Condiment Craziness

In BabyStep 9: Comfort Foods we list spare condiments as one of the items to store. As we have explored the reasons why people do food storage we found that everyday emergencies were the ones that seem to occur the most. Condiments are definitely something to store to prevent an “emergency”. Have you ever run out of ketchup the day of a barbecue and not had time to run to the store? Don’t you hate it when you run out of soy sauce and have to buy a bottle for FULL price? With food storage this will never happen again!

So here’s what to do. Compile a list of the condiments your family uses and then watch for them to go on sale and pick up a few bottles. Keep a little inventory list of what you have and mark off when you use one up so you can remember to replace it next time it’s on sale. Here is a list of ideas to get you started:

ketchup
mustard
relish
mayonnaise
peanut butter
barbecue sauce
soy sauce
worcestershire sauce
teriyaki sauce
olive oil
vinegar
horseradish
cranberry sauce
applesauce
hot sauce/chili sauce
taco seasoning

If you have any others to add to the list please feel free to leave them in the comments below and we’ll update the list to reflect them. Have fun with your condiments!


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  • Guest

    Okay, I just remembered something I really need to know. I purchased Tahini for a recipe, but I had never used it before and didn’t know what to expect. It wasn’t rancid but it was dark and extremely stiff in the jar and hard to work with. Please tell me what it should be like. Thanks.

    • Kari

      It separates just like peanut butter does, so give it a stir.

  • Guest

    For those who make Asian dishes, you might want to add some of the more common Asian sauces and spices. I looked everywhere for a good quality Chinese Five Spice and finally found it at Target. The brand name is Dynasty. I looked it up on line to find out what was in it and the quality can vary a lot, if you can find it at all (at a price you can afford). This brand came closest to what I considered to be authentic. A different brand, and not as close, was over twice as much at one common grocery store.

  • Karenjimmyboswell

    The only thing about mayo and some of the other condiments is that they have to be refrigerated…if there is no power what do you do?  Does anyone know where you can buy those single serve packets they have at resturants?

    • Jc

      You can find the single serve packs at Costco, Sam’s Club and if you live in California, Nevada, or Arizona, the Smart & Final stores.  If you know someone who owns a restaurant or catering company you may be able to make a deal with them to purchase a box of packets (they shop at Sysco and U.S. Foods).  You can also buy individual packets of other condiments such as honey, Tapitio hot sauce, syrup and jellies/jams.  Although not a condiment, I also recommend picking up a container or two of Old Bay spice mix.  Although it’s used mostly for seafood, I’ve found it works well with other dishes such a soups and stews.  You can buy it at most of the chain grocery stores and of course Walmart.

    • Guest

      I don’t know who the man is that I heard describing how to use terracotta pots to create a temporary cooler (down to 40 degrees if I heard correctly – it’s been awhile) for food when the power goes out. But you may be able to find the instructions in survival information. The little packets don’t last forever either. I just threw out some catsup packets last week.

  • Chickensandkittens

    gravy mixes, different flavor buillions

  • Gpritchett

    I keep Montreal Seasoning on  hand.  I love the way it makes our hamburgers, steaks and porkchops taste even better.

  • Gamrich

    I would add tahini and sesame oil.

  • NancyB

    I agree about having spares.  One thing you might want to look at is how to make your own.  The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving has several recipes for condiments.  I just made the Fruit Ketchup, which has apples, peaches, tomatoes and honey in it.  It makes a good dipping sauce or use it like honey bbq sauce.  I’m going to tackle a couple of kinds of mustard next.  You can get whole mustard seeds at Central Market or Whole Foods in Texas.  You probably have similar stores near you where you can purchase spices in bulk.  Give it a try!  There is something really satisfying about filling your shelves with home canned foods!

  • Great tips. Thanks for sharing!

  • Great tips. Thanks for sharing!

  • couponshopper

    When you use it more don't feel wasteful if you find things you don't eat or like for one reason or another. I've bought some things we didn't end up eating or we ate a lot less than what we could reasonably consume before it expires and I gave them away on freecycle. It's hard because you feel like you wasted money. Our likes or dietary needs change or buy because someone says it worked for them but it's not what we end up eating. 🙂
    When I found out my son had reflux I got rid of most of our tomato sauces. When I was diagnosed with high blood pressue I got rid of most of our canned soups because the sodium was so high. I replaced them with low sodium soups and I love them and eat them a lot. I got rid of some laundry detergent when we had to switch to dye and perfume free detergent. About 2 months later I was able to get a stock of perfume and dye free detergent. I got rid of some shampoo a few years ago just because I bought too much and a year went buy and the stockpile was hardly dented. I learned we use about 6 family size bottles a year so now I buy 8 (extra to give away or in case one spills in the tub) and it's not wasted.

