Understanding Asian Fusion Cuisine

Learn the flavor profiles and ingredients of different Asian countries. Use Asian fusion ideas to combine foods and create unique dishes.

Every culture has its traditional flavors. When we go out to eat, we have a set expectation for the flavor profiles we want. An example is when ordering Japanese versus Chinese foods, each type of food has a set expectation, despite both being Asian cuisine. To first understand Asian fusion, it’s best to learn the flavor profiles of each Asian culture. 

Table of Contents

Basic Flavor Principles of Asian Cuisines

Flavor Profiles and Ingredients 

What is Asian Fusion Cuisine?

Asian Fusion Sauces, Pastes and Vinegar

Chef Myron’s® Ready-to-Serve Asian Sauces and Rice Wine Vinegar

Basic Flavor Principles of Asian Cuisines

Many Asian countries aim to create a yin-yang balance with their foods. Colors also represent a type of taste. Sour is Green, Bitter is Red, Sweet is Yellow, Spicy is White and Salty is Black. In Eastern medicine, doctors will recommend eating a specific color of food to restore balance in the body.

When talking about Asian cuisine, we also need to talk about umami. Umami is a meaty, savory flavor on the taste buds. In Japanese, umami means “delicious taste.” The taste of umami comes from amino-acids, including glutamate. These amino acids are found naturally in high protein foods, seaweed, soy-based foods, aged or fermented foods and fish. Umami is very prized; therefore, in 1908, MSG was invented. MSG is a synthetic reproduction of natural glutamate. 

Flavor Profiles and Ingredients

Chinese Food

First of all, China is a vast country made up of many regions, each with its favorite flavors.  Central and Southern China are very liberal with chilies. Therefore, they are known for their spicy or pungent flavors. Northern China experiences cold winters. These winters shaped the tradition of fermenting vegetables and fish for long-term storage. Coastal regions of China tend to use a lot of salt. Eastern Chinese food has a milder, sweeter flavor profile.

Talking about China as a whole, the base flavors for many dishes are ginger, scallions and garlic. Chilies and soy sauce have become staple condiments. Here is a list of many common ingredients from traditional Chinese foods:

  • Apples
  • Bell Peppers
  • Black Pepper
  • Cardamon
  • Cherries
  • Chicken
  • Chili Peppers
  • Chinkiang Vinegar
  • Cinnamon
  • Dates
  • Doubanjiang (fermented bean paste)
  • Dry Mustard
  • Duck
  • Fish
  • Fermented Black Beans
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Hoisin Sauce
  • Lemon, Lime
  • Mace
  • Nutmeg
  • Onions
  • Oranges
  • Oyster Sauce
  • Plums
  • Pork
  • Radish
  • Rice
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Scallions
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Sherry
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Sichuan peppercorn
  • Soybeans
  • Soy Sauce
  • Star Anise
  • Tofu

Indian Food

Indian cuisine is very aromatic and uses many spices and curries. Hinduism is one of the country’s most prominent religions, and although it does not prohibit eating meat, the concept of non-violence to all other life is encouraged. Therefore, many Hindus follow a vegetarian lifestyle. Cows are regarded as a member of the family rather than a source of food. Pork is also avoided as pigs are considered unclean animals.   

  • Almonds
  • Ajwain (seeds)
  • Anise
  • Asafetida (gum resin)
  • Bay Leaves
  • Buffalo
  • Cauliflower
  • Cardamom
  • Cashews
  • Chard
  • Chicken
  • Chickpeas
  • Chiles
  • Cilantro
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Coconut Milk
  • Coriander
  • Cucumber
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Curry Leaves
  • Durum Wheat
  • Fennel
  • Fenugreek
  • Fish
  • Garam Masala (spice blend)
  • Garlic
  • Ghee (clarified butter)
  • Ginger
  • Goat
  • Goat Cheese
  • Jaggery (unrefined palm sugar)
  • Kidney Beans
  • Lamb
  • Legumes
  • Lemon
  • Lentils
  • Limes
  • Mango
  • Mint
  • Mung Beans
  • Mustard Seeds
  • Nutmeg
  • Onion
  • Paprika
  • Paneer Cheese
  • Pistachios
  • Pomegranate Seeds
  • Poppy Seeds
  • Prunes
  • Rice
  • Saffron
  • Sesame Oil
  • Star Anise
  • Tamarind
  • Turmeric
  • Yogurt

Japanese Food

Japanese food is simple, artistic and seasonal. In Japan, food is given a lot of thought. Etiquette rules dictate that food is to be treated with the highest respect. In Japan, it takes years to become a chef (sometimes up to 10 years). It’s a very high-paying, respected profession. They do their best to choose foods in their prime. Unlike other Asian countries, they use very little garlic or chili peppers (unless in season).

To bring out the natural flavors of some ingredients, they brew, age (ferment) and dry these staples. The base flavors of Japanese cuisine are fish, rice, mushrooms, seaweed and soy.  Here are some standard ingredients from traditional Japanese foods:

  • Anko (mashed azuki beans)
  • Bonito Flakes (dried fish)
  • Daikon (Japanese radishes)
  • Dashi (soup base)
  • Fish
  • Karashi (hot mustard)
  • Kelp
  • Maitake (mushrooms)
  • Mirin (cooking alcohol)
  • Miso (fermented soybeans)
  • Negi (leek)
  • Rice
  • Seaweed
  • Shiitake (mushrooms)
  • Shoyu (soy sauce)
  • Tofu
  • Wasabi
  • Yuzu (citrus fruit)

Korean Food

Compared to other Asian cuisines, Koreans place a heavy emphasis on beef and intensely flavor it with savory, spicy and bold ingredients. Korean food is known for having many side dishes (2 to 12) served with rice. Kimchi (salted fermented vegetables) are served with every meal. Korean meat dishes are generally marinated for an extended period of time to give them extra tenderness.

The critical base flavors of Korean food contain chili peppers, doenjang (fermented bean paste), garlic, ginger and gochujang (fermented red chili paste). Traditionally, Koreans also prepare their meals by the following five colors: red, yellow, green, white and black. Here are common ingredients used in Korean foods:

  • Beef
  • Black Pepper
  • Blackbean Paste Sauce
  • Brown Sugar
  • Cabbage
  • Chicken
  • Doenjang (soybean paste)
  • Dried Anchovy
  • Fish
  • Fish Cakes
  • Fish Sauce
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Gochujang
  • Green Onions
  • Kelp
  • Kimchi (usually fermented cabbage)
  • Malt Syrup
  • Onions
  • Perilla leaves (mint family)
  • Pork
  • Radish
  • Red Chili Peppers
  • Rice
  • Rice Syrup
  • Rice Wine
  • Sea Mustard
  • Seaweed
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sweet Potato Noodles

Middle Eastern Food 

The Middle East (a.k.a Western Asia) is a group of 17 countries, including Turkey and Egypt.  Middle Eastern cuisine is quickly gaining popularity worldwide. Unlike many other Asian countries, Middle Eastern countries consume dairy and bread, such as goat cheese, yogurt and pita bread. This area used to be known as the Fertile Crescent. This is the area that started using fermentation to make bread and beer. The Jewish and Muslim religions are prominent in the region. They do not consume pork and have made lamb the primary source of protein.

Staple flavor ingredients of the Middle East include chickpeas, dates, honey, olives, parsley, mint, rice, sesame seeds and sumac. Some common ingredients used in Middle Eastern foods include:

  • Almonds
  • Barley
  • Beef
  • Black Pepper
  • Bulgur
  • Bread
  • Cabbage
  • Cheese
  • Chicken
  • Chickpeas
  • Chili Peppers
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Coriander
  • Cucumbers
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Dates
  • Eggplant
  • Figs
  • Fish
  • Garlic
  • Goat
  • Grape Leaves
  • Grapes
  • Honey
  • Hummus
  • Lamb
  • Lemon
  • Okra
  • Olives
  • Olive Oil
  • Onions
  • Oranges
  • Nutmeg
  • Parsley
  • Pine Nuts
  • Pistachios
  • Pomegranates
  • Milk
  • Mint
  • Raisins
  • Rice
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Sheep
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Sour Cherries
  • Sumac
  • Thyme
  • Tomatoes
  • Turmeric
  • Vanilla
  • Wheat
  • Yogurt 

Mongolian Food

Mongolia is a cold desert with average temperatures around 65°F (20°C) to -13°F (-2°C). The cold temperatures influenced the food to lean heavily on meat and dairy. Mongolians eat animals such as camels, cattle, deer, goats, horses, marmot, sheep and yaks. Their diet traditionally includes a minimal amount of vegetables or spices. They roast, grill, smoke, dry and use hot rocks to prepare their meats. Millet is a staple grain as it grows fast and can withstand the extreme temperatures of the region.

Anytime you order Mongolian beef barbecue, know that what you’re eating is an example of Asian fusion. Authentic Mongolian food has minimal vegetables and little seasoning. Cows in Mongolia struggle with extreme temperatures and therefore beef is rarely eaten in Mongolia. A man named Wu Zhao-nan invented Mongolian beef barbecue in the 1950s. He also opened up the first Asian fusion, American-Chinese restaurant located in Taiwan. In other words, Mongolian beef barbecue has nothing to do with the country of Mongolia.

Critical ingredients of Mongolian foods include meat (especially mutton) and dairy. Here are other common ingredients used in Mongolian foods:

  • Aaruul (Fermented cheese)
  • Airag (Fermented milk from a horse, 2% alcoholic)
  • Boortsog (fried dough)
  • Camels
  • Chicken
  • Deer
  • Duck
  • Goat
  • Horse
  • Marmot
  • Milk
  • Millet
  • Orom (Mongolian cream)
  • Sheep
  • Yaks
  • Yaks Butter (from yaks milk and stored in a sheep’s stomach) 

Filipino Food (Philippines)

Filipino cuisine is a fusion of Chinese, European and American influences. The Chinese have been visiting the Philippines since the 11th century. They brought with them knowledge of noodles, spring rolls, steamed buns, dumplings and stir fry. In the 16th century, the Spanish colonized the Philippines. They introduced cheese, olive oil, cured sausages, ham and spices, such as saffron and paprika. In the 19th century, the Philippines became a colony of the United States. They soon learned about pressure cooking, sandwiches, hamburgers and fried foods.  All of this was embraced and adapted into Filipino culture.

