If you're looking to make a healthy change in your life, you know that processed condiments can be a big roadblock to your goals with added sugars and unhealthy oils. Check out the DIY condiment recipes below to create your own healthier versions that actually taste way better than the original.

Whole Grain Dijon Mustard

So exceedingly simple and so much better than store-bought mustards.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup brown mustard seeds (I love The Spice House for seeds)
  • ¼ cup yellow mustard seeds
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar (optional) or raw honey

Preparation

  1. Place mustard seeds, wine, and vinegar in a small bowl or container, cover, and let soak at room temperature for two days.
  2. Transfer mustard seeds and liquid to a blender (turned off). Add in salt (and sugar or honey), if using, and puree until mustard paste forms but whole seeds still remain. Transfer to an airtight container and let rest in refrigerator for 2 days before use.

Fresh-Roasted Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is the most popular nut butter, but you can use these basic parameters and ratios to create nut butters from a variety of nuts.

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Ingredients

  • 4 cups (32 ounces) raw, shelled peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon large flake or kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons coconut oil or other oil (optional, for creamier peanut butter)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons honey or other sweetener (optional, for sweeter peanut butter)

Preparation

  1. Roast the peanuts: Heat the oven to 350°F and toast the peanuts on baking sheets until lightly golden and glossy with oil. This should take 7 to 10 minutes, depending on your oven. You could of course use pre-roasted nuts, but the fresher (more recent) the roast, the better.
  2. Pulse the peanuts in a food processor until ground. Pulse a few times until coarsely chopped.
  3. For chunky peanut butter, remove ½ cup of chopped nuts and set aside.
  4. Process for 1 minute. Run the food processor for 1 minute. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Larger pieces will have stuck to the sides, and you want to move all the nut pieces into the path of the blades.
  5. Process for 1 minute. Run the food processor for another minute, then stop and scrape down the sides again. You should start to see clumps that feel like dough at this point.
  6. Add the salt, oil, sweetener, and any other extras, e.g., cinnamon, vanilla, dark chocolate chips.
  7. Continue processing the butter until it becomes smooth and spreadable Taste and add more salt and/or other ingredients, if needed. If you reserved some coarsely chopped nut pieces for chunky peanut butter, add them now and pulse a few times to incorporate.
  8. Transfer the peanut butter to storage container(s). This fresh peanut butter will be delicious for months in the fridge and several weeks in your pantry (but we doubt it will last that long).

Note: Raw honey is a natural preservative, and using it as a sweetener will prolong the peanut butter's shelf life.

Hummus

Makes approximately 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • ⅓ cup (or more) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (and more to taste)
  • ⅔ cup tahini
  • ¼ teaspoon (and more to taste) ground cumin seeds
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Chopped parsley and ground dried paprika

*I also love to add a tablespoon or two of mellow white miso paste to this recipe to increase the umami (savory) flavor and add a bit of silkiness. It's very nontraditional but very delicious!

Preparation

  1. Place the chickpeas in a large bowl with 1 teaspoon of the baking soda and cover with water. (The chickpeas will double in volume, so use at least double the volume of water required to cover them.) Soak the chickpeas over a single night at room temperature. Drain the chickpeas and rinse in a colander under cold water.
  2. Put the chickpeas in a large pot with 1 teaspoon baking soda and add cold water to cover by 4 to 5 inches. Bring the chickpeas to a boil over high heat and skim off the bubbling foam that rises to the surface. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and continue to simmer for about 1 hour or until the chickpeas are very tender (you should be able to easily mash them against the side of the pot with a spoon). Drain.
  3. Process garlic, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor into a coarse paste.
  4. Add tahini to food processor and pulse a few times. *If adding the miso, add it now. Add chickpeas, a few tablespoons of clean, very cold water, and cumin and puree for several minutes, until the hummus is smooth. Taste and adjust the salt, lemon juice, and cumin if necessary.
  5. When serving, spoon the hummus into a favorite bowl, dust with paprika, and sprinkle chopped parsley before drizzling good extra-virgin olive oil over everything.

