HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Unloved condiments - the second time around

So you are enticed by that exotic bottle of hot sauce or jar of jam. You open it and ... yuck.

Does it sit in the fridge until you move or it grows enough mold to walk out on its own?

Or do you recycle it?

I'm pretty good with fruit-based things like syrups or jellies. Usually they can be mixed into yogurt or oatmeal and used up. Occasionaly I'll throw them into cake batter or alcohol. Sparkling wine can assist almost any syrup. I might add a little syrup to coffee to see if that works.

I'm not so good on savory until I just discovered the miracle of mayo.

I had an unloved ... make that despised ... bottle of banana catsup that I was griping about ... and btw, it did the impossible ... got worse. At the bottom of the bottle were stringy banana plant fibers.

But in looking up info about banana catsup, I stumbled across the fact that some people mix it with mayo. Voila ... great chip / veggie dip. Not so great that I'd buy that brand again. However, good enough that I'd try another brand. If it doesn't work out ... there's dip.

So I looked at all the other bottles in the fridge. The piri-piri sauce also made good dip. It was even better added to a bland leftover cream-based sauce. It gave the sauce a pleasant pink tint and a little tang. Both the mayo and cream sauce toned down the piri-ness of the sauce.

The overly acidic bottle of pricy farmers market basil-parmesian-lemon salad vinagrette ... mixed in mayo ... made a great tartar-like sauce that was excellent with fish.

I am seeing shelf space in the fridge. I fondly bid farewell to empty bottles of condiments that I've been living with a few years.

So, any other ideas on how you have recyled condiments?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I have a weird, accordion-pleated bottle of Tamarind Dipping Sauce (Pulpadip) that I found in the Mexican section of my mother's grocery. The ingredients are pretty basic--tamarind, salt, sugar, citric acid and chili powder.

    I'd love ideas for this one.

    I also recently discovered Chipotle Relish--basically sweet pickle relish with chipotle chiles. It's delicious--and fiery.

    Usually I clean out the "B-list" condiments when I make soup.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mamaciita

      u can use tamarind sauce with samosas, pakoras and other indian sauces. I think also some people use it when they make tandoori chicken.

    2. Make Bang-Bang chicken, ribs or steak.

      What you do is get a chicken or whatever, put it in the roasting dish or marinade dish, get all your sauces, odds and ends of bottles that are sitting in your pantry or fridge and turn them upside down over your chicken and bang the bottom of them - hence the name.

      Works great every time, always a bit different and gets rid of old dressings, mayo, sauces you don't like that much.

      2 Replies
      1. re: smartie

        smartie, "Bang-Bang chicken" -- I love it, and I'm going to try it! I really want to see what my fridge shelves look like; I haven't seen them in years!

        1. re: liu

          I used to make 'bang-bang' chilli. Okay, it wasn't 'real' chilli, but it was ground beef, whatever vegetables we had lying around, and generous shakes of every condiment in the house... it generally came out fairly good, or at least edible on toast!

      2. I find lots of condimnts I don't like make nice viniagrettes

        1. Salad dressings are usually good as a chicken marinade, although I personally dislike italian dressing as a marinade, lots of people do like it. Many fat-free/low-fat dressings that are gross on salad are excellent when baked on chicken, especially french and ranch. I had a truly awful-tasting (yet pricey) french, that my mother surprised me by baking it on chicken - it was fabulous!

          1. I mix "unloved condiments" with some sriracha sauce and voila!

            New and improved every time.

            1. On rare occasions, when I have a BBQ through my business, sweet pickle relish finds it's way into MY fridge, never any one elses. YUCK! And, I'm always reminded as well, of the conversation I had w/an old boss. She loved sweet pickle and peanut butter sammys. violent! But two yucks may not make a wrong in some kitchens.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Kitchen Queen

                Relish makes good tuna salad or tartar sauce if you mix with with mayo. It's about the only thing I've found to do with it aside from put it on hotdogs!

                1. re: Kajikit

                  I had some potato salad recently with the tiniest touch of relish mixed in. It was pretty good. There wasn't enough in there to notice it on its own, but it added a little flavor.

              2. I have a bottle of SWAD brand Garlic Pickle in my fridge that is just waiting to be thrown out. I don't know if it's the fenugeek, but it just tastes...odd...at best. I love garlic, I love Indian food, but this stuff is just nasty.

                2 Replies
                1. re: MsDiPesto

                  Maybe try chopping up a small bit and adding to mayo for a tartar sauce type of thing. Just try a little to see if that works.

                  1. re: rworange

                    rworange - While I see you open here, I will take this opportunity to tell you that you have begun some amazingly interesting posts...always a pleasure to read you! Thanks for making this site even more compelling!

                2. If there is a more disgusting taste than fish sauce, my taste buds have not encountered it.

                  1. the trick to fish sauce is never, ever, using it alone =p

                    5 Replies
                      1. re: TonyO

                        You're not meant to EAT it! It's hideous stuff... but a few drops in a Thai dish is miraculous.

                        1. re: Kajikit

                          One of my fave quicky marinades for ....fish, is fish sauce, garlic, ginger, and a splash of sesame. Yummy for a 10 min marinade for Prawns before they go on the grill.

                          1. re: starlady

                            I remember an article in Food & Wine a while back, about cookbook authors who marinated chicken parts in straight-up fish sauce and ground black pepper.

                            It was excellent (grilled), but the smell of it cooking could knock over an elephant. My husband made me promise never to make it again.

                          2. re: Kajikit

                            That makes sense. I'm unsure as to why one of our local Thai restaurants put it in a small ramekin with an entree (kind of like a dipping sauce). I almost lost it right there at the table !

                      2. This is a great thread! I have the same problem, don't like to just throw stuff out. You've inspired me to look through my own shelves. Now I'm looking at those exotic vinegars that enticed me, the black raspberry, the umeboshi, and the Chinese black.

                        The black raspberry and umeboshi may get used to braise some rich & fatty cut of pork. Or I may go the mayo route and use them for some salad dressing. Was thinking actually that the black raspberry vinegar mixed with mayo might be a good sauce for a fried sausage salad, esp something spicy like chorizo.

                        1. Although I love Trader Joe's, I bought an eggplant sauce/marinade there one time that was absolutely dreadful. I used it once and let it sit on my fridge door for about a month because I felt guilty! There was just nothing that I could think up to reuse it with. Then I tossed it. Best thing about the experience: I know not to buy it again :)

                          1. My friend was leaving the country so we had to use all of her condiments and came upon the best combination ever: we used some onion jam from a long forgotten jar and mixed it with vinegar to create a delicious dressing for a warm goat cheese salad. It was amazing--just like a salad I'd had in Paris.

                            1. My family went through a search to find the best BBQ sauce years back, and of course, we had a lot of unloved jars... We mixed them into the dogs' food; they were extremely appreciative.