Staple ingredients of Filipino foods are garlic, ginger, chili peppers, peppercorns, onions, tomatoes, cilantro and kalamansi (citrus fruit). Other popular ingredients in Filipino cuisine include:

  • Adobo Sauce
  • Bagoong (fish paste)
  • Bay Leaf
  • Chili Peppers
  • Calamondin Juice (citrus fruit)
  • Cilantro
  • Coconut
  • Coconut Vinegar
  • Fish
  • Jackfruit
  • Kalabasa (squash)
  • Kangkong (water spinach)
  • Lime
  • Malunggay (like Kale)
  • Onions
  • Patis (fish sauce)
  • Peppercorns
  • Pork
  • Puso Ng Saging (banana blossom)
  • Rice
  • Shrimp
  • Tomatoes
  • Ube (purple yam)
  • Vinegar

Russian Food 

Usually, when people talk about Asian cuisine, they don’t generally mean Russian. However, Russia is the largest country on the continent of Asia, so let’s cover it.

Many movies portray Russia as a tundra. In reality, Russia is home to many beautiful lakes, mountains and even volcanoes. The country has a short growing season. Therefore, a lot of hearty grains and root vegetables are grown, such as buckwheat, rye, beets, carrots, onions, garlic and potatoes. Wild berries and mushrooms are harvested throughout Russia during warmer months. In preparation for the long cold winters, they skillfully preserve foods with pickling and jams.

A staple for Russian households is adding sour cream and mayonnaise to their most popular dishes. A famous Russian dish that gained worldwide attention is beef stroganoff, a serving of beef, noodles, mushrooms and cream.

These are other typical ingredients used in Russian cuisine:

  • Beets
  • Beef
  • Berries
  • Blini (crepes)
  • Bread
  • Buckwheat
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Caviar
  • Chicken
  • Cheese
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Cucumbers
  • Dill
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Garlic
  • Honey
  • Horseradish
  • Lamb
  • Mayonnaise
  • Milk
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Pickles
  • Pork
  • Potatoes
  • Raisins
  • Rye
  • Sour Cream
  • Vinegar

Thai Food

In 2018, CNN surveyed people to find out what are the World’s 50 Best Foods. Thailand had three dishes on that list, including the number one spot, Massaman Curry (#1), Tom Yum Goong (#8) and Som Tam (#46). The people of Thailand do their best to prepare foods that are perfectly balanced with salty, sweet, sour, spicy and bitter. They lean towards using fresh aromatic ingredients rather than dried herbs and spices.   

Key ingredients to many Thai dishes come from shallots, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, coriander, kaffir lime leaves, chilies and basil. Some other Thai favorites are

  • Bamboo Shoots
  • Beansprouts
  • Black Pepper
  • Cardamom
  • Chilies
  • Chili Paste
  • Cilantro
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Coconut Milk
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Curry Paste
  • Fermented Soy Beans
  • Fish
  • Fish Sauce
  • Galangal (ginger family)
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Holy Basil
  • Kaffir Lime (aka Bergamot)
  • Lemongrass
  • Kaffir Lime Leaves
  • Mint
  • Mushrooms
  • Oyster Sauce
  • Palm Sugar
  • Rice
  • Rice Noodles
  • Shallots
  • Tamarind
  • Thai Basil
  • Thai Celery
  • Vinegar

Vietnamese Food

One of my favorite Asian foods, pho, comes from Vietnam. It’s a soup made with broth, rice noodles, herbs and meat. The Vietnamese use fresh aromatic ingredients. Vietnamese is considered by many as one of the healthiest cuisines in the world.

Staple Vietnamese ingredients include fish sauce, lime, shrimp paste and soybean paste. Here is a list of other traditional ingredients used in Vietnamese foods:

  • Banana Blossom
  • Birdseye Chile
  • Cardamom
  • Cilantro
  • Clove
  • Coriander
  • Fermented Shrimp Paste
  • Fish
  • Fish Sauce
  • Green Onions
  • Lemongrass
  • Lime
  • Mint
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Oyster Sauce
  • Pickled Vegetables
  • Rice
  • Rice Vermicelli (rice noodles)
  • Sambal Oelek
  • Sawtooth Herb
  • Shallots
  • Star Anise
  • Thai Basil
  • Vietnamese Cinnamon
  • Vietnamese Peppercorns

What is Asian Fusion Cuisine?

What happens if you want Korean food and your friends all want Thai? Or what if you wish for Asian and your friends prefer Mexican? Hey, no problem; this is where Asian fusion cuisine comes into play. Asian fusion restaurants offer foods with a multicultural influence. That means you can find things like Thai Hummus (a fusion of Thai and Middle Eastern). Possibly a Korean BBQ Burger (A Korean and American mix). You could even find an Orange Chicken Burrito (a fusion of Chinese and Mexican).

Traditional dishes have been fusing for thousands of years. However, with our current technology, easy travel and transportation, food fusions are happening faster than ever before.  An early example of Asian fusion is the use of spices used to make curries. Archaeologists discovered curries used first in the Middle East around 2600 BC. Around 2000 BC (600 years later), they found evidence of curries being used in India and Southeast Asia. In the 17th century, curry spices were introduced to British-English cuisine. In the 20th century, curries had become famous worldwide and were a part of international fusion cuisine.

Today, traditional Middle Eastern, Indian and Thai curries are very distinct; it would be hard to confuse them. An essential aspect of fusion foods is taking ideas and flavor balances from traditional foods and creating something truly unique.

Asian Fusion Sauces, Pastes and Vinegar

Asian cooking is a combination of fresh ingredients and base flavors such as sauces, pastes and vinegar. These base flavors are vital ingredients to many Asian dishes. Many of these flavor bases take a lot of time and work to prepare. They must be formulated, aged, fermented and brewed just right. Many domestic, industrial and foodservice kitchens do not have the tools, resources, time or the space available to create their own Asian bases. However, these products are commercially available.

Today’s Asian fusion flavor bases have a multicultural influence. And today’s foods are also influenced by health concerns. Worldwide, people are demanding non-GMO, organic certified, Kosher, gluten-free and MSG-free. Vegetarian and vegan Asian foods are also in demand.  Highly skilled chefs and food scientists come to the forefront of Asian fusion base flavors. Every ingredient that goes in needs to be analyzed, researched and sourced to ensure high quality and great taste.

Chef Myron’s® Ready-to-Serve Asian Sauces and Rice Wine Vinegar

In mid-2019, JMH Premium acquired Chef Myron’s® Asian Fusion ready-to-use sauce company, and six months later, it became part of the Summit Hills Foods family. Our team of chefs and food scientists have been working with the formulations and enhancing the taste, texture and quality as we take responsibility for the full-scale production of these premium Asian sauces. This has been a fun adventure as we have produced the Chef Myron’s® line of Premium Asian Sauces on a much larger scale than ever before. They are available through foodservice distributors nationwide and through DOT Foods.

Learn All About Seafood Base, Stock and Bouillon

Love seafood? Learn the foundations of seafood flavoring using shrimp, lobster, crab, clams, mussels and fish to make stocks, bases and bouillon.

Seafood is not only healthy but amazingly delicious. I’m sure you already knew that. In this article, we’ll focus on seafood flavor basics, specifically stocks, bases and bouillons made from shrimp, lobster, crab, clams, mussels and fish. 

Stocks, bases and bouillon are flavor foundations and a chef’s “secret” ingredient in preparing soups, bisque, chowders, seafood boils, pasta and so much more. 

The goal of this article is to equip you with the why and how of when preparing seafood flavor stocks and bases. You can confidently understand the recipes AND impress your family, friends or your restaurant visitors by moving beyond the recipe(s) and developing your own custom seafood dishes.

Table of Contents

What are Seafood Stock, Bases, Broth and Bouillons?

Seafood stock is a flavorful liquid that is used as an ingredient for a variety of dishes. It is made by simmering aromatic vegetables and parts of an animal that would normally be discarded such as bones, fish heads, tails and shells. In other words, after a dinner of lobster, crab, shrimp or fish keep everything not eaten as it can be used to make a stock. 

Stocks can be made from a variety of fish and crustaceans. However, there are times when you want a specific flavor such as a lobster stock to make lobster bisque or a shrimp stock for ramen. One thing to note about stocks is they are either lightly seasoned or not at all. This is because it’s considered an ingredient and the seasoning should not be done until preparing the final dish.  

A seafood base is a concentrated stock that has been reduced by at least half. A base is used as an ingredient when the recipe doesn’t call for as much liquid such as when flavoring pasta, casseroles or creamier chowders. A base is generally lightly seasoned and has a richer flavor than the stock it came from, as it is more concentrated.  

Seafood broth is very similar to a stock; meat is added along with the bones, shells and vegetables. A broth is seasoned to perfection because often it is consumed on its own. In some cultures, a broth is traditionally served as part of the meal.  

A seafood bouillon is a concentrated broth. In other words, it’s a stock that has been seasoned and then reduced by simmering off the liquid until it is a thicker paste or even a cube or powder.

How Do You Make Seafood Stock and Base?

There are many different types of stocks and bases that can be made using seafood, such as fish, shrimp, lobster, crab or a combination of them all, simply called a seafood stock or base.  

The goal of a stock is to extract the nutrients and flavors and infuse the water with flavor. This is done by simmering. When making a beef stock, this process takes a minimum of 8 hours. However, as the seafood bones and shells are much thinner, it only takes between 45 minutes to 2 hours.  

