Learn more about Benson's Gourmet SeasoningHere we will answer your most frequently asked questions.
What makes the Table Tasty taste salty without the salt?
Actually, it has taken a lot of trial and error, but getting a balance of the different vegetables, herbs and spices was the first step. The lemon is really the trick as your tongue has trouble decifering between salt and sour. Your sort of pucker up with either one. Also, the nutritional yeast extract, softens the stronger vegetable taste with a mildly salty, or for some a cheesy, or for others it comes through little more of a buttery, flavor. However, it all comes together for a nice salty flavor.
Just a note: the less salt you eat, the more salty this tastes. In time, after you re-train your taste buds, it will taste almost like pure salt, only better and definitely better for you.
Why did you start a salt free seasoning company?
It was Mom.
Even though she had low blood pressure, she was a single Mom raising three children in the late 50's and 60's. She needed to get going faster in the morning. Folks with low blood pressure, tend to take a little longer to wake up and get going in the mornings. Her doctor told her to increase her salt intake to raise her blood pressure to a more normal level. This was no problem, as she was working in a restaurant. People with low blood pressure tend to naturally crave more salty foods. Less than 2 years later she had her first heart attack at the age of 28 and her third heart attack at the age of 32. She almost didn't make it. She decided, not listen to the doctor and reduced her salt. Granted stress probably played a part as well. She was otherwise very healthy. She never had another heart attack or was on any heart or blood pressure medication. She did have to re-learn how to cook without salt and salty things and how to make food tasty. She was a great cook to begin with as her Mother and Grandmother had won many awards at the Iowa State Fair. She had worked in a Greek restaurant, Italian restaurant, and several restaurants where they made everything from scratch and places where most came out of a can. She taught me how to cook with herbs and spices (from the age of 6 years old) and from fresh ingredients, but we could never find a way to enjoy popcorn without salt. This was our quest. We tried so many different things without success. And then, my Mom and I went to work for a cookware company that sold one salt free seasoning. That introduced us to a company making different salt free seasonings. My Mom and I really promoted them, but they went out of business. We waited a few years, all the while learning and researching, and knew there was a need and decided to start our own salt free seasoning company. Another incentive was a salt substitute became available. Potassium chloride. We popped a big bowl of popcorn and sprinkled that on it, took a taste and threw the popped corn away. It was terrible. We had to come up with a natural, healthy, but tasty, salt free popcorn seasoning. It would also be great , if it worked on fresh tomatoes, potatoes and eggs. Now we have our Table Tasty, birthed in 1989. Along with it, came 4 more blends: Supreme, Gusto, Masterpiece, and Zesty. Then Ponderosa, Heritage and Bravado. The last one was Calypso.
Next, later this year, three new blends: Table Tasty with Roasted Garlic, Table Tasty with Chipotle and (my choice) Smokey Barbecue or (most requested) Cajun.
What kind of chicken should we buy?
Many of you ask about what kind of chicken to buy? We always tell you watch the labels and the very fine print on the labels. It is a common practice especially with boneless skinless chicken breasts to inject them with a sodium broth. Now I am seeing this more in other chicken products. Many chicken pieces are ice glazed. The glaze is a sodium broth. Here is a link to a page by Foster Farms discussing this process about plumping (injecting with a sodium type broth). http://www.saynotoplumping.com/
I always look for yellow chicken. The more yellow the better. Yellow chicken is usually raised more natural and is usually a little older so a little bigger and we have found almost always has better flavor. Yes, we usually buy chicken with the skin on. It makes for a better tasting and a moister chicken recipe. You don't have to eat the skin. As you read above, most skinless chicken has a sodium broth injected. If you can find a natural cage free or free range chicken, they are usually the best. Usually expensive but amazingly good and no hormones or antibiotics. Kosher chicken is usually brined (read your labels). Occasionally, I shop at Mexican markets in our area and their chickens are usually very yellow. Sometimes the chickens are fed marigold petals to help get that yellow skin. The Mexican shoppers seem to know that yellow chickens are best. Even if the yellow is helped along, these chickens tend to be bigger and more flavorful. Bigger chickens may be a little older and can be little tougher, watch that the size is not too big. Generally, these chickens are very flavorful and good to cook long and slow. Now, a flavorful chicken soup without chicken broth or bouillon. You may find this to be the case in other ethnic markets.