Carpe Diem Fruit Jam

Makes about 2 half-pint jars

Ingredients

  • Fruit of your choice, enough to make 5 cups once diced
  • 1 lemon
  • ½ cup sugar, plus more as needed
  • A pinch of salt

Equipment

  • 2 or 3 metal teaspoons
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Measuring cups
  • 2- to 3-quart heavy-bottomed pot
  • Potato masher or spatula
  • Wooden spoon
  • Clean ½-pint glass jars with lids

Instructions

  1. Put the spoons in the freezer (trust me). Cut fruit into large chunks and discard any pits, cores, seeds, and bruised flesh. Slice away ¼ of the lemon.
  2. Combine the fruit and the sugar in the pot with the pinch of salt. Squeeze in the lemon juice, carefully so as not to include the seeds, and then drop the lemon rind into the pot. Turn the burner to medium and mash the fruit as it begins to cook to bring out liquid and achieve a chunky texture. Try to avoid mashing the lemon, though, as you'll remove it later.
  3. Bring the mixture up to a gentle boil, stirring frequently (almost continuously). When a boil is reached, turn the heat down to just retain a simmer and continue stirring.
  4. When the bubbles become smaller and thicker (typically after about 6 to 8 minutes of simmering), check to see if the jam has set with one of the spoons from the freezer. With another (non-frozen spoon), place a few drops of the proto-jam onto the cold spoon. After a few seconds, run your finger through the jam. If your finger leaves a distinct track in the jam, it is done. If not, keep cooking the jam and test again a few minutes later.
  5. Once you've achieved the desired texture in your set test, taste the jam in the cold spoon. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons more sugar, if needed for sweetness or a squeeze more lemon juice for acidity. Stir these additions into the jam and continue to cook for just a minute or two.
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. Enjoy immediately however you love to eat jam, then save the rest for up to 3 weeks in your refrigerator: Spoon the hot jam or jelly into hot* jars. Cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Place lids on jars. Label. Refrigerate jam or jelly for up to 3 weeks.

*Note: Always heat jars before adding hot jam or jelly to prevent jar breakage. Jars can be heated various ways. Wash and heat in the dishwasher, just ensure they are still hot by the time you fill them. Or you can heat them in a slow cooker.

Better Ketchup

This one is a little bit more labor-intensive than the others, but it's worth it if you're a ketchup lover. You'll want to make a lot of this because you will want more than you think. Also, when friends and family taste it, they'll want more, too.

Ingredients

  • 25 lb. fresh ripe tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 teaspoons dried red pepper (cayenne)
  • 3 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper

Equipment

  • Canner
  • Glass Mason jars & safety button lids
  • Stainless-steel canning tongs
  • Canning funnel
  • Stainless-steel ladle

Preparation

  1. Wash and quarter tomatoes, being careful to remove any overripe areas and/or tough spots, and add them to a large stock pot with the onion, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Press the mixture down with a heavy spoon or potato masher to bring out some liquid. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Run the contents of the stock pot in batches through a simple food mill.
  3. Return the milled mixture to the stock pot and gently simmer (do not burn the tomatoes), until the volume is reduced by about half. It should have the consistency of thick tomato sauce. This step could take 6 to 10 hours (or more) depending on the tomato varieties used. You can do this in shifts over the course of several days if necessary. That's what I do. Let cool.
  4. Run the contents of the stock pot in batches through a blender.
  5. Return the blended mixture to the stock pot and bring to a simmer until it is the consistency of commercial ketchup, which is to say thick, and it can coat the back of a spoon. This step may take 6 hours or more, so again, you can do this in shifts. You are cooking out the water and intensifying the flavors.
  6. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer, and reduce to the desired consistency.
  7. Time to sterilize. Fill a canner with 8 to 10 glass pint jars and "safety button" lids. Fill canner with water to at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars, and add 2 tablespoons vinegar. Bring to boil for 15 mins. Place lids, funnel, tongs, and ladle in saucepan with water, bring to a low simmer.
  8. Use the tongs to remove the jars and lids one at a time from the canner and place them on a sterile towel after pouring any water back into the canner. Fill each hot jar with ketchup, leaving ½ inch of empty space in the top of each jar. Wipe the rims of the jars, screw the lids on hand tight, and return to the canner. Replace the lid on the canner and boil for 15 minutes. Remove jars from canner with tongs, place on a sterile towel, and listen for a ping as the ketchup cools and the lid buttons pop. Test the seal by pressing down on the lid; it should not give. Let the jars cool and store away from direct sunlight.

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