Jars and Cans Salt, Seasonings & Additives

Many of our most important foods are a little bland and can become monotonous when often repeated. This has resulted in an endless search for new seasonings to break the monotony and add interest. Seasonings provide the cook with a palate of tastes s/he may exploit, either to fame or disgrace depending on skill and imagination.


Andes Salt Pans Salt is the most important of all seasonings. It is essential to flavor and essential to life itself. It can also be dangerous. Just how dangerous and how much of it is dangerous is very much a matter of controversy today. For its importance as a seasoning and for its effects on health we have given salt two pages of its own.   Photo © i0050.

Salt - Varieties and Uses.
Salt & Health.

Banana Ketchup / Sauce   -   [Tamis Anghang (Philippine)]
Small Bowl

This seasoning, invented in India by Mannat Maggi, with manufacturing This product, very popular in the Philippines, is called "Banana Ketchup" there, but in the Unites States it must be labeled "Banana Sauce". In the U.S. "Ketchup" is a standardized formula and nothing that doesn't meet the formula can be called "Ketchup". This was done so manufacturers of ketchup didn't have to reveal its extremely high sugar content (more sugar than ice cream - that's why the kids like it so much).

Banana Ketchup is colored red and put up in ketchup style bottles to make it more acceptable as a lower cost ketchup substitute. The taste and texture are a little different from our ketchup, but not too much. Ingred: banana, water, sugar, vinegar, iodized salt, modified starch, onion, spices, garlic, 0.08% sodium benzoate (E211) as preservative, FD&C Yellow #6 (E110) and FD&C Red #40 (E129) as artificial coloring.   Details and Cooking.

Maggi Seasoning   -   [Jugo (Mexico), Maggi Würze (Germany)]
Small Bottle

This seasoning, invented in India by Mannat Maggi, with manufacturing moved to Germany in 1897. It has found a worldwide market and you will find it called for in many recipes, especially from Southeast Asia, where it is also a table condiment. Its bottle and trade dress are widely imitated by Asian knock-offs. It is similar to soy sauce, but formulated to be more of a meat broth analog. It originally contained soy, but soy was dropped around 2000. This seasoning is also very popular in Central Europe. It is used in soups, stews and sauces, but also in salad dressings and vegetable dressings.

The brand is now owned by Nestlé, and is distributed in North America by Nestlé USA in Glendale California. The photo specimen was "Product of China" (unleaded, I hope). Water, Salt, Wheat gluten, Wheat, less than 2% Wheat bran, Sugar, Acetic acid, Artificial flavor, Disodium inosinate, Disodium guanylate, Dextrose, Caramel color.   Details and Cooking.

MSG   -   [Monosodium Glutamate, Sodium Glutamate, Additive E621, Ajinomoto, Vetsin, Accent]
Chemical Formula

This highly controversial white crystalline powder is rapidly increasing in use, particularly in processed foods. The reason for this is simple, it enhances flavors. Processed foods are loaded with salt and spiked with MSG to cover their lack of natural flavor.

First identified in seaweed, glutamate exists in many natural foods, including mushrooms and some vegetables. Formerly made from wheat, it is now industrially produced by bacterial fermentation of carbohydrates, and is celiac safe. It's safety in other respects has been strongly attacked and just as strongly defended. See our page MSG & Health.   Diagram by Benrr101 contributed to the public domain.

Thai Curry Pastes   -   [Monosodium Glutamate, Sodium Glutamate, Additive E621, Ajinomoto, Vetsin, Accent]
Red Curry Paste, Sauces

Curries are very popular in Thailand, but they differ from Indian Curries in that they are fresh pastes, not made from dried spices. Several of them can be had commercially in North America, but all are better made at home. The Clovegarden site has recipes for each. They are listed here in order of popularity in Thailand.

  • Red Curry Paste vs. Sauces: [Krueng Gaeng Peht (Thai Paste)] Red are the most popular curries in Thailand, and are in hotness midway between green curries and yellow curries.
  • Green Curry Paste:   This is the hottest of the Thai pastes, used for Green Curries, second most popular to Red Curries.
  • Yellow Curry Paste:   The least hot of the Thai curries, yellow curry is a Thai take on Indian curries, but still based on a fresh paste.
  • Panang Curry Paste [Phanaeng, Phanang, Panaeng] from the Malaysian island of Panang, this curry has been enthusiastically adopted by the Thai.
  • Mussamun Curry Paste: [Massaman, "Muslim curry"] either patterned after the rich Mughal cuisine of Hyderabad in India or introduced by a Persian merchant, it is quite different from other Thai curries.
  • sHot Sour Curry Paste: This curry paste is fairly hot, but not sour. It gets its name from the sour soups it is used in.

Za'atar - Spice Mix
Pile of Zaatar Mix

This is a very important spice mix in the Levant and Middle East. Supposedly, it is based on the herb Za'atar, but most today is made from Thyme, Oregano and Marjoram because the supply of Za'atar is no longer sufficient. Other ingredients are toasted Sesame Seeds, Sumac for sourness, and sometimes salt. Some commercial versions may included toasted wheat flour - not good for Celiacs. Some versions also include savory, cumin, coriander or fennel, and one distinctly Palestinian version includes Caraway seeds. In the region, this mix may be also made with fresh herbs. The photo specimen is from our Lebanese style recipe Za'atar - Herb Mix. See also Details and Cooking.

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