    I just wanted to share in case you encountered the same. It's all a learning experience. 🙂 BTW the people on freecycle were happy to pick it up, before I posted I didn't know if anyone would even want the stuff. I always get a lot of responses! 🙂

  • aby

    I would have to add sesame seed oil and lemon juice to the list. I use those a lot in my cooking.

  • aby

    I would have to add sesame seed oil and lemon juice to the list. I use those a lot in my cooking.

  • Melanie

    Thanks for the tips. Mostly I can't rotate, because I know I'm not that organized and it won't happen! Yes, definitely I wouldn't go through that much condiments in a year, I meant all my food storage. I like your last suggestion of slowing down shopping every so often and using up some of the food storage. Also, this is a great idea because then I can see if the quantities I purchased are appropriate, etc.

  • couponshopper

    I check mine every few months. What will expire before we will realistically use it I give away on freecycle. Is there a reason why you can't rotate? I wouldn't buy something like condiments you don't plan on using within a year. I don't know about them going bad but they might be taking up space and the time and money you took to buy them never to be used.

    Be sure to check the date when purchasing it. I've noticed they can vary a lot.
    In the book Pantry Cooking by Laura Robbins she says to date items when you get them to see how long it takes to use them. What about doing that and then basing your purchasing on what you will realistically use within a year? I try not to buy over a year's worth of anything I can buy at a grocery store or wal-mart even if it's free.

    Another thing you could do is have periods where you stop buying as much as possible and use up what you have. That will keep it rotated and another benefit is to see what you don't need or need more of.

  • Melanie

    Maybe you can point me in the right direction if you’ve posted about this before. How do you keep track of all the expiration dates? I’m worried I’ll eventually have tons of stuff going bad. I don’t plan to continually rotate things because it’s all in big tubs far away from the kitchen. I just want to make sure I end up using it just before it will expire. Any suggestions, templates?

    • Anonymous

      I check mine every few months. What will expire before we will realistically use it I give away on freecycle. Is there a reason why you can’t rotate? I wouldn’t buy something like condiments you don’t plan on using within a year. I don’t know about them going bad but they might be taking up space and the time and money you took to buy them never to be used.

      Be sure to check the date when purchasing it. I’ve noticed they can vary a lot.
      In the book Pantry Cooking by Laura Robbins she says to date items when you get them to see how long it takes to use them. What about doing that and then basing your purchasing on what you will realistically use within a year? I try not to buy over a year’s worth of anything I can buy at a grocery store or wal-mart even if it’s free.

      Another thing you could do is have periods where you stop buying as much as possible and use up what you have. That will keep it rotated and another benefit is to see what you don’t need or need more of.

      • Melanie

        Thanks for the tips. Mostly I can’t rotate, because I know I’m not that organized and it won’t happen! Yes, definitely I wouldn’t go through that much condiments in a year, I meant all my food storage. I like your last suggestion of slowing down shopping every so often and using up some of the food storage. Also, this is a great idea because then I can see if the quantities I purchased are appropriate, etc.

        • Anonymous

          When you use it more don’t feel wasteful if you find things you don’t eat or like for one reason or another. I’ve bought some things we didn’t end up eating or we ate a lot less than what we could reasonably consume before it expires and I gave them away on freecycle. It’s hard because you feel like you wasted money. Our likes or dietary needs change or buy because someone says it worked for them but it’s not what we end up eating. 🙂
          When I found out my son had reflux I got rid of most of our tomato sauces. When I was diagnosed with high blood pressue I got rid of most of our canned soups because the sodium was so high. I replaced them with low sodium soups and I love them and eat them a lot. I got rid of some laundry detergent when we had to switch to dye and perfume free detergent. About 2 months later I was able to get a stock of perfume and dye free detergent. I got rid of some shampoo a few years ago just because I bought too much and a year went buy and the stockpile was hardly dented. I learned we use about 6 family size bottles a year so now I buy 8 (extra to give away or in case one spills in the tub) and it’s not wasted.

          I just wanted to share in case you encountered the same. It’s all a learning experience. 🙂 BTW the people on freecycle were happy to pick it up, before I posted I didn’t know if anyone would even want the stuff. I always get a lot of responses! 🙂

    • Guest

      I use a marker to put the month and year on as many things as I can write on. Canned goods DO NOT need to be used by the date on them which says “best by”. I have started a kitchen book in which I write down the age of a product if it is over a year beyond the date, and note the taste and quality in the book. Some things are the same as when you bought it, even 2 years after the date. I recommend doing this so you have a good idea what works and what doesn’t. Also, canned milk will change in color and quality but is still okay. You can use it with instant cocoa mixes by just putting a 1/2 inch or so in the cup and then the hot water and mix. Of course, you can continue to experiment with other things you can put it in to cook. It won’t be the same for cereal etc. but is fine if you can find your own use for it.

      I really do recommend that you get in the habit of rotating things though. It is easier if you have similar things all in one tub etc. When I started out, I deliberately purchased smaller quantities for the purpose of rotation, but you don’t have to be exact. But as I have acquired more cans etc., now I want to go back through it all and put all of the same item in one place with the newest ones in the back or on the bottom.