A fish or shrimp stock needs to simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour maximum. A lobster or crab stock needs to simmer for around 1 to 2 hours, depending on the preference of the strength of the flavor. When making a seafood stock base, your simmer time depends on the main ingredient.  For example, when doing a seafood stock using more lobster than anything else, the simmering time needs to be a 2 hours max. However, if the main ingredient is fish but also includes lobster and/or crab, the simmering time is a 1-hour maximum.

Now that you know the simmering time, let’s talk further about the process.  Prepare the ingredients by washing everything. You do not want any veins, blood or gills amongst the ingredients. When working with shells of lobster and crab, you’ll want to spend a few moments crushing them into two to three-inch pieces.

Next, you are going to need some aromatic vegetables such as mirepoix (onion, celery, and carrot). In a beef broth, I’d recommend course chopping, such as only quartering the vegetables. However, as seafood stocks simmer for a shorter time than beef, I recommend finely chopping everything to release as much of the nutrients and flavor as possible.

Once everything is ready, place everything on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil or melted butter, and heat in a 350°F oven until you see things beginning to change color. The shells will begin to pinken, and the vegetables will start to brown. This only takes a few minutes, so watch carefully.

Now, put everything in a large soup pot and deglaze the baking sheet with some white wine or brandy, and pour in the pot. Fill the pot with water until all the ingredients are covered by 2 to 3 inches of water and simmer. The warning here is not to boil and do not stir as that will cause the stock to cloud.   

While simmering, you will see a froth rise to the top. The froth is considered to contain imperfections, and you will want to grab a ladle or spoon to skim this out carefully. 

Once the time is up for simmering, strain the liquid, and what you have left is a seafood stock. To make a base, put the strained liquid back into the pot and continue to simmer until it has been reduced to half or more.  

To cool the stock or broth quickly, fill the sink with a few inches of water and add ice. Take the pot holding the liquid and place it in the sink; the ice water should reach at least halfway up the sides of the pot. Stir the stock until it’s been chilled to the desired temperature and add more ice as needed as it melts. 

Homemade seafood stocks and bases will last 4 to 5 days in the fridge.  They will last for months in the freezer. Place the stock in freezer bags, label with the name of stock, date and amount. Freeze the bags flat as that will give you the most room in the freezer. To add just a touch of seafood flavor to a recipe, try freezing the stock in ice cube trays first and then put it in freezer bags.

The Ingredients for Seafood Stocks and Bases

ow you know the general concept of how to make seafood stocks and bases. Let’s now dive further into the ingredients as there are many things that can make or break a good seafood stock and base. 

Quick Tip:

Anytime you have seafood leftovers, fish, shrimp, lobster, etc., place the items in a freezer bag and freeze them until you’re ready to make a seafood stock.

Fish Stock and Base

Not all fish should be used for fish stock. The best types of fish to use are mild-flavored white fish such as cod, halibut, tilapia, bass, grouper, haddock, walleye, perch, catfish and snapper. Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and bluefish might leave you with a final fish stock that is overpowering.

The parts of the fish you can use are the skin, bones, head, tail and any leftover meat. What you don’t want to use are the guts, organs, veins or gills. Any blood will ruin the stock as it will cloud it and give it an “off-flavor.”  Before using any fish, make sure to rinse the fish of any slime or other impurities.

Shrimp Stock and Base

Shrimp heads, shells and tails are full of flavor and perfect for creating stocks and bases. Next time you prepare shrimp, set aside, and/or freeze these parts to later create a stock. Shrimp stock takes just 45 minutes to an hour of simmering and will give you a flavorful shrimp stock. Prior to the simmering, if the shells are raw, make sure to roast or heat the shells until they turn pink; this further enhances the flavor. 

Gumbo, jambalaya, Cajan food, cioppino and seafood risotto are just a few delicious dishes for which shrimp stock can be used.

Lobster Stock and Base

Lobster is fine dining at its best; however, after the meal, you’re left with a shell, claws, head and tail. These are the perfect ingredients for making a lobster stock and base. A lobster stock has a rich flavor and a red hue that it gets from the pigment of the shell.

Lobster stock takes 1 to 2 hours of simmering, depending on your taste preference. The result will give you a flavorful lobster stock. Recipes traditionally made with lobster stocks or bases are lobster bisque, seafood chowder, lobster linguini and risotto.

Clams and Mussels Juice

Mollusks, when cooked, release flavorful juices. It is this umami-rich juice that can be used as a flavoring ingredient or as a broth. The taste is similar to a fish sauce, just a much milder version. In other words, don’t discard the liquid used to cook clams and mussels, instead, freeze it for future use. It is also available to buy at the local grocery store, generally found in the canned meat section next to the tuna.

Have you ever sat down to a delicious plate of freshly steamed clams only to discover a mouth full of sand? The sand will not only ruin the meal, but it will also make the clam juice unusable. The secret to preparing clams and mussels is the pre-wash. It’s a bit of work, but it will save you from this experience and ensure clean clam and mussel juice for future dishes.

Start by giving the clams and/or mussels a salt bath. In a bowl, cover them with salt water and let them sit for 30 minutes. This encourages the clams and mussels to release any sand they might be holding onto. 

Next, scrub each one with a brush and rinse them thoroughly. Nope, not quite done, follow that up with a salt scrub. Dump salt on the clams and mussels and further scrub the shells, rinse and repeat the salt scrub two more times. As I said, it’s a lot of work but it will ensure not only the clams and mussels are sand-free, but it also ensures the flavorful juice is clean and usable.   

When making stocks and bases, some people will use the discarded clam and mussel shells but these shells don’t break down as easily as crustacean shells and don’t add as much flavor. What we like to do instead, is simply add a healthy splash of clam or mussel juice to the stock after it is done simmering and has been strained.

Vegetables Herbs and Seasoning

Every stock, no matter if it is beef, chicken or seafood, calls for vegetables.  Vegetables add flavor, aroma, color and nutrients to stocks and bases.  Onions, celery and carrots are the traditional vegetables added. Tomato paste has also become a staple as it gives a sweet flavor and increases the acidity which further aides in extracting the flavor. Lemons are also used for this purpose with seafood stocks.

Learn more about vegetables used in stocks here.

Where To Buy Seafood Stocks and Bases

Not everyone has the time to make stocks and bases. The grocery store has a variety of seafood stocks and bases for home cooking, usually found in the soup aisle. We suggest the brand Better Than Bouillon®. It offers a Fish Base, Clam Base and Lobster Base. These bases are considered by many home chefs as the highest quality option and we agree. 

If you’re in the food industry, you wll need larger quantities with excellent flavor and quality, backed up by a strong service-oriented company. You might even need or want a signature flavor to set you apart. This is where Summit Hill Foods comes in. We offer delicious seafood flavor bases available direct or through a distributor. 

Here is a list of the seafood flavors we offer.  See our product catalog.  

  • Pran Pho Broth Concentrate
  • Fish Base
  • Shrimp Base
  • Lobster Base 
  • Lobsterpoix
  • Clarified Lobster Stock Concentrate
  • Clam Base
  • Clam Base Concentrate
  • Five Star Clam Base
  • Five Star Lobster Base
  • Premium Fish Base
  • Custom Flavor Development

We have a team of chefs, food scientists and culinary experts here to assist you in developing signature flavors. To get started in creating a unique flavor, contact us here.

Vegetable Stock, Base, Broth and Bouillon

Learn the basics for flavoring vegetarian and vegan dishes with vegetable stock, base, broth and bouillon. Understand the differences and how to make them.

Vegetarian and vegan options are on the rise both in foodservice and in consumers’ homes. To chefs and foodies alike, this means having vegetable stocks, bases, broths and bouillons on hand to make veggie-based soups, chilis, casseroles, gravies, sauces, rice and more. In this article, we’ll go over the differences between stocks, bases, broths and bouillons. We will explore how they’re made and what vegetables to use. We’ll even go over how to get creative when making your own vegetable-based flavors. 

Below, for your convenience, is a table of contents; skip around if needed. 

Table of Contents

What Is a Vegetable Stock?  

Vegetable stock is a versatile liquid used to make other dishes. There are a couple of variations on how to make it. The easiest way is to rough-chop some vegetables, and then put everything in the pot, onion peels and all. Cover in water, simmer for about 1 to 2 hours and strain. That’s it. You’re done.  

Another variation requires chopping the veggies finely, lightly coating them in oil and either sautéing or baking them until soft and beginning to brown. Place everything in a pot, cover in water and simmer for about 1 to 2 hours and strain. This variation will have a darker color due to the browning prior to simmering. It will also have a stronger taste because the precooking and the smaller pieces allow more nutrients and flavor to seep into the water. 

Stocks are not seasoned, as they are considered an ingredient. However, commercially produced stocks typically have salt added as a preservative, making them shelf stable until opened.    

What Is a Vegetable Base?

A vegetable base is a concentrated vegetable stock. Start with vegetable stock, place it back onto the stove and continue to simmer until the liquid has evaporated by at least half.  

The most significant difference between a base that is made from a protein and one made from vegetables is the protein base will begin to thicken due to the collagen. If you want a thicker vegetable base, you can add cornstarch, arrowroot powder or puréed vegetables until you’ve reached your desired thickness.  

A base is used in a similar fashion as a stock. However, some recipes require less liquid, in which case using a base is ideal. A base has a richer vegetable flavor, darker color and thicker texture. It is not generally seasoned; however, adding salt will give it a longer shelf life.  

What Is a Vegetable Broth?

A vegetable broth is a stock that has been seasoned. To make it, warm up vegetable stock and season it to taste with your favorite fresh herbs, spices and salt and pepper.  

Most people know that if you’re not feeling well, a cup of warm, savory broth will help. Nutritionally speaking, broths are full of healthy minerals our bodies need, especially when sick. In many countries, broths come standard with meals.

