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Healthy, Kid-Tested Condiments for the Fourth of July

The summer holidays are upon us in North America and with them come summer barbecues. Oh, goodness, I love summer…. ::sigh::

Our Canadian readers celebrated Canada Day yesterday with barbecues and fireworks and our US readers are just days away from Fourth of July picnics, pool parties, and more fireworks, so it is indeed the season of sizzling meat, veggie burgers, and shareable salads. (If you’re needing inspiration, check out all the ideas at Real Food Forager and The Nourishing Gourmet or make our simple Potato Salad with Olive Oil and Thyme.)


In striving to feed our families healthy, nourishing whole foods, we often focus on the big food items: the meat, the dairy, the properly prepared grains. However, what about the little things?

You may have the most delicious grass-fed steak burger on a sprouted or sourdough bun, but what about the ketchup and mustard? And what about the barbecue sauce for your grilled chicken or the relish on your child’s hot dog?

Often, the store-bought versions of these condiments are laden with high fructose corn syrup, genetically modified ingredients, and preservatives. Even the organic ones sometimes have hidden ingredients, not to mention being expensive.

Thus, today, I offer our whole-food take on five of the classics: ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, and barbecue sauce. I created these versions to be as similar to the store-bought versions as possible (the mayo might be a bit on the grown-up side – you decide), specifically with kids who may be picky about foods they don’t recognize in mind. Serve them in restaurant-style squeeze bottles and the kids won’t even know they’re healthy.

(As a side note, these five recipes all appear in Restocking the Pantry, our popular e-book highlighting homemade recipes for your favorite store-bought condiments. There’s a much larger tome in the works with recipes to make healthier versions of pretty much anything in your cupboards from scratch. Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know when it’s released!)

Homemade ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise |

Easy Peasy Ketchup

Makes approximately 3 cups

1 1/2 cups tomato paste (learn how to make tomato paste from scratch)
3/4 cup raw honey
1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses (optional)
½ cup water
½ teaspoon onion powder
1 clove of garlic, finely grated
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp unrefined sea salt
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons fresh whey or sauerkraut brine (optional)

Place all ingredients in a large saucepan and stir together with a whisk until smooth. Heat over medium heat and bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring often.

Remove the pan from the heat and let cool. You may serve the ketchup immediately or store in the refrigerator for 1-2 months.

To make a raw and lacto-fermented version, stir together the tomato paste, honey, and molasses (if using) with the 1/4 cup sauerkraut brine or fresh whey, then spoon into a mason jar, covering with the additional 2 tablespoons to submerge all the ketchup below the brine. If more liquid is needed, add a tablespoon or two of filtered water. Cover loosely and set aside at room temperature for 3-5 days.

After 3-5 days, stir in the onion powder, garlic, apple cider vinegar, and sea salt. Store in the refrigerator for 1-2 months.

French’s-Style Mustard

Makes 1/2 cup

1/2 cup dry mustard powder
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup white distilled vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 clove of garlic, finely grated
1 pinch smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cornstarch or arrowroot powder

Whisk everything except the cornstarch together in a small saucepan until smooth. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring often.

About 1 minute before you want to remove the mustard from the heat, stir the cornstarch together with 1 teaspoon of cold water. Then, while whisking, pour the cornstarch into the simmering mustard. Let cook for 1 minute to thicken.

Remove from heat and let stand 1 minute to set. Pour into the serving container to cool.

Everyday Mayonnaise

Makes approximately 1 ½ cups

The combination of olive, coconut, and sesame may sound strange, but the three blend unexpectedly well. This mayonnaise is scrumptious on burgers and sandwiches, although I prefer a blander mayo for making salad dressings and dips.

2 pastured egg yolks
3 tablespoons lemon juice or white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon Dijon-style mustard (optional)
2/3 cup olive oil or sunflower oil
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons fresh whey or sauerkraut brine (optional)

Combine your oils in a measuring cup with a spout or in a squeeze bottle. Set aside.

Place the egg yolks, lemon juice, sea salt, and mustard in a food processor or blender and pulse until everything is combined. Then, with the motor running, pour in the oils as slowly as possible, preferably taking 3-4 minutes to add the entire cup of oil. The mayonnaise may be served immediately or stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

To lacto-ferment the mayonnaise, stir the whey or brine into the mayonnaise after it has been made and let it sit at room temperature for about six hours before moving it to the refrigerator. Fermented mayonnaise will keep for 4-6 weeks in cold storage.

Sweet Pickle Relish

Makes approximately 1 quart

1 1/4 lbs fresh pickling cucumbers, scrubbed
1 onion
3 tablespoons pickling salt or coarse Kosher salt (do not use regular salt, as the additives will change the color of the relish)
Ice cubes or ice chips
2/3 cup white distilled vinegar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup evaporated cane juice, coconut sugar, or honey
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1/3 teaspoon celery seeds
1 inch cinnamon stick
1 pinch ground allspice
1 pinch ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon turmeric

Coarsely chop the cucumbers and onion in a food processor or food grinder and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle in the pickling salt and stir so that the salt is well distributed. Place a tea towel directly on the surface of the cucumber and onions, then cover the towel with ice and let sit for 2-3 hours. Discard the ice and rinse the cucumber and onion mixture thoroughly.

In a large saucepan, bring the vinegar, sugar, and spices to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the mixture has reduced slightly, then stir in the cucumber-onion mixture. Stir well, spoon into jars, and let cool. The relish can be served immediately, but it achieves the best flavor after 2-3 days. Store in the refrigerator for 1-2 months.

Bold and Smoky Barbecue Sauce

1 onion, coarsely chopped
2-3 tablespoons water
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons pure liquid smoke
2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil, melted
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons whey or sauerkraut brine (optional)

Place the onion in a blender with the water and blend until slushy. An immersible blender makes this especially easy. Strain mixture through a cheesecloth, squeezing it until you obtain 1/2 cup juice.

Whisk ketchup, onion juice, and other wet ingredients in a medium bowl, omitting oil and whey. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add in garlic and spices and cook until fragrant. Whisk in wet ingredient mixture and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently until the mixture thickens, about 20-30 minutes. Cool to room temperature before serving.

To give the sauce a probiotic kick, stir in the whey or sauerkraut brine and let sit at room temperature for 1-2 days, then refrigerate.

Photo Credits: A Boy and His Hot Dog / Ketchup & Mustard Bottles


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  1. charity says

    I made the ketchup recipe today and it taste AMAZING! I am never buying the store bought again. Thanks for a wonderful recipe.


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