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Flavor Balancing & How to Fix a Recipe

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Have you ever accidentally put too much salt in a recipe?  Or it’s so sour it makes your lips want to curl up inside your brain?  If so….don’t throw the dish out!  Let’s see if we can save it with the helpful tips below.  To be honest,  I have only thrown away one raw recipe away in the past 4 years.  Granted sometimes a raw soup turns into a salad dressing or a raw cake turns into cookies,  but that is part of the magic of preparing raw foods.  Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

SALTINESS

  1. Its presence perks up the depth and complexity of other flavors as the ingredients meld.
  2. Salt provides a balance to the sweetness and acidity by decreasing the sourness of acid and increasing the sweetness of sugar but a salty flavor should not be discernible.
  3. With raw veggies the salt will help to draw water out.  As an example, to soften zucchini noodles, simply sprinkle on salt and allow it to sit.  It will pull the moisture out, leaving a softer “noodle”.
  4. If your recipe is too salty try to balance with sweet, fatty or sour.  To fix a sauce or soup that has too much salt, for example, add a dash of sweetness and/or a squeeze of lemon juice.
  • Sea salt
  • Tamari
  • Miso
  • Sea Veggies
  • Celery
  • Braggs liquid amino

SWEETNESS

  1. Sweetness balances the salty taste.
  2. If your recipe is too sweet balance with sour, salty, bitter, spicy or fatty ingredients.
  • Agave
  • Fresh fruits
  • Dried fruits
  • Yacon
  • Maple syrup (not raw)
  • Rapadura
  • Stevia
SOURNESS / ACID / TART
  1. Sourness balances salty and sweet flavors.
  2. If recipe is too sour, then adjust the flavor with sweet, salty, fatty or bitter ingredients.
  3. Sourness can reduce the amount of salt needed in your recipe.
  4. Adds a high note, a brightness.
  5. Keeps greens from oxidizing.
  • Vinegars of all kinds
  • Lemon juice
  • Lime juice
  • Tamarind
  • Raspberries
  • Cranberries
  • Pickles
  • Rejuvelac

BITTERNESS

  1. Bitterness is the most sensitive of the tastes, and is perceived by many to be unpleasant, sharp, or disagreeable.
  2. If your recipe is too bitter balance it with sweet, salty or sour.
  3. Bitter is highly alkaline.
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Arugula
  • Basil
  • Nutmeg
  • Cumin
  • Dandelion

Fats

  1. Fats subdue flavor and add depth to a recipe.  They can add comfort,  richness, and a wonderful mouth feel.
  2. Fats are great emulsifiers
  3. If your recipe is to fatty add sour or increase liquid
  • Cold pressed oils
  • Avocado
  • Coconut milk / cream
  • Nuts

PUNGENT / SPICY

  1. Adds drama and intensity
  2. Remember that in the raw world pungent foods and dried herbs must be used sparingly.
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Ginger
  • Mustard
  • Hot peppers

Quick reference recap:

  • Too spicy?  Add some sweetness, fat, sour
  • Too sweet?  Add some sour, salty, bitter, fatty or spiciness
  • Too sour?  Add sweet, salty, fatty, bitter
  • Too bland?  Add salt, sweet, sour or some spiciness
  • Too salty?  Add sour, fatty, sweet
  • Just needs a spark?  Add acid or one of the aromatics added at the end of cooking, or just a touch of heat (spiciness)
  • Too bitter? Add sweet, salty, sour

 

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