Create a delicious vegetable broth by seasoning with herbs and spices like these:

  • Basil
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Celery Salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Coriander
  • Garlic Powder
  • Ginger
  • Marjoram
  • Mint
  • Paprika
  • Peppercorns
  • Parsley
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric

What Is a Vegetable Bouillon?

Vegetable bouillon is a highly concentrated broth; in other words, it’s a stock that was seasoned and then concentrated. Having bouillon on hand simplifies making a soup, stew, chili or even a broth. Bouillon can be found in your local grocery store in either a cube, powder or paste. 

What Vegetables to Use to Make a Stock

There are so many delicious veggies!  Mirepoix (Meer-PWAH) is the French term for a flavor base made from vegetables. Traditionally, the vegetables used are onions, carrots and celery used at a 2:1:1 ratio.  These vegetables create a neutral and savory-flavored stock. 

However, for those of you that like to experiment, the following vegetables are excellent in stocks. Just a fair warning, not all veggies are neutral-flavored and will limit what finished dishes your stock can make.  For example, garlic and tomatoes are strong-flavored so those might make an excellent stock if you’re preparing Italian cuisine.  

  • Asparagus 
  • Basil 
  • Bay Leaves
  • Beet Greens 
  • Bell Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Chard
  • Chives
  • Cucumber
  • Dill
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
  • Green beans
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Kombu
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Marjoram
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Onions (peel and all)
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Parsnips
  • Peas (pods and all)
  • Scallions
  • Shallots
  • Spinach
  • Thyme
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnip greens
  • Zucchini

Quick Tip:

Keep a quart-sized bag in your freezer. Anytime you cut up vegetables, throw in the peels, ends and unusable stems in the bag. They are perfect ingredients for making your stock.  

Vegetables to Avoid When Making A Stock

There are a few things that can go wrong when making a stock.  The flavor can be too strong from overpowering vegetables. The stock could become cloudy or leave your mouth with a gritty feeling from vegetables that are high in starch. The stock could also become overly bitter, ruining any final dish you try to make with it. To ensure these issues don’t happen, here’s a complete list of vegetables to avoid when making stock.  

  • Beets – overpowering and will color the stock purple
  • Bok Choy – bitter 
  • Broccoli – bitter 
  • Cabbage – bitter
  • Cilantro – overpowering
  • Collard Greens – bitter 
  • Corn – starchy
  • Kale – bitter
  • Kohlrabi – bitter
  • Peppers (hot) – overpowering
  • Potato – starchy
  • Pumpkin – starchy
  • Radish – overpowering 
  • Rutabagas – bitter
  • Squash – starchy
  • Sweet Potato – starchy
  • Turnips – overpowering

How Long Do Stock, Base and Broth Last?

Once a vegetable stock, base or broth is made, it will last between 5 to 7 days in the refrigerator. If you don’t want to use it immediately, you can freeze it, so it’s on hand whenever you need it. One fun trick is to use an ice cube tray to freeze it into little squares. This way, anytime you want a dash of vegetable flavor, it’s as easy as melting an ice cube. 

How to Use Stock, Base and Broth

Anytime a recipe calls for water, you can use vegetable stock instead. It adds a savory note to rice, quinoa, beans, soups, chilis, casseroles and more.

Whenever a recipe needs a little something extra, but adding too much liquid would ruin it, add a vegetable base to enhance the flavor. Add vegetable base to pasta, noodles, stuffed mushrooms, bean dip and other items.

Broth can be consumed on its own or used to make delicious soups such as roasted tomato, butternut squash or minestrone. 

Where To Buy Vegetable Stock, Base, Broth and Bouillon

Compared to protein-based stocks, plant-based stocks take significantly less time to make in-house, usually 1 to 2 hours versus 4 to 8 hours for a protein-based version. However, that’s still a long time, and sometimes that’s time you don’t have; or if you need a lot of stock, like a restaurant, consistency is a concern. 

Here are a few options for buying stocks, bases, broths and bouillons.  Home chefs can purchase these items at their local grocery store. Just head to the soup aisle, and you will find everything you need. Our favorite brand is Better Than Bouillon®.

Food-industry companies, such as meal-kit manufacturers, restaurants, industrial-manufacturers and casinos, can buy vegetable flavor bases directly from flavor specialists like us, Summit Hill Foods, or through their favorite distributor or DOT Foods.   

Custom Vegetable Bases for Foodservice

What sets Summit Hill Foods apart from other flavor companies is the ability to work with chefs, food scientists and regulatory specialists to create customized base flavors. We have two development kitchen locations: one in Salt Lake City, Utah, and one in Rome, Georgia.  

Our research and development teams can take your existing recipe and get it ready for large-scale production. They can also work with you to create new recipes per your application needs. Say you’re interested in a fresh ginger kombu ramen soup for a grocery meal-kit or a vegan mac and cheese sauce for your restaurant–we can help you out. We can host a virtual development session and even a virtual tasting, making the best use of today’s technology. And of course, we host customers with in-person, on-the-bench development sessions too. We’ll work together to create just the right flavor, texture and consistency for your ingredient, and we have the ability to make it in our test kitchen just like you would make it in your restaurant or manufacturing facility. Once your ingredient is just the way you want it, we can scale it up for manufacturing in the right-size batches to meet your needs. We invite you to contact us to talk about your next great flavor need.

The Art of Preparing Demi-Glace

Demi-glace has to be one of the most delicious sauces experienced. In this article, learn how to make it, its history, health information and more.

Demi-glace, pronounced (de-mE-gloss), is as precious as gold in the culinary community. It’s loved for its rich meaty taste and usefulness for many dishes.  

The traditional method of making demi-glace is a long process and is usually only made by high-end restaurants, culinary experts and the daring home chef.

How to Prepare Demi-Glace

Demi-glace is made by combining beef stock, brown stock (called espagnole sauce) and a bundle of herbs (called bouquet garni). Simmer everything until it has been reduced by half, strain and refrigerate. Once cooled, it has a dark brown color and a jelly-like consistency. When you’re ready to use it, warm it up and it will melt and give a delicious beefy flavor. 

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 2 cups espagnole sauce
  • 1 bouquet garni

Directions

  1. Combine the beef stock, espagnole sauce and the bouquet garni and simmer until you’ve reached a syrup-like consistency. Refrigerate overnight, if done correctly. 

The final result will be a delicious dark sauce, and after it’s chilled, it will have the consistency of gelatin. Just pull some out to use as a base for other sauces or use alone on meats or to garnish other dishes. 

Don’t have the above ingredients? Not a problem, below learn how to make beef stock, espagnole sauce and the bouquet garni from scratch.

How to Make Beef Stock

Beef stock is a base ingredient for a wide range of sauces, gravies, soups and so much more. It is made by combining mirepoix (carrots, celery and onions), veal and beef marrow bones, deglazed beef bits (fond) and water.  The ingredients are then simmered for 8 to 48 hours.

Ingredients

  • 4 lb. veal bones
  • 4 qt. cool water
  • Mirepoix
    • ½ cup onions
    • ¼ cup carrots
    • ¼ cup celery
  • Fond (bits left on the pan after roasting)
  • 1 oz. tomato paste
  • Bouquet garni 
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 bundle parsley
    • 1 bundle thyme
  • 2 oz. red wine or sherry

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Put the bones in the oven for 1 hour.
  3. Coat the mirepoix with tomato paste.
  4. Add the mirepoix to the oven for 30 minutes.
  5. Add the bones and mirepoix to a pot of simmering water.
  6. Deglaze the roasting pan with sherry or red wine (scrape everything out and add it to the simmering water).
  7. Continue to simmer for a minimum of 8 hours. 
  8. Strain and you’re done! 

How to Make Espagnole Sauce

Espagnole sauce is considered one of the five mother sauces in French cuisine. To prepare espagnole sauce, you will need beef stock, mirepoix (carrots, celery, and onions), roux and spices. The ingredients are simmered until the liquid has been reduced by half, usually 1 to 2 hours.

Ingredients

  • 2 qt. beef stock
  • Mirepoix
    • ½ cup onions
    • ¼ cup carrots
    • ¼ cup celery
  • Roux
    • 2 tbsp. butter
    • 2 tbsp. flour
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Begin simmering the beef stock.
  2. Add the mirepoix.
  3. Make the roux.
    1. In a separate pan, melt the butter on low heat.
    2. Once the butter is melted and starts to bubble, add the flour and stir until it browns.
  4. Add the roux to the beef stock.
  5. Continue to simmer for 1 to 2 hours.
  6. Strain.

How to Make a Bouquet Garni

Bouquet garni is a bundle of fresh herbs (thyme, bay leaf, parsley, basil, rosemary, savory and tarragon) tied together with a string.

Get fresh herbs, wash them and tie them together with kitchen twine.

The History of Demi-Glace 

Demi-glace was developed/perfected around the 19th century by the French Chef Marie Antoine-Carême. If you know much about French cuisine, then you might understand their obsession with butter and sauces.  Marie Antoine-Carême was a celebrity chef in his day, kind of like Gordon Ramsey is today.

The 19th century has the first written account of demi-glace. However, bone broth or brown stock has been part of our diet since our ancestors discovered fire. They would use every part of an animal and soon found that heat broke down the bones, making it easier to access all of the nutrients inside.

To make this recipe is no small feat. To make it from scratch takes between 24 to 48 hours of preparation and cooking time.  

Deep Dive into Demi-Glace Ingredients

Knowing the culinary science behind demi-glace ingredients makes it easier to substitute. The reason veal bones are used is because of the high concentration of collagen. Chicken bones are also very high in collagen, therefore, some chefs will use a mixture of beef and chicken bones rather than veal.

When making brown stock, don’t skip baking the bones or adding tomato paste to the mirepoix. Heat opens up the pores of the bones and allows more nutrients out. Tomato paste is an acid and simmering will also assist pulling out collagen, aminos and minerals. The tomato paste could be substituted with a vinegar, citus or another type of acid.        

