The original Worcestershire sauce is the BEST! On everything!!! Burgers, steaks, sushi, kabobs, salads, p-nut butter…well, what the heck, why not? For 185 years it’s been imitated endlessly but never bested. I know, I’ve tried them all. (I have to go get a snack.)
I just love experiments and discoveries. I’m fascinated how engineers, scientists, and Heat Treaters go out on a limb, try different approaches, take chances, and then “discover” new ways to do things to create new inventions. It happens in the lab, on the shop floor, and many times comes to people willing to “give it a try” when they don’t expect it. About 185 years ago today, a couple of chemists were experimenting with sauces for food. They were trying to come up with a flavor that would improve the taste experience of meat dishes – (think meat in the 1800’s – eeuuuww!). Disappointed by the flat taste, they put their dark liquid a barrel, and stuck it in the basement to be left it for another day. Through the magic of fermentation about 18 months later, a new product was born, which now sits on refrigerator door shelves throughout the world. Not an everyday condiment, but a special blend of spices and ingredients, the now famous chemists John and Billy nailed it, inventing … Worchester sauce, that has become a great compliment to sauces and recipes, as well as beverages. Sometimes just a splash, other times a serious marinade, be sure to try the recipes at the bottom of the blog and be sure to send me your favorites (firstname.lastname@example.org). With this great stretch of weather, I never lose interest in popping open the grill top and cooking up something new. (the suggested beverage below fits right into my wheelhouse). Enjoy. And thanks to writer Peggy Trowbridge, thespruceeats.com, allrecipes.com, healthline.com and Wikipedia for the info.
- Worcestershire sauce (pron. WOO cester shire) has a distinct flavor, yet it can be challenging to identify its complex list of ingredients simply by the taste. Enjoyed for generations, it was developed in August 1835 by two chemists from Worcester named Lea and Perrins.
- Chemists John Lea and William Perrins developed this sauce in Worcester, England. They were experimenting with vinegar-based seasoning sauces and had abandoned a batch that didn’t taste right. Sitting in the basement, the sauce fermented and developed complex flavors. The partners bottled more, and a taste for Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce spread throughout Europe, to America, and across the world. (to produce the sauce, they allow it to sit for two years with periodic stirrings; the mixture was then sifted of the solids and bottled.)
- After much success locally, the product took off. By the end of the following decade Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce had already gained worldwide fame and was being exported to all the “outposts of the British Empire”.
- By the end of the century Lea & Perrins’ iconic orange label had been added to all bottles to ensure they stood out from copycat competitors (the label has hardly changed since) and in 1904 Lea & Perrins was granted the Royal Warrant which it holds to this day. (the US version sports a tan paper label.)
- In 1897 the company opened a new factory in Worcester, where it remains in operation to this day, despite being commandeered by the British Army during the Second World War and suffering a factory fire in 1964.
- Now a mostly generic term, Worcestershire sauce is currently manufactured by many different commercial retailers, as well as under the original Lea & Perrins label. HP Sauce is another type of brown sauce, so named because the sauce was reputedly spotted in the Houses of Parliament. It’s similar but not the same as authentic Worcestershire sauce.
- Worcestershire sauce is a fermented condiment made from a base of vinegar and flavored with anchovies, molasses, tamarind, onion, garlic, and other seasonings. The flavor is savory and sweet with a distinct tang provided by the vinegar. The most common form of Worcestershire sauce is not appropriate for a vegetarian or vegan diet and cannot be used in a kosher meal that includes meat.
- Vinegar leads the ingredient list and is included both for the tangy flavor and to preserve the other components of Worcestershire sauce. Anchovies add umami. The ingredient that gives Worcestershire sauce its unique flavor is tamarind, the fruit of Tamarindus indica, or Indian date in Arabic. The pods, somewhat resembling a brown pea pod, contain a thick, sticky pulp which has a consistency of dates and a spicy date-apricot flavor. (learn more HERE.) Ingredients for U.S. version of The Original Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce include: Distilled white vinegar, Anchovies, Garlic, Molasses, Onions, Salt, Sugar, Water, Chili pepper extract, Cloves, Natural flavorings and Tamarind extract.
- The popularity of gluten-free diets may be one reason that the U.S. version of Worcestershire sauce is made with distilled white vinegar rather than malt vinegar, which contains gluten. To be sure your Worcestershire sauce is gluten-free, check the label.
- Interestingly, the version of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce sold in the U.S. differs from the U.K. recipe. It uses distilled white vinegar rather than malt vinegar. In addition, it has three times as much sugar and sodium. This makes the American version sweeter and saltier than the version sold in Britain and Canada.
- How would you describe the taste? Chef’s use words like tangy, savory, sweet, and salty. The balance of those flavors makes it an excellent condiment. It is especially valued for adding the umami flavor, which comes from the anchovies. The spices included can vary by brand.
- Worcestershire sauce can be used in many ways during cooking or as a condiment. It is often used as an ingredient in marinades or is brushed onto meat, fish, or poultry as it is grilled, fried, or baked. It can be used when steaming, grilling, or stir-frying vegetables. (I love to dump it into vegies when I make a stir fry or on my favorite burger). Worcestershire sauce can be used as a condiment on sandwiches and shellfish or seasoning for salads. It is used in soups and stews for seasoning and adding savoriness.
- It’s relatively easy to make homemade Worcestershire sauce, but it does involve a long list of ingredients. Feel free to experiment and adjust to your taste. You can even try adding a personal secret ingredient to make the sauce your own. You will need only a saucepan to simmer the ingredients, which include olive oil, sweet onions, tamarind paste, garlic, ginger, jalapeños, anchovies, tomato paste, cloves, black pepper, dark corn syrup, molasses, white vinegar, dark beer, orange juice, water, lemon, and lime. Here’s A Recipe
- Prior to opening the bottle, Worcestershire sauce can be stored at room temperature. Once the bottle is opened, it should be refrigerated to preserve flavor. The general shelf life of Worcestershire sauce is approximately two years, after which it may begin to lose flavor and aroma.
- Today, Lea & Perrins’ famous sauce is exported to over 130 countries around the world, where it has become a much-loved staple in kitchens, restaurants, hotels and bars. It remains as popular today as it ever has been, and is still lovingly made in Worcester in very much the same way as it was when first sold in the 1830’s.
You will find Worcestershire sauce included in a wide variety of recipes for everything from vegetables to meat dishes, and sauces to soups. Here’s some fun ones to try:
Red Wine and Worcestershire Sauce Marinade for Chicken
Cheddar Cheese Sauce
Tangy Pork Chops
Tasty Bloody Mary
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As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I. Love. My. Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
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On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
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