15 Must-have condiments for your pantry

Felicity Carter 20 April 2022

It’s spring, and that means it’s time to stock up the pantry

Why not pack your pantry full of delicious condiments, like classic chutneys to bring out for the picnic season, oil and balsamic vinegar sets for alfresco snacking, and an array of hot sauces to add to your next BBQ. These are the secret weapons that’ll take your dishes to the next level.

Chutney

Be sure to stock up on a traditional British chutney; the taste is rich with layers of flavours that are down to autumnal fruits, spices, a tang of vinegar and sweetness from sugar, all combined in a long and slow cooking process. Just add a strong farmhouse cheddar cheese and plenty of crackers.

Honey mustard

Like a little sweetness in your mustard? A coarse grain mustard packs a punch, and look out for one that has the addition of honey to temper the kick. This combination of flavours teams perfectly with sausages, cold cut meats or swirl through a smooth mash.

Lemon curd

A luscious lemon curd is a pantry essential, and there are tons of variants on the market. Look out for one that has a thick texture, a rich buttery taste, and a satisfying citrus tang. Lather on thick toast, warm scones, or dollop on a lemon sponge pudding fresh from the oven.

Orange blossom honey

Elevate your honey game with a naturally flavoured variant, such as an orange blossom honey. They’re commonly made using blossom from the azhar tree, and unlike most, they are light amber in colour and don delicate and subtle notes of orange with a floral undertones.

Berry jam

For tea and toast, jam is a welcomed addition, and with so many available it’s hard to choose. Naturally, you can’t beat a classic, but for something a little different, why not try a raspberry gin or a Champagne strawberry jam, especially when serving afternoon tea with a glass of fizz.

Piccalilli

It’s now asparagus season, and to mark the occasion, you’ll see a new take on piccalilli that combines sweetness from honey, earthiness from the asparagus, and heat from mustard. Add a dollop to pork pies and Scotch eggs.

Hot sauce

Hot sauces are a point of contention for many as there’s many types from all over the world, usually featuring hot peppers along with sugar, salt, garlic and vinegar. There’s harissa from North Africa, Portugal’s peri peri sauce, the hot pepper paste Gochujang from Korea, Sriracha from Thailand and the ultra-hot scotch bonnet pepper sauce hailing from Jamaica. Whatever your poison, add to meats for that extra hot dimension.

Mayonnaise

Mayo should always be to hand, ideal for spring time potato salads, sandwiches and burgers. You can also add some to tomato ketchup and Worcestershire sauce, and hey presto, you have Marie rose sauce for a prawn cocktail. The best mayos are homemade, and for some heat, add a French or English mustard—just don’t split it (and if you do, a shot of boiling water should bring it back).

Mint sauce

The best accompaniment to spring roast lamb is none other than mint sauce, providing just the right amount of sweet and sourness to cut through the richness of the meat. Alternatively, add to natural yogurt and dip away with chunks of sourdough, crisps or crudités.

Olives

Have a jar of olives in the pantry and you’ll be ready for alfresco snacking for when the sun comes out. Whether it’s Greek Kalamata olives, Italian Nocellara Belice olives, or ones stuffed with anchovies, garlic, or fiery jalapeno peppers, they’re a moreish snack. Look out for ones preserved in salty brine as it amplifies the flavours and works exceptionally well with cheese and wine.

Confits for cheese

Confits just call to cheeseboards. Team apricot and orange with soft cheese, pear with hard cheese, and quince with rich tangy blue cheeses.

Marmalade

Whether you like a thick or a thin cut marmalade, they’re one to have in the cupboard for lazy weekend breakfasts. For a real citric flavour, try one that combines the zests of oranges, lemons and grapefruits as the flavours come together to give a satisfying zing.

Nut butter

Peanut butter is a classic in both smooth and crunchy forms, but there’s many more variations, cue cashew, pistachio, almond butters. Add to a satay sauce, dressings or spread generously on toast and apples.

Olive oil and balsamic vinegar set

It wouldn’t be alfresco season without a good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar duo. Make sure the olive oil derives from the Mediterranean and that the bitter-sweet balsamic vinegar is barrel-aged from Modena. All there’s left to do is to dip in crusty bread.

BBQ sauce

With national BBQ week around the corner, it’s time to buy in a few BBQ sauces—the best are sweet, smoky with some heat. Not only do they act as a condiment, they can be used as a marinade or topping on ribs, pork chops or chicken strips.

Read more: Sumptuous Spring cocktails to make at home

Read more: Taste of Home: Prawn curry and rice

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