Health Benefits of Demi-Glace

In my research, not much was written about the health benefits of demi-glace. However, demi-glace is at its core a highly concentrated bone broth.  

Maybe you’ve heard the recent studies about bone broth? If not, let’s go over why nutritionists are so excited about it. Bone broth is full of nutrients such as minerals, collagen and gelatin. (Gelatin being one reason for demi-glace’s consistency.) Interested in reading more? Then check out this article from Medical News Today. Or this article from Medical Daily.

Nutrients in bone broth:

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Collagen
  • Gelatin
  • Iron
  • Selenium
  • Manganese
  • Zinc
  • Amino Acids

Studies show bone broth is good for your health:

  • Strengthens bones and joints
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Heals the gut
  • Aides in sleep
  • Supports weight loss
  • Boosts immunity
  • Improves hydration
  • Great for skin, hair and nails

Summit Hill Foods Demi-Glace  

It’s a lot of work and time consuming, but worth it! However, there is an  easy solution which is to buy premade demi-glace. The super simple solution of letting someone else prepare it saves time and labor costs.  Here at Summit Hill Foods, our experts have been making demi-glace for years. Summit Hill Foods caters to restaurants, industrial manufacturers and food industry experts around the nation. 

The Ultimate Guide To Chicken Base

Learn what chicken base is, how it differs from other types of chicken flavorings like stock, broth, bouillon and salt, how to use it to impart maximum flavor in a variety of dishes and more.

The Ultimate Guide To Chicken Base

Time to discuss chicken base (a.k.a chicken soup base). We call this The Ultimate Guide to Chicken Base because we took all of your questions and had our chefs, food scientists and culinary experts answer them. We’ll go over the differences of chicken base, stock, broth, bouillon and salt, as well as how to make, use and substitute them. We’ll also touch on other things such as their history and provide delicious recipe ideas and more. Let’s start with your questions.

Feel free to skip around with the links below.

Table Of Contents

The Differences Between Chicken Base, Stock, Broth, Bouillon and Salt

It can be confusing when a recipe calls for a chicken base, stock, broth, bouillon or salt. After all, these different chicken flavoring options can look alike, and have similar ingredients. To fully understand the subtle differences, let’s look at each one in-depth.

What Is Chicken Base?

Most of us are familiar with chicken stock, broth and bouillon, but have you heard of chicken base? If not, here’s a simple explanation. Chicken base is a concentrated stock. It has a syrup-like to paste-like consistency and golden brown color. Chicken base has a rich flavor ideal for making  casseroles, appetizers, gravies and mouth-watering sauces. Chicken base is used when you want to add chicken flavor, but you don’t want all the liquid of a chicken stock. However, chicken base is made with chicken stock—a base is a stock that has been reduced by half through slow-simmering and evaporating the liquid on the stovetop. Once you reach a syrup-like or paste consistency, you have a chicken base.

What Is Chicken Stock?

Chicken stock is made by combining chicken bones and mirepoix vegetables (onions, celery, carrots, leeks and herbs) in a large pot with water. It is then slow-simmered for 4 to 6 hours. Next, everything is strained out, and the remaining liquid is chicken stock. Minimal to no seasoning is added to stocks. While cooking, the bones release gelatin, minerals and other nutrients. It’s the gelatin and minerals that give the stock a full-mouth feel and a delicious flavor. It has a yellowish color and a water-like consistency. Chicken stock is an ingredient used when making recipes such as soups, stews and chilis.  

What Is Chicken Broth?

Some say chicken broths and chicken stocks are the same thing, but they are definitely different. A broth uses chicken meat (bones can also be used) and stock recipes rarely use meat. The other key difference is broths are seasoned, whereas stocks are not. Because of this, broths may be consumed as is, as well as used as an ingredient. A stock is only considered an ingredient. It takes 4 to 6 hours of simmering time to create a stock, but because meat is more flavorful, broths only require 1 hour. When a recipe calls for chicken broth or stock, you can use either. Just know, a broth is already well seasoned.

What Is Chicken Bouillon?

Bouillon is French for broth. Therefore, chicken bouillon is just another name for chicken broth.  However, bouillon is also a term used for a broth that has been condensed and is available as cubes, granules, powders, pastes or liquids. Chefs and food lovers alike use bouillon to add flavor to soups, stews, gravies and sauces. Our favorite brand is of course Better Than Bouillon®. You can probably understand why we’re just a bit partial!

What Is Chicken Salt?

Chicken salt is entirely different from a base, stock, broth or bouillon. However, because of the name, it might be confused with everything else, so let’s talk about it.

There are two versions of chicken salt, one is made with real chicken and the other is a vegetarian option. Chicken salt is a seasoning that includes onion, garlic, paprika, celery salt and curry powder. If you’re ever in Australia, be sure to ask for it with your fries (hot chips).

Let’s Summarize All Of The Chicken Options

Hopefully, you now better understand the subtle differences between all of these options. Chicken stock is an ingredient used to create many chicken flavored dishes. It’s also used to create chicken base. Chicken base is a highly concentrated chicken stock. Chicken broth is seasoned and consumed alone, but also used as an ingredient. Chicken bouillon is a highly concentrated chicken broth. And chicken salt is a versatile seasoning option.

How Is Chicken Base Used?

Chicken base is a great way to add chicken flavor to any recipe.

Chef and food scientist Maryanne Jones says she uses it in soups, stews, gravies and sauces. Maryanne also uses it as a marinade, a dry rub, in mashed potatoes and in cooking her pasta. She’ll even take a chicken base, add water and turn it into chicken stock.

Chef and food scientist Maryanne Jones

How Restaurants Use Chicken Base

Many restaurants and prepared meal kit companies use commercially produced chicken base as a speed-scratch flavor solution. In other words, chicken base saves time and labor costs. Many times, these cost savings are shared with customers, keeping the restaurants and meal kit companies competitive in their market.

Restaurants take a chicken base, mix it with fresh ingredients, and in just a few minutes, have a delicious dish ready to serve. Preprepared chicken base provides a consistent flavor and texture, giving the guest the same great experience every time.

How To Make Chicken Base

At Summit Hill Foods, making chicken flavorings, especially bases, is our specialty. And we can produce these products on an enormous scale, anywhere from 1,000 to 100,000+ pounds at a time. We cater to the foodservice industry, serving restaurants, industrial manufacturers, prepared meal kit companies and others.

You can, however, find our retail brand in grocery stores too. Look for the name, Better Than Bouillon®. Below is a delicious recipe you can easily make at home. It takes a few hours, but you’ll love the results. However, if you don’t have time to make it yourself, we think you’ll like our mouthwatering chicken base flavors, available in your favorite grocery store nationwide.  

Homemade Chicken Base

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. raw chicken bones (wings and joint bones give the best result)
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and quartered
  • Parsley, 1 bunch

Instructions:

  1. Place the chicken bones on a baking pan and place in the oven at 350oF for 1 hour. 
  2. In a large pot, add the chicken bones, making sure to scrape any juices off the baking pan and add that in too.
  3. Add the vegetables to the pot and cover with water.
  4. Bring the pot to a simmer, do not allow it to boil.
  5. Simmer for 4 to 6 hours.
  6. Strain the stock, removing bones and vegetables.
  7. Continue to simmer the leftover liquid until it has been reduced to half.
  8. Once the stock has been reduced to half, you have a chicken base.

Bonus tip: For an extra meaty flavor, add chicken meat about 30 minutes before the stock is ready to strain. The meat, once strained out, can then be used for another dish.

What Soups Use A Chicken Base?

Using a chicken soup base is very popular. Below are just a few soups that come to mind that use a chicken soup base (some of these soups could also use a mirepoix or vegetable base). 

  • Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Chicken Alfredo Tortellini Soup
  • Creamy Tortellini Soup
  • Pasta e Fagioli Soup
  • Chicken Avocado Lime Soup
  • Lentil Soup
  • Chicken Tortilla Soup
  • Lemon Chicken Soup
  • Minestrone
  • Squash and Zucchini Sou
  • Creamy Chicken Soup
  • Split Pea Soup
  • Coconut Chicken Soup
  • Onion Soup
  • Cabbage Soup
  • Vegetable Soup
  • Potato Soup
  • Egg Drop Soup
  • Cream of Celery Soup
  • Lemon Rice Soup
  • Chicken Base Recipes
  • Homemade Chicken Base Recipe
  • Delicious Chicken Gravy Recipe
  • Creamy Parmesan Mushroom Chicken with Orzo

Health Questions

Chicken broths, for decades, have been used as a comfort for the common cold. Chicken base is very healthy, with a high concentration of collagen, gelatin and minerals extracted from the bones used to make it. Bone broths are a vital part of the keto and paleo diets for that very reason.   

At Summit Hill Foods, we produce flavor bases, and we listen to our customer’s manufacturing needs. Our customers, more and more, are asking for clean-label products such as organic, Non-GMO, gluten-free, Kosher, Halal, and MSG-free. We have a team of skilled chefs, food scientists and regulatory experts that ensure we produce high-quality products that meet and exceed our customer’s health stipulations.      

Does Chicken Base Have MSG? 

It depends; there are food manufacturers that make it with or without MSG. Make sure to check the label. If you or your guests are sensitive to it, here are a few different names that MSG goes by on an ingredient list:

  • MSG Monohydrate
  • Monosodium Glutamate
  • Monosodium L-glutamate Monohydrate
  • Sodium Glutamate Monohydrate
  • Monosodium Salt
  • Monohydrate
  • Hydrolyzed Protein
  • Autolyzed Yeast

Is Chicken Base Gluten-free?

Again, it depends on the manufacturer; some companies do add wheat or other grain-based ingredients to thicken their products. Make sure to check the label. There are apps you can download that will quickly check ingredients for any hidden glutens. Check out the Shopwell App

Is Chicken Base Vegetarian?

