Natural Flavoring: Not Just for Beverages

By now the world has been taken over by the thought of different flavors of beverages, including both fruits and v


ggies. Whether those same drinks have been purchased pre-flavored, or consumers are working to infuse them in a DIY manner, there’s more than a few available options. In fact, especially when home flavoring, there are several new and evolving choices to keep our taste buds on their toes. You can take them from acai, to cucumber pepper, to mango raspberry, to lime mint, to even the most exotic of flavors, such as dragon fruit or kiwano all with the change of ingredients. Bottom line, if you can find it in the grocery store, you can use it to flavor your water, tea, or other beverages.

But why should these techniques be limited to our beverages? Who says meats, veggies, and other side dishes can’t utilize these same types of flavor boosts? And when doing so is easy and relatively inexpensive, there’s no reason to say no. Just by mixing and matching items and infusing – just like with beverages – foods, too can earn an extra kick of flavor. Spice up a pot roast, give an extra flare to fajitas, or integrate layers of flavor into your couscous or grilled veggies. All it takes is a little infusion.

Getting Started

When setting out to boost flavor into your dishes, start by deciding what new tastes to mix in. Sweet and spicy are two of your main options, along with salty, garlicky, fruity, etc. – all of which can be added to virtually any ingredient. It’s also important to keep in mind that infusion flavors are generally milder than when actually putting in ingredients. This discrepancy allows you to adjust and experiment without fear of overwhelming any dish.

Next it’s time to choose a flavoring method. Marinades are a good option for meats or veggies, while infusions work better for salad dressings and other sauces. Simply pick an option and start adding all-natural, all-healthy flavor! Then, the more you experiment, the more you will know what works (and what you like), as well as what flavors are too subtle to consider. Everyone’s taste buds are different; food infusion will be an individual learning process that continues to get better along the way.

Health Benefits

One of the biggest reasons to flavor your foods – besides the added taste – is the vitamins and nutrients that can be gained. Whether from the actual flavoring agents or from eating healthy options, i.e. not purchasing readily-flavored items – consumers can eat well without taking on extra calories or artificial preservatives. For example, when infusing naturally, some of the vitamins and nutrients are automatically absorbed by your foods, allowing you to taking them in when eating. While it’s true that all of the minerals won’t be added in, it’s certainly more nutritional than avoiding flavoring with fruits, veggies, or herbs all together.

By adding flavor to your diet the natural way, consumers can enjoy an array of tastes while gaining peace of mind that no surprise ingredients are making their way into the mix. So when it comes to cooking, don’t be afraid to experiment with infusion and trying new flavors. You may just put a delicious new spin on an old favorite, while being healthy in the process.

To infuse oils, salad dressings and more, check out the Salad Zinger at today.

Photo courtesy of Toth.