I am def gonna make some of the pickled garlic. Yum. Thanks.

    Peanut Gallery………I am dying at the Paprika!! That is hilarious. Sorry.

  8. I’ll go through all of these later. I prefer to do dry mixes and then mix in the wet ingredients later if necessary.

    Mexican mix (can be used for tacos, chili, etc)

    4 parts chili powder
    2 parts cumin
    1 part dry garlic1 part salt
    1 part pepper
    1 part paprika
    1/2 part onion
    1/2 part oregano

    Italian seasoning

    Oregano, marjoram, basil, rosemary, thyme, garlic. For some reason I didn’t put the quantities on the bottle, but I have the recipe somewhere.

    Ranch (can be used for general seasoning, salad dressing, dip mix)

    1 part parsley
    1 part garlic
    1 part dill
    1 part salt
    1/2 part pepper
    2 parts onion

    Any of these can be changed to fit your preference, and most of the ingredients can be grown.

  9. Fresh, young birch leaves can be added to salads, etc. An episode of New Scandinavian Cooking featured a recipe using young birch leaves as a seasoning.
    So, nothing ventured? I dehydrated some young birch leaves last spring, then stored them whole in a mason jar. You could crumble them to take up less space but figured whole they should stay fresh longer?
    They can be sprinkled on whatever you want, as you would use any other salt-free seasoning. Or add them to other seasoning mixes you make.

    1. Thanks for the tip on the birch leaves. We have a few birch here. I can’t wait to try them.

    2. We have the white birch (canoe/paper birch) here. I wonder what black birch would taste like? Wintergreen?
      Check out the New Scand Cook website. There are a couple of recipes using birch. A recent episode used green birch wood shavings for flavoring. No you don’t eat the wood,
      I think some of “seasoning” is visual. Seeing something sprinkled on your eggs is about as good as anything? Anyone else notice this?

  10. For the freeze dryer folks consider watching the epi center on you tube. Bryan sells Harvest Rights and does test on foods. Did a FD test on condiments. Best I recall is the fatty foods like mayo did not FD well. Soy sauce and similar liquid condiments did. I think ketchup did too. Just an idea for long term storage.

  11. Catsup (ketchup) and horseradish= cocktail sauce.
    There ya have it,
    my contribution.

    I dislike cooking…,why?
    Well….my turn tonight. Potato soup and garlic bread.
    Is the bacon safe to eat? Yup,. Oh save some for the soup…fry more.
    Celery…… I’ve got a jar of peanut butter somewhere…..
    Carrots….. where’s that Ranch?

    Your not eating tonight?
    Nope, I’m full.

    1. Mrs.J makes awesome shrimp cocktail sauce that way! I love it hot-n-spicy!

    2. Joe C, you forgot to add the shot of Jack Daniels and the lemon, salt and pepper. Now you have awesome cocktail sauce.

  12. Joe c
    My cocktail recipe is in storage, I was going to post it when I realized that I had not brought those books back home. OH,,,well

    It is a two part recipe, you need Green Chow Chow which will be mixed into the recipe when you want this for your shrimp. I am not a fan of commercial cocktail after making this up. Instead of horseradish I use this mix into the ketchup along with other spices.

      1. Joe c:
        I make a killer Chow Chow, if interested I’ll post it tomorrow on the SFFA.

        1. Antique Collector;
          My Chow Chow is very similar. And to be honest I got it online from Joyce Bacon over on Southern Plate;
          BUT, not to worry, I’m going to try your recipe this coming fall.

          Granny’s Chow-Chow;

          •12 medium onions (4 cups)
          •1 medium head of cabbage (4 cups)
          •10 green tomatoes (4 cups)
          •12 green bell peppers
          •6 sweet red bell peppers
          •½ cup coarse salt
          •6 cups granulated sugar
          •2 T mustard seed
          •1 T celery seed
          •1 ½ tsp. turmeric
          •4 cups white vinegar
          •2 cups water

          1.Chop vegetables finely using food processor or grinder. Place chopped vegetables in porcelain or glass container; sprinkle with the salt; cover and let stand overnight.
          2.Place vegetables in large colander and rinse very well under cold running water. (divide into smaller batches if necessary)
          3.Drain thoroughly and place in large stockpot. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over chopped vegetables. Heat to boiling and then boil 4 minutes. Ladle into clean pint jars which have been sterilized in boiling water. Seal with sterilized lids according to manufacturers instructions. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
          4.Makes approx. 8 pints.

        2. NRP
          Reason I always liked my mom’s recipe it did not have cabbage in it. Mom’s recipe came from her best friend, which had been passed down through their family lineage.

      2. Joe c
        Go to canadianfoodiedotcom put in ‘green chow chow sweet sour relish’, with a date 10/08/2011.

        I use this when I make cocktail sauce as an addition to that sauce, it is also great for hot dogs/hamburgers. You can make it hotter by changing the type of hot pepper. One thing I do not drain it as much as listed. It comes out to dry and this requires moisture for it to be palatable.

        1. Weird, was sure that I posted this last evening but it was showing up on the laptop as if I had not sent a response. That is why two duplicate response. 🤔 Gemlins

  13. A brief note of thanks to all that post recipes on this site on articles such as this one. ( Daisy K, Lauren, NRP et. all)

    These articles really get me thinking about cooking projects to do on my days off. ( so they are one of my favorite reasons to continue to read this site as much as I can during the week.).

    My contribution this time is my mom’s Krab salad. There is a modification in the name because canned crab meat has been substituted with Surimi over the years. ( artificial crabmeat made from highly processed white fish or fin-fish sold under the marketing name of Krab.).

    It is a good affordable product which has gained a more loyal following than using real crab meat because I can put more bite-sized chunks into the salad. anyway, here goes:

    1 head iceberg lettuce washed and torn into bite sized pieces
    1/2 lb of Krab meat from the seafood section of your local market.
    2 – 4 oz can of sliced olives drained
    2 bunches of washed and sliced green onions
    desired amount of Best Foods mayonnaise
    lemon juice added to mayonnaise to taste.

    Garlic powder and pepper to taste. There is plenty of salt from the Krab meat and sliced, canned olives within the salad so I generally do not add additional salt.

    This is generally a hot weather dish the we used to make with steaks on the BBQ. This has proven popular at pot lucks and outdoor parties.

  14. Good ideas. I make my own bar b q saurse .

    1 cup of olive oil or any vegetable oil.

    1/2 cup of prepared mustard ( I use dejoun).

    1/2 cup of lemon juice mix until blended.

    Then add 2 Tbs. of lemon pepper

    2Tbs. of garlic granules or powder

    1/2 tsp. of crush red pepper mix.

    Then add 1 cup of ketchup 2Tbs brown sugar and molasses

    Then add 2 tsp of ground cayenne pepper and horse radish.

    my husband likes it spicy hot. to increase or decrease spicy add or use less of the hot spices.


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