No, a traditionally made chicken base is not vegetarian. However, there is a solution; many manufacturers produce vegetarian and vegan options. In fact, Summit Hill Foods produces a vegetarian variety.

Substitutions

Chicken bouillon, chicken stock or chicken broth are all great substitutes for chicken base. Let’s look at each one and the small changes you’ll want to make to use it as a substitute.

Our preference is to use a base as much as possible, as it gives a rich chicken flavor and has a lot of densely packed nutrition. However, you are the master of your kitchen, so play around with each one to see which one you prefer.

Chicken Bouillon as a Substitute

In general, when using chicken bouillon, use one cube or 1 teaspoon per cup of water. Depending on the company that makes your bouillon, it might have more or less salt and seasonings. Read the label, follow the directions and season to taste.

Chicken Broth as a Substitute

When a recipe calls for chicken stock or base, and you want to substitute with a chicken broth, remember a broth is already seasoned. Therefore, reduce the amount of salt and seasonings to ensure you’re not over seasoning.

Chicken Stock as a Substitute

Chicken stock can be a substitute for a chicken base; however, a stock is a watered-down version of a base. Therefore, use twice the amount of chicken stock, and before you add it to a recipe, simmer it down to half the amount, what’s left will be a base.

Chicken Soup Base as a Substitute

When utilizing a chicken soup base as a substitute for chicken stock, use a ratio of 1:1 of chicken soup base and water.

Can you use Chicken Salt for a Soup Base?

Yes, you can use chicken salt and water to make a soup. However, know it’s more of seasoning rather than a traditional soup base, and generally won’t provide the full-mouth feel of chicken stock or chicken base.

The History of Chicken Base and Stock

Early humans began making bone stocks soon after they figured out that fire made it easier to extract nutrients from bones. Back then, nothing was wasted. Food historians say that stocks, broths and soups were one of the first foods early humans began preparing. In medieval times, a pot was hung over the fire and kept simmering over the fire. Bones, leftover meat and vegetables were added continuously, effectively making an endless supply of stock.

The French took this to a whole new level in the 17th century when they began documenting and perfecting bases, stocks, demi-glace, broths and bouillons. Fast forward to the 1930s, when bases, broths and bouillon cubes first became commercially available.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Chicken Base Powder and Granules?

Powder and granules are commercially produced forms of chicken base. Both types are in your local grocery store, typically in the soup aisle. Both can be produced commercially for your manufacturing facility, restaurant or prepared meal kit company.

Where Can I Buy Chicken Base?

You can buy it at your local grocery store and many online retailers. You can also buy it direct from our Summit Hill Foods website, www.shfoods.com.

Where Do I Find Chicken Base in the Grocery Store?

It can generally be found on the soup aisle of any grocery store, next to the stocks, broths and bouillon. Some stores also have organic and gluten-free options in their healthy foods section as well.

Does Chicken Base Need to Be Refrigerated?

Chicken base does expire. A homemade base needs to be refrigerated immediately, and used or frozen within 3 to 4 days. A commercially prepared base is generally vacuum-sealed and will stay fresh longer.  Some products are shelf stable, while others need to be refrigerated. Make sure to check the label for the care instructions and expiration date. 

How Much Chicken Base Per Cup of Water?

Read the directions on your specific product; to make a soup you generally use 1 teaspoon per 1 cup of water.

Can I Mix Chicken Base Powder with Milk?

Yes, use 1 teaspoon of product per 1 cup of milk for creamy chicken soup. 

How Can I Use Chicken Base with Rice?

Use 1 teaspoon of base per 2 cups of rice, with the amount of water indicated on the package.

Can I Add Chicken Base Powder to a Cooked Soup?

Yes, use it to enhance the flavor of already prepared soups. Because prepared soups will be preseasoned, start with a small amount, and keep adding until you’ve reached your desired flavor.   

Can I Make Chicken Gravy with Chicken Base?

Yes, you can make gravy with chicken base by adding water and seasoning, and then thickening it with arrowroot or cornstarch. Simply add 1 teaspoon of base to 1 cup of water and mix in cornstarch to thicken your gravy. Stir while heating to desired consistency, and serve.

Summit Hill Foods Products

We love our flavor bases, and we have a lot to choose from. We work with the foodservice industry, including restaurants, industrial manufacturers, prepared meal-kit companies and casinos. If you’re in the food-industry, we’d love to discuss chicken flavor or any of our other flavor bases with you.  Here’s a list of our chicken base products. Check out our product catalog.   

  • Natural Chicken Base
  • Chicken Base (Type MC)
  • Roasted European Chicken Base
  • Viande Premier Chicken Base
  • Chicken Broth Concentrate
  • Chicken Base
  • Roasted Chicken Base
  • Chicken Base – Reduced Sodium
  • Asian Chicken Powder – No MSG
  • Chicken Pho Broth Concentrate
  • Organic Chicken Broth
  • Powdered Halal Chicken Base
  • Powdered Chicken Flavor Base
  • Vegetarian Chicken Flavored Powder
  • Clarified Chicken Stock Concentrate
  • Clarified Chicken Stock
  • Chicken Flavor Concentrate – Halal
  • Chicken Stock Concentrate
  • Five Star Chicken Base
  • Five Star Chicken Base – No MSG
  • Five Star Chicken Base – Low Sodium
  • No Chicken Vegetarian Base

Customize Your Chicken Base Flavor 

Are you looking to develop your own custom flavor base? Our Summit Hill Foods Development team has a Culinary Design Studio, Innovation Center, USDA Certified Pilot Plant, and a brilliant R&D team here to serve you. To get started, give us a call at 801-326-8492, extension 224. 

Everything You’d Want To Know About Beef Base

Here’s everything you’d want to know about beef flavorings, such as beef base. Learn how to use them, make them, buy them, substitute them and more.

Here at Summit Hill Foods (parent company to Better Than Bouillon®), we know and love our beef flavorings. Learn the difference between stock, broth, consommé, beef base and bouillon. Discover how to make beef flavorings from scratch, how to use them in recipes, how to substitute for other ingredients and so much more.  

By the time you’re done reading this, you’ll be confident using beef flavorings and love them just as much as we do.

Below, for your convenience, is a table of contents; skip around if needed.

Table of Contents

The Difference Between Beef Stock, Broth, Consommé, Base and Bouillon 

There are many different forms of beef flavorings, and the ingredients and preparation methods are very similar. Which can be confusing. Hopefully, this article will help clarify the differences.  

The beef flavorings we are discussing today all use bovine as the main ingredient. Beef bones or meat (or both), mirepoix vegetables and water are then slowly simmered. The length of time these ingredients simmer and the presence (or not) of seasoning will determine if your end product is a stock, broth, beef base or bouillon.

Let’s look at how to make each type of beef flavoring, how the ingredients differ, what each one looks like, the thickness and most important, the taste.

What Is Beef Stock?

Beef stock is the foundation for many other flavorings such as beef base, consommé and broth.  It is also essential for creating savory, beef dishes including soups, chilies, gravies and delicious sauces like demi-glace.  Beef stock is a thin, cloudy, light brown liquid with a mild beef flavor.

The ingredients used to make beef stock are veal bones, mirepoix vegetables and water. There are minimal to no seasonings. The reason is that beef stock is an ingredient rather than a final creation.

How to Make Beef Stock

Grab your ingredients: veal bones, mirepoix vegetables (onions, celery, carrots, leeks and herbs) and water. Begin by preparing the bones by baking them in the oven for an hour; this opens up the bones and maximizes the final flavor results. Next, place the bones, veggies and water in a large pot. Simmer for a minimum of 8 hours to a maximum of 48 hours.  While simmering, the bones release gelatin, nutrients and flavor into the water. Once simmering has finished, strain everything out; the leftover liquid is beef stock.

What Is Beef Base?

Beef base (a.k.a Beef Soup Base) is a highly concentrated stock. Place beef stock on the stovetop and simmer until the liquid begins to evaporate and is reduced by half (usually 2 to 3 hours.) It will become a syrup-like to a paste-like consistency with a darker brown color and rich beef flavor. Beef base, just like a stock, is considered an ingredient. Use a base when you don’t want as much liquid, but you still want the flavor, in dishes such as stuffing, pasta and casseroles. 

What Is Beef Consommé? 

A consomme is a clarified or “clean” stock. Beef stock is often cloudy and not very attractive. Chefs use an egg white method to float particulates to the top, and then skim and strain them away. This process removes the cloudiness, and the result is a beautiful, clear liquid called consommé. 

There are two different methods to do this. The simplest is to use egg whites, crushed eggshells and lemon juice. Add these to a pot of beef stock, and simmer until you see what’s called an “egg raft” form. It looks like frothy bubbles that form on the surface. Once the egg raft begins to brown, it’s ready to skim and strain. 

Another clarifying method calls for mirepoix vegetables, pureéd veal meat and seasonings, in addition to the egg whites and eggshells. This recipe further infuses flavor. Like the first method, an egg raft will form, and once it browns, strain it. 

What Is Beef Broth?

A beef broth is delicious to consume on its own and can be used as an ingredient. It is made from veal bones, meat or both, mirepoix vegetables (onions, celery, carrots, leeks and herbs) and seasonings. The simmering time is about an hour.   

To make a broth, place all of the ingredients (bones, meat, vegetables and herbs) in a pot and simmer for an hour. Beef broth has a much shorter simmering time than a stock, beef base, consommé or bouillon. After simmering, simply strain and season to taste. 

What Is Beef Bouillon?

Bouillon is the French word for “a savory liquid in which something has been boiled.” In other words, a broth. It’s also a term synonymous with a highly concentrated broth seasoning. Bouillon comes as a paste, cube or powder. If you’re looking for a grocery store option, we suggest Better Than Bouillon®. (Of course, we’re a little partial). But consumers have made it their top choice too, so we must be on to something! To make bouillon, start with beef broth, place the liquid back on the stovetop, and simmer until the liquid begins to evaporate and is reduced.  Use a bouillon when you’d like the beef flavor and the seasoning, without all of the liquid.

