Tuesday, August 25, 2009
More Low Sodium Products
As you know, I’m always on the look out for new products, and I’m especially happy when I find items in my local grocery store. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy ordering from online sources. I really get a kick out of receiving packages, sort of like a kid at Christmas. But it’s heartening to discover lower sodium products on my local grocers’ shelves. It gives me hope that eventually food producers and grocers will embrace low salt products. It’s even more fun when I discover low sodium goods in unexpected places. That why my motto is, “Always Be Checking!” Check out every store you visit even if it’s not a regular grocery/food store. You never know what you’ll discover.
For instance, just today I found some salt-free spice blends at TJ Maxx. I usually think of TJ Maxx as a clothing or home furnishings store, but I know it sells cookware and other kitchen equipment. It also has a small section devoted to an eclectic assortment of jams, coffees, vinegars, pastas, oils, and other foodstuffs. It’s a hodgepodge system – a jar of marmalade next to a couple of boxes of shortbread cookies, bags of flavored coffees piled on top of each other with several bottles of olive oil nearby. Today I looked once again at the offerings and discovered an assortment of new-to-me salt free spice blends. Months ago I had found a delicious Salmon Seasoning blend from Blue Crab Bay Co. at a local specialty foods store. Unfortunately that store has since gone out of business. Today I was delighted to find not only the Salmon Seasoning but a Garlic Herb Seasoning and a Clam Dip Blend – all salt free – at TJ Maxx. I'm especially looking forward to making some clam dip using the spice blend and just half the amount of clams normally called for in the recipe. I also found several blends from The Gourmet Collection; I picked up the Basil & Tomato blend to try out.
On a recent trip to Cost Plus World Market I discovered no-salt-added udon noodles. I immediately grabbed three packages. I’ve had no luck finding salt-free Asian noodles in my local grocery stores, so this was a great find. I’d been wanting to make a cold noodle salad but was always put off by the amount of salt present in most dried & fresh Asian noodles.
And finally, a couple of grocery store finds. A few days ago I was zipping through the condiment aisle and decided to take a look once again. I’m glad I did because I discovered French’s Reduced Sodium Worcestershire Sauce. It contains 45 mg. sodium per teaspoon.
I use Worcestershire Sauce in lots of things – meatloaf, meatballs, stews, gravies, etc. It adds a lot of flavor to beef dishes without adding a lot of sodium.
I also discovered 28 oz. cans of Cento All purpose Crushed Tomatoes. The ingredient list is simple: only fresh tomatoes. No preservatives, no added fat, and no added salt. What a find! Usually I can only get salt free diced tomatoes or tomato sauce. And the diced tomatoes are processed with calcium chloride and citric acid to keep the bits firm. But I don’t like firm bits; I prefer the texture of crushed tomatoes. So finding salt free crushed tomatoes was a pleasant surprise.
A couple of parting words: If you get a chance to visit one of the stores mentioned above, take a look at their low sodium offerings. Even if you don’t have a TJ Maxx or World Market nearby, keep your eyes peeled whenever you go shopping, no matter what kind of store. You might just come upon a hidden trove of low sodium options. As I said before, “Always Be Checking!” You never know what you may find.
Also, remember the old saying, “Here today & gone tomorrow.” Just because your local grocer is carrying a low sodium product now, does not mean it will always be available. It’s all dependent on sales. Food producers and grocers are constantly introducing new products and discontinuing others. There are no guarantees. I know I’ve seen several products I liked come & go. That’s another reason why it’s important to “Always Be Checking!” You need to keep on top of what low sodium options are offered and grab them when you can.
And finally, be prepared to experiment with new products. As with so many things in life, some products will be hits and other will be misses. A spice blend may look good and the ingredient list may sound delicious. But when you first use it, you may discover that the taste does not appeal to you at all. Everyone’s tastes are different. So the product I rave about may, in fact, turn your stomach. I’ve tossed my own share of highly rated low sodium products after using them a few times. It’s all part of the never ending challenge of finding good low-salt options. Don’t despair, just keep exploring. It’s a grand adventure!