Joni Sare, cooking instructor

A cook’s guide to healthy condiments

Here is a pic of condiment trays, in the fridge of one of my clients. She REALLY likes condiments and leftovers, and needed a way to be able to find what she’s looking for. My solution: trays, which I use in my fridge in the garage for small spice jars and supplements. The fridge door and drawers(below these shelves—not shown) are used for fresh veggies. Notice that she does not drink milk or juice. The taller jars occupy the top shelf, regardless of what type of condiment they are. The other trays are (mostly) organized by type and flavor, such as I’ve outlined, below.


Every chef has their favorite condiments, perhaps it’s their secret ingredient, perhaps it’s the final touch that makes a dish ‘sing.’

As I write this, I realize I have quite a collection (yet not as many as my client, shown above). I find that I use’m sporadically, like the Orange Blossom Water — I haven’t used it in many moons, and then, I’ll prolly use it for a week or so, and then switch to another.

My refrigerator is organized, I’m happy to announce, with all the vinegars in one area, all the sweet condiments in another area, and all the other miscellaneous condiments in another area. (Side note: I typed ‘miscellaneous‘ without that red line showing up under it indicating wrong spelling, cool!)

YES – I keep the vinegars in the fridge, the temperature in the kitchen changes often, 20 degrees sometimes, so, the more stable temperature of the fridge will give’m a longer life span, maintaining their flavor.

In my pantry are groupings of salts (7 of them), oils (a dozen of’m), nut butters. I’ll write more about these another time.

In the garage refrigerator are nuts, seeds, spices, herbs, dried fruit, fresh veggies(mostly from my CSA box).

BTW – the freezers have misc fruits, veggies, meats, bones, leftovers.

NOTE: This post was inspired from questions by folks in the Kaiser weight management program, click here to see their questions, my answers.


Here is a list of my fav condiments, most– are in my fridge right now:

Umami* condiments

  • Crushed garlic
  • Crushed ginger
  • Demi-glace (the mushroom version is vegan, from William-Sonoma)
  • Oregano water

Salty sour umami* condiments

Sweet sour umami* condiments

Salty sour condiments

Sweet sour condiments

  • Sweet miso
  • Tamarind paste
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Hoison sauce
  • White wine
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Most white vinegars (champagne vinegar, white wine vinegar, rice vinegar)
  • Mirin
  • Ketchup

Sweet sour spicy condiments

  • Dijon mustard
  • Spicy brown mustard
  • Sweet chili sauce
  • Mole sauce
  • BBQ sauce
  • Cocktail sauce
  • Tabasco sauce

Sweet sour salty condiments

  • Sweet miso
  • Umeboshi plum paste

Spicy condiments

  • Red curry paste
  • Green curry paste
  • Crushed horseradish
  • Wasabi

Sweet condiments

  • Orange blossom water
  • Rose water
  • Apple butter
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup

Where to find ethnic condiments

Low fat, gluten free condiments

Words to live by: read the ingredient list before buying, make sure it meets your standards.

For those who need gluten-free condiments, it’s best to follow this (very long) list of ingredients to avoid, click here.

Also, for those with Celiac (who need to be very strict) it’s best to call the company often(!) to make sure their product is still ‘GLUTEN’ free.

*Umami flavor has one, or all, of these notes: deep, earthy, musky, aged. Click here to read more about umami flavors.

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