      • This is a great idea! I’d love to see your notebook 🙂

      • Gramma

        I use the marker as well. I put both the unopened expiration date as well as the after opening. Example: 2/2025 1 yr I really love your notebook idea & will add that to mine! I had a horrible time with consistent rotation until I purchased the shelf reliance system. That is the best thing I have ever done to ease my life. I even bought another one for my regular canned goods and I no longer despise putting groceries away.

  • Melanie

    Maybe you can point me in the right direction if you've posted about this before. How do you keep track of all the expiration dates? I'm worried I'll eventually have tons of stuff going bad. I don't plan to continually rotate things because it's all in big tubs far away from the kitchen. I just want to make sure I end up using it just before it will expire. Any suggestions, templates?

  • peanut butter
    applesauce
    soup mixes are great!! they come in a pouch and don’t take up a lot of space at all!!!
    just yesterday i wentto the dollar store and bought 8-10 spices. walgreens is having a sale on them, as well. 2 for $1.00
    powdered mixes such as kook aid, crystal light, electrolye are great to have. i’ve been stocking up on them as well.

  • i love it. i already have some vegetable oil and apple sauce. knowing that apple sauce can be used as a sweetener, especially for diabetics. gelatin can replace an egg in baking. also, chocolate powder mix or semi sweet chocolate. mmmmmm

  • peanut butter
    applesauce
    soup mixes are great!! they come in a pouch and don't take up a lot of space at all!!!
    just yesterday i wentto the dollar store and bought 8-10 spices. walgreens is having a sale on them, as well. 2 for $1.00
    powdered mixes such as kook aid, crystal light, electrolye are great to have. i've been stocking up on them as well.

  • i love it. i already have some vegetable oil and apple sauce. knowing that apple sauce can be used as a sweetener, especially for diabetics. gelatin can replace an egg in baking. also, chocolate powder mix or semi sweet chocolate. mmmmmm

  • Anonymous

    Every holiday and season has its select sale items. Right now I’m stocking up on Thanksgiving foods like Turkeys, canned milk, cranberries, canned oranges. As far as condiments my biggest coupon score these days is mayo and frosting.

  • nspired1

    Every holiday and season has its select sale items. Right now I'm stocking up on Thanksgiving foods like Turkeys, canned milk, cranberries, canned oranges. As far as condiments my biggest coupon score these days is mayo and frosting.

  • Anonymous

    The summer is a good time to buy these. You can get bbq sauce for free with coupons usually around memorial day and the 4th. Nov and Dec are good months for olive oil and cooking sprays. 🙂

    Dehydrated dip mixes like black bean, tabouli and salad dressing are nice to have around too.

  • couponshopper

    The summer is a good time to buy these. You can get bbq sauce for free with coupons usually around memorial day and the 4th. Nov and Dec are good months for olive oil and cooking sprays. 🙂

    Dehydrated dip mixes like black bean, tabouli and salad dressing are nice to have around too.

  • Anonymous

    I also buy lots of salsa and salad dressing, too

    • Guest

      Some things like that can go rancid because of the oils in them. I have learned the hard way. Not because I didn’t know, but because I just didn’t use as much as I thought I would. Actually, I found this site because I would like to know how long I can keep an unopened jar of mayonaise beyond the “best by” date. I’m assuming 6 months but I’m sure it must be kept very cool.

  • mirien

    I also buy lots of salsa and salad dressing, too

  • Food fatigue in an emergency is a very real thing. it's even very real in day to day life when you cook most meals at home. Condiments can make all the difference, in keeping FF at bay!

    • Guest

      You are so right! and that is a very good reason for making sure you have an abundant supply of seasonings and condiments that will keep. At my age you would think I would have all but quit cooking but instead I’m always trying new things because I want to be familiar with the use of many different products. You never know what will be available.

    • Guest

      I also have kept a few empty spice jars, in case you ever need to share (or barter). things you use often should be purchased in large sizes.

  • Food fatigue in an emergency is a very real thing. it's even very real in day to day life when you cook most meals at home. Condiments can make all the difference, in keeping FF at bay!

  • Rice vinegar and lemon juice are biggies for my house. I make a delicious salad dressing with rice vinegar! Gosh, I love this site. You girls are my daughters ages and I could just squeeze ya! *wink* Have a great day and keep the articles, tips and cute things a coming!

  • Rice vinegar and lemon juice are biggies for my house. I make a delicious salad dressing with rice vinegar! Gosh, I love this site. You girls are my daughters ages and I could just squeeze ya! *wink* Have a great day and keep the articles, tips and cute things a coming!

  • My Husband is the condiment KING. We have a fridge full and plenty in the pantry.

  • My Husband is the condiment KING. We have a fridge full and plenty in the pantry.