A base is a concentrated stock, and bouillon is a concentrated broth.

What is Beef Bone Broth?  

Have you heard the news about how healthy drinking bone broth is for you? It’s full of collagen and nutrients, and it’s all the rage. So what exactly is it? Well, if you read the above sections about stocks and broths, you’ll come to realize that bone broth is a bone stock that was made from bones and simmered for a minimum of 8 hours. Bone broth is also seasoned to make it palatable as a stand-alone drink. 

Substitutions

What If You Don’t Have Beef Base? Here’s How to Substitute.

It happens, we’re in the middle of a recipe, and we realize we don’t have all of the ingredients, such as a beef base. Here are a few solutions.  

Substituting Beef Stock for Beef Base

Look at the recipe; does it call for beef base AND water?  If so, use a beef stock to replace the amount of water and the base if the recipe does not call for extra water. Go ahead and use stock BUT adjust the recipe as necessary as stock has more liquid. Or, if you have an additional 2-3 hours, you can make a beef base by putting the stock on the stove and simmering it until evaporation has reduced it to half.

Can I Make a Base Using Beef Broth?

Traditionally, a base is made from stock rather than a broth.  A broth is simmered for a shorter time and therefore does not contain gelatin, which creates a richer mouthfeel. Also, a broth has already been seasoned to taste. An attempt to make a base from a broth could result in a base that is over seasoned. With all of that said, great chefs experiment!    

Using Beef Broth Instead of Beef Base

Beef base is not seasoned, but broth is. When substituting a broth for a base, season it to taste rather than following the recipe’s seasoning amounts to avoid over seasoning.

Making Beef Broth from Beef Soup Base?

To turn a beef soup base into a delicious beef broth, warm it up on the stove and add water (optional) and seasonings to taste. 

Substituting Beef Bouillon for Beef Base?

A beef bouillon generally refers to a concentrated broth that has already been seasoned. Therefore, if you’re substituting bouillon for a base, you won’t have to add as much additional seasoning, or possibly any.

Using Beef Base for Stock

A base is a concentrated stock. Therefore, all you need to do is use equal parts of base and water to turn it into a stock. 

Can I Use Beef Broth as a Base For Soup?

Yes, broths, stocks, bases and consommés can all be used as ingredients in soups, stews, gravies, sauces, marinades, mashed potatoes, rice or anything that would benefit from beef flavor.

How Are Beef Consommé and Beef Base Similar? 

Both consommés and bases are made using beef stock. The consommé is clarified using egg whites (see above), resulting in a beautiful clear liquid.  The beef base is a concentrated stock resulting in a dark brown, syrup-like consistency. 

How Many Bouillon Cubes Do I Use to Make Beef Broth?

One cube will make 8 ounces of broth. A cube is equal to 1 tablespoon of bouillon powder. Bouillon cubes, powders and pastes are not the best substitutes for recipes calling for a stock or a base, so use carefully as they may over-season the final dish.

What Can I Use Instead of Beef Base?

What it all boils down to… (I’ll let that simmer for a minute!). . .when in a pinch, use a stock, a consommé or a broth to substitute for a beef base.    

How Is Beef Base Used in Recipes?

The possibilities are endless! You can use a beef base in anything in which you’d like to add a rich beef flavor.  Use it in soups, stews, pho, dipping sauces, marinades, glazes, gravies, fajitas, mashed potatoes, rice, quinoa, pot roast, pasta and so much more.  Try it in one of these delicious recipes: 

Recipes Using Beef Base

Health Questions

Is Beef Base Gluten-free?

Beef base is naturally gluten-free. However, commercially produced products may (or may not) have added gluten ingredients to thicken them. Look for products that are certified gluten-free. If the product doesn’t specify, read the ingredient list and look for the following items to indicate gluten.

  • Triticum vulgare 
  • Triticale 
  • Hordeum vulgare
  • Secale cereale
  • Triticum spelta
  • Wheat protein/hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Wheat starch/hydrolyzed wheat starch
  • Wheat flour/bread flour/bleached flour
  • Bulgur
  • Malt
  • Couscous
  • Farina
  • Wheat germ oil or extract

The following ingredients may or may not indicate gluten. It depends on what grain or vegetable was used to create it. Exercise caution if you see them:

  • Vegetable protein/hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Modified starch/modified food starch
  • Natural flavor/natural flavoring
  • Artificial flavor/artificial flavoring
  • Modified food starch
  • Hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP)
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
  • Seasonings
  • Flavorings
  • Vegetable starch
  • Dextrin and maltodextrin

Nutrition, Calories and Protein

The nutrition facts differ from homemade vs. store-bought products and even from company to company.  The best way to know for sure is to check the Nutrition Fact label. Here are the nutrition facts for 8 ounces of homemade beef base and 1 teaspoon of Better Than Bouillon® beef base (makes 8 ounces of broth when diluted with water).  

Homemade Beef Base Nutrition

  • Serving Size 8oz 
  • Calories 69.2
  • Total Fat 4g
  • Saturated Fat 1.7g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 0g
  • Cholesterol 18.1mg
  • Sodium 232.8mg
  • Potassium 10.4mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 0.8g
  • Dietary Fiber 0.1g
  • Sugars 0g
  • Protein 6.4g

Better Than Bouillon® Beef Base Nutrition 

  • Serving Size 1 tsp. (makes 8 oz of beef base)
  • Calories 10
  • Total Fat 0g
  • Saturated Fat 0g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 0g
  • Cholesterol 18.1mg
  • Sodium 510mg
  • Potassium 10.4mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 1g
  • Dietary Fiber 0g
  • Sugars 1g
  • Protein 1g

Frequently Asked Questions

We get a lot of questions about flavor bases. Below are many of the questions we’ve had about beef base. 

How Much Beef Base Do I Use?  

Read the label as each company may be a little different. However, most base companies use 1 teaspoon of product per 8 ounces of water.  

Where Can I Buy Beef Base?

You can buy a beef base at most grocery stores. Go to the soup section and start looking for rectangular boxes containing a liquid; these are the stocks. Next to the stocks, look for small jars that look similar to baby food jars; these are usually the bases and bouillon. Here is what Better than Bouillon® looks like.

Does Beef Base Expire?

Yes, beef base can expire. A homemade base needs to be refrigerated or frozen within 3 to 4 days of making it. Store-bought bases are generally vacuum sealed and stay fresh longer. Still, they will need to be refrigerated after opening; make sure to check the label for the care instructions and expiration date. Canned or jarred bases are shelf-stable and will last 1 to 2 years unopened. However, once opened, some will only last 4 to 5 days, and others will be good for a year or two. Again, check the label for the instructions.      

Can I Use Beef Base After the Expiration?

We wouldn’t recommend it. Manufacturers add an expiration to their labels for a reason. Through testing, they’ve determined the optimum amount of time a product will last. In some cases, the product just might not taste as good outside the expiration date, or it could mean the product could cause illness if consumed after the date. In the end, use your discretion, but it’s wise to follow the motto, “If in doubt, throw it out!” 

Summit Hill Foods Beef Flavoring Products

We produce several types of beef bases and more for restaurants, industrial manufacturers, prepared meals and kits, casinos and others in the foodservice industry.  We specialize in custom flavor solutions, based on your company’s unique needs. See if you qualify to receive free product research and development services.  

  • Beef Base
  • Roasted European Beef Base
  • Vegetarian Beef Flavor Base – Halal Certified
  • Viande Premier Beef Base
  • Beef Base Flavor Solution
  • Beef Base – Reduced Sodium
  • Roasted Beef Base
  • Clarified Beef Stock Concentrate
  • Glace de Veau
  • Beef Au Jus
  • Five Star Beef Base
  • Five Star Au Jus

Meal Kits and Take & Bake: Increasing Use During Changing Times

Prepared meals and meal kits have been around awhile but have grown in popularity more recently. The question is: What makes them worth trying?

Today you can’t look at social media or TV without seeing ads for a myriad of meal kit or prepared meal companies. Let’s take a look at the differences in these popular meal solutions and learn what you can expect from both.

Table of Contents

Background

In 2012, the first-ever meal kit services emerged in the United States and quickly grew in popularity. There are two main reasons people love meal kits. First, they’re convenient and you save a lot of time as it eliminates the need to shop for and gather all of the individual ingredients. Also, in most kits, the vegetables come precut. Second, these chef-created recipes are delicious, and there are so many from which to choose!  

Customers receive a box that includes everything needed to make a delicious home-cooked meal. The kits include step-by-step instructions and all the fresh, high-quality ingredients needed—a perfect solution for foodies who value their time and enjoy cooking new and healthy meals for themselves and their families.

Prepared Meals

There are many companies offering subscriptions for completely prepared meals. These meet the needs of an audience that may not love to cook, or don’t have the time during their busy day. This may be the answer for someone on a specific type of diet like the popular keto diet.  There are companies that will count your calories, your macros, your carbs, basically anything related to one of those special diets you may have selected for health reasons, or just to lose weight. Many are marketed as a specific wellness plan, while others are branded for the flavors and freshness they offer. One such company, Freshly, offers a delicious, fresh recipe selection of both meals and bowl options. These companies typically offer a subscription plan, where the customer may choose the number of days of meals, what day they are delivered, and for how many people. All that is required is to receive your box, refrigerate, and then heat and eat when you are ready. Many of the same advantages of meal kits that we discuss below are a significant advantage of prepared meals as well, not to mention the time savings!

Meal Kit Subscriptions

Most of the meal kit companies operate on a subscription model. The menus are rotating and seasonally available, ensuring your taste buds never get bored. However, due to the growing trend, grocery store delis and even online shopping sites like Amazon are beginning to carry meal kits that do not require a subscription.

