Power of the Pantry…


image courtesy of V-8 Juice

I’ve always been a fan of V-8 Juice, especially the spicy hot flavor. Maybe it’s because I like spicy flavors, or because I have a penchant for Bloody Marys.

The only thing I didn’t particularly like was the amount of sodium (a whopping 710 mg per 8-ounce serving, or 30% of the USDA recommended daily allowance). So I switched to V-8 Low Sodium (140 mg of sodium per 8-ounce serving).

There was only one problem. Remove the salt and you remove some of the flavor. Salt is a flavor enhancer.

It’s possible to “retrain” your taste buds, and many people do, through sheer mind-over-matter. But I’m not many people, and I just couldn’t sacrifice taste for health. So, I came up with a solution.

What V-8 taketh away, my stocked pantry returnith.

Without adding any additional salt, I punched up the flavor of the low sodium V-8 juice by adding dashes of different spices.

My first experiment was green jalapeno powder. It added a nice after burn.

Next, I tried chipotle powder – a nice kick and smokiness.

Feeling embolden, I tried curry powder. W-O-W… what a nice combination. Many curries also include tomatoes, so curry powder and V-8 juice are a natural match.

I have a red curry powder from McCormick that’s quite spicy, and I have Maharajah curry powder from Penzeys Spices that’s not quite as hot but extremely aromatic with ginger, nutmeg, coriander, cumin, cardamom and cloves, among other spices. It transforms the juice from plain to exotic.

Now, how much to add? That depends upon your own particular taste — and heat tolerance. I started with 1/4 teaspoon per 8 ounces, and for some of the pepper powders, that was plenty.

I add a smidgen more with the curry powders. If you find a flavor you particularly like, you can add enough for the whole container, but I like the flexibility of having a different flavor each morning.

I’m still exploring new flavor combinations. I just picked up a Mexican Adobo seasoning blend from Penzeys so I’m trying that next. Sometimes I squirt in a bit of lemon or lime juice, both flavor brighteners.

In other words, I guess I just can’t leave well enough alone. V-8 juice is good for me. And with my flavor tricks, it’s even better.


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