It looks like most all of the turkey is being plumped (injected with a sodium broth) or brined. Look for free range, no antibiotics or hormones. These farmers raise their turkeys this way so they are the most natural and usually the most flavorful. These will most likely not be plumped. Not easy to find. Try natural food stores, or direct from the farms, or mail order.
What is your most popular recipe?
Chicken Supreme is our most popular recipe. This is the one many of you have seen us cook in our cooking demonstrations at fairs, shows, and farmers markets. This is a one skillet meal. Cooks in about an hour. Looks good, smells terrific and tastes great!
Our second most popular recipe is the Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts.
Our third is Meatloaf Masterpiece.
What is your most popular seasoning?
Since 1989 Supreme has always been by far our best seller until a just few months ago. Because of our marketing on the internet, the Table Tasty salt substitute has jumped into first place. That's ok, but folks need to realize that just making things taste salty is not what they should want. They should be looking for flavor and use the Table Tasty more as a condiment instead of their only seasoning and let their taste buds re-train themselves.
How long do spices last?
Spices never spoil, they just lose their strength (flavor) and sometimes there is a flavor change. Many of us have Mothers or Grandmothers, (perhaps even ourselves), who have seasonings maybe 10 years old or older. They are still ok but the flavor won't be very good. Ideally, you should replace your seasonings every year, or two years at the most, for good flavor.
Do not refrigerate.
Three things kill flavor the quickest: heat, moisture and light. Do not store near a window, the stove, dishwasher, or in the refrigerator. Store in a cool, dark place, like the cupboard is best. They can also be frozen.
Keep airtight. Make sure to put the caps back on the bottles after using.
Don't store Table Tasty in a salt shaker.
Don't store Table Tasty in a salt shaker unless it has a cap. The little holes are usually too small, plus the air may cause caking and the flavor will be lost, much faster. Remember Table Tasty is a seasoning and not salt. Keep it air tight. Put the cap back on the bottle when you are finished.
Can you cook with Table Tasty or not?
I have a question about your Table Tasty. I have ordered from you twice since learning of your product. I fell in love with the Table Tasty and I tell everyone about it. However I'm a bit confused. I thought you use it after cooking or on raw food. I didn't think you could add it prior to cooking. I read a recipe in one of the newsletters and saw that you added it prior to cooking. Please tell me what I'm doing. I can cook without it and add it afterwards but that isn't working for my Mom. Please tell me exactly how I can use it. Thank you.
I apologize for any confusion.
When we first created Table Tasty it was for use at the table like a salt shaker (hence the name Table Tasty), for popcorn, tomatoes, potatoes, salad dressing and such. We thought the blend was too light in flavor to really cook with and really had no aroma. It was too delicate. We would add it to soup, gravy or an omelet during cooking and that was about it. All of our other blends are great for cooking as they are stronger in flavor and aroma.
However, since we have been selling on the Internet, so many folks are just using the Table Tasty. They are cooking with it as well as using it after cooking and love it. Plus Table Tasty has gone through some changes since 1989 and it has a stronger flavor. Folks are breading their pork chops with it, using it in their meatloaf, etc., many are using this as their only seasoning. I don't recommend this, as I would recommend using maybe 50/50 Supreme and Table Tasty for pork chops and 50/50 Masterpiece and Table Tasty for meatloaf. It's not just about making food salty. It's more about making food flavorful with perhaps a hint of saltiness.
In the beginning of a low sodium diet, your Mom may need to use more Table Tasty. Some folks really need to shake a pile of it on the food to be happy. Every one's taste buds are different. Use more Table Tasty if needed, so that your food tastes good. In time, the taste buds adjust and you will be using less Table Tasty and more of the other seasonings. After a while you will be using very little Table Tasty and mostly the other seasonings. Sounds incredible, but it's true.
Difference between potassium and potassium chloride
Question: I was advised in no uncertain terms to get with the program and limit or eradicate salt. I have been extremely diligent in attempts to do so but have not found a seasoning to replace sodium. Name it, I have tried it, and continue to experiment as long as I stay away from sodium substitutes that contain potassium. I do not respond well to potassium adjustments up or down. If your products contain no potassium and yet the labels viewed online reveal there is potassium.
There is a difference between potassium and potassium chloride. Everything that grows has a natural potassium. Fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, for example. That is why there is potassium listed on our labels. It is potassium chloride that you want to watch out for. It is what most salt substitutes are made with and is often in low sodium products like soups and broths.
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