How Meal Kits Work

A meal kit is more complicated than ordering a pizza but less difficult than finding a recipe and grocery shopping. Once your kit arrives at the doorstep, all you have to do is a little preparation and then cook. Signing up for a service is easy, just go online to your favorite meal kit company, choose which entrées and quantities are right for you, and which day you’d like to have your kit delivered. 

Many people have asked what the difference between prepared meals and meal kits are.  Prepared meals are meals that are ready to eat the moment you receive them. Prepared meals are also available online, via subscription. They can also be found at restaurants, fast food chains and the grab-and-go section at grocery stores. Most of the time, you just heat and eat.  Meal kits, on the other hand, require a little work before consuming.

Prepared Meals and Meal Kits vs. Grocery Store Shopping

First, let’s look at the cost. The cost of buying the exact portioned amounts from a grocery store versus what you’d get in a prepared meal or kit is tough, as many ingredients you buy off the grocery store shelf come packaged in higher quantities than what you’d need to prepare one meal. However, if you break down the cost per the exact amounts, the prepared meal or kit costs usually only a little bit more to have all of the prep work and shopping done for you. 

The time saved, some consider priceless. No more time spent finding that perfect recipe, going to the grocery store and finding all the items on the list, buying more than what you need and then getting to work making it. In prepared meals, all of the work is done for you, saving significant time. In many meal kits, the food ingredients come pre-washed and already cut, saving time as well.  

Meal kits come with a lot of culinary tips not always found in cookbooks. These are tips directly from the meal’s creator, and these are the chef’s special tips to make preparing it easier. This means in addition to a healthy home cooked meal, you’re also getting an education on preparing it.

Included within these meal kits is often “a secret ingredient,” which is, of course, a delicious flavoring. Often this is a sauce packet, a seasoning blend or a special demi glace or gravy that is usually only available from the kit and the chef’s kitchen.

Restaurant Take-and-Bake Menu Options

Papa John’s® was one of the first foodservice companies to recently offer meal kits due to the closures of many foodservice establishments during the 2020 pandemic. Instead of an already cooked, ready-to-eat pizza, they provide customers with an oven-ready pizza kit to bake at home at their leisure. The 2020 temporary closure of inside dining created an opportunity for restaurants to create their own meal kits. Many restaurants are referring to these as take-and-bake. In other words, kits that include ingredients and instructions for the restaurant’s signature dishes. Not only are these take-and-bake meal kits delicious, but also, they’re fun to create at home. It is an opportunity to have a fun experience as well as delicious food together.  

Many popular restaurants such as Olive Garden®, Taco Bell®, Denny’s®, Chick-fil-A®, California Pizza Kitchen®, Boston Market®, Panera®, Cracker Barrel®, Carl’s Jr.®, Hardee’s®, Moe’s® Southwest Grill, Smashburger®, Baskin-Robbins®, Pei-Wei®, Panda Express®, Zaxby’s® and Papa John’s® are just some of the restaurants that have been creative in offering take-and-bake meal kits. 

To know if your favorite restaurant is offering take-and-bake meals, call or check out their online menus.

Are Prepared Meals and Meal Kits Worth Trying?

Prepared meals are fully prepared, and all you have to do is heat and eat. This will save a considerable amount of time, eliminating the planning, shopping, cooking and cleaning required to make a meal. Meal kits can add an element of fun and togetherness. With both prepared meals and kits, the cost is only slightly more than you would pay for the exact amount of ingredients needed from the grocery store. You also save a lot of time, and you’re getting a delicious and often chef-crafted meal with amazing flavors and world-class cooking tips from culinary experts.

What you are avoiding is food going to waste from having more than what is needed for a recipe and trying to find the time to plan healthy meals that fit all of your dietary requirements on your own.

Most prepared meal and kit companies, although they are subscription-based, can be easily canceled or changed with a week or two of notice. So are meal kits worth trying? In our opinion, yes! Try each type out for yourself. 

Here are more details you might want to know:

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Do Meal Kits Stay Fresh?

Meal kits come in a refrigerated bag within a shipping box. Meal kit companies use methods that keep the food fresh for up to 24 hours past the expected delivery date. Once delivered, the ingredients stay fresh in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days, giving you plenty of time to schedule your meal.

Everything will come with expiration dates, just so there’s no question of how long something will last. In general, you’ll want to prepare and consume any seafood or chicken dishes first, followed by any pork or beef, purely based on how long the meats stay fresh. 

Can You Freeze a Meal Kit?

Most meal kit companies send the ingredients fresh, meaning it’s never been frozen—any meats you can use or freeze before the expiration date. However, freezing the vegetables can change the texture and flavor after they’ve been thawed. Vegetables will last for seven days to a few weeks in the refrigerator, depending on the type of vegetable. Here’s a guide on how long veggies will stay fresh.  

What Kinds of Meal Kits Are Available?

The nice thing about meal kit companies is most of them are very health-conscious companies, using high-quality fresh ingredients. Meal options include gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian and low-carb. Just look over the included nutritional facts.

Meal kit companies switch their menus weekly. They offer different meat and vegetable choices, as well as vegetarian and calorie-conscious options. Some even offer low-carb and no-refined-sugar options. Look over their weekly menus, make a selection and place your order. It’s that easy.

Where and How Do You Buy Meal Kits?

Prepared meal and kit companies offer their services via their websites, usually as a subscription service. However, some companies have partnered with grocery stores and now sell their kits in the refrigerated sections. Picking them up at the store directly means no subscription required. To find out more, check out the prepared meal and meal kit companies below: 

Prepared Meals and Bowls:

  • Freshly.com
  • Realeats.com
  • Daily-harvest.com
  • Trifectanutrition.com
  • Bistromd.com
  • Thegoodkitchen.com
  • Magickitchen.com
  • Diettogo.com
  • Snapkitchen.com
  • Factor75.com
  • Splendidspoon.com

Meal Kit Companies

  • Hellofresh.com
  • Greenchef.com
  • Blueapron.com
  • Homechef.com
  • Marleyspoon.com
  • Sunbasket.com
  • Everyplate.com
  • Purplecarrot.com
  • Gobble.com
  • Freshandeasy.com
  • Freshdirect.com
  • Yumblekids.com
  • Veestro.com

Contact Us To Develop Your Next Meal Kit Flavors. 

Summit Hill Foods is a flavor development and manufacturing company. We don’t offer prepared meals or kits ourselves, but what we do is assist prepared meal and kit companies to develop delicious flavors. Chances are, if you’ve ever eaten out, purchased products from a grocery store or purchased a prepared meal or kit, you have probably tasted our flavors. 

If you’re a prepared meal or kit company, or thinking of offering these types of solutions to your customers, we’d love a chance to work with you for all of your flavoring needs.  Here is a link to contact us, please let us know how we can help.

An Explanation of Pork Base

Does your recipe call for a pork base? This article explains what it is, how it’s made and where to buy it.

While most are familiar with stocks and broths, this article explores the basics of bases— specifically pork. We’ll discuss how to use them, how to make them and where to buy them. So let’s start at the beginning:

What Is A Base

The most common stocks, broths and bases in the United States are typically beef or chicken.  However, vegetables, seafood and pork are also frequently used to flavor a delicious finished soup or other dish. A base is a stock that is condensed down to a thick liquid, a paste or even a powder. A base gives food rich flavor.  

Soups are some of the first dishes created by mankind and are still a staple in our diets.  Traditionally, a pot would be filled with vegetables, meats and bones and then slow-cooked for hours and hours. With our busy lifestyles these days, we don’t usually have hours to wait for a soup to simmer and build flavor. Instead, we can use a base to quickly create a flavorful soup in minutes instead of hours.

A base can be used to flavor more than just soups. Our chefs and chefs in some of your favorite restaurants use bases to create things such as pasta, vegetable dishes, meat entrées, secret sauces and more. 

What Is Pork Base Used In?

According to the USDA, pork is the most consumed meat in the world, followed by poultry and then beef. China is the largest consumer of pork, accounting for almost half of the global consumption. With this information, it should come as no surprise that pork base is an essential ingredient in Asian cuisine. Pork base can be used to make:

  • Soups
  • Pho
  • Curries
  • Noodles
  • Dumplings  

In the USA, we use pork base in a variety of recipes.  Here are a few found on the better than bouillion pork base recipe page.

  • Pasta
  • Chili
  • Stuffed mushrooms
  • BLT sandwiches
  • Gumbo
  • Meaty entrees
  • Stuffing
  • Cassoulet
  • Dips 

How Do You Make Pork Base? 

Pork base is made the same way as a beef or chicken base. You first need to make a stock, then season it to create a broth. Once you have a broth, continue to simmer and evaporate the liquid until it has been reduced to a base. A base has the texture and consistency of a thick paste.  

The ingredients to make a stock include mirepoix (a mix of vegetables), an acid such as vinegar and pork bones. The mirepoix is traditionally carrots, celery and onions; however, in China, they also add ginger and sometimes garlic to this mix. The acid could be a tomato paste, citrus juice, wine or apple or rice vinegar.

Many different parts of pork could be used; the goal is to use parts that are full of collagen. The richest areas of collagen in pork are the bones, head, neck, tail and feet. However, when making a pork base at home, leg bones are most commonly used as the other mentioned parts tend to scare people off who are not commonly used to working with the whole pig.

Begin by roasting the bones in the oven at 400°F for an hour. This begins the process of breaking down the bones; this will mean more nutrients will seep out of the bones and into the base while it’s simmering.  

Add all of the ingredients to a pot, and slowly simmer for 6 to 8 hours. During this time, be sure to skim any foam off the top. Don’t skip this process, as foam left unskimmed will make the stock cloudy and not as appealing.

After this time, pull out all the vegetables and pork bones and strain the liquid for any smaller particles. This is what we call a pork stock.  

Go ahead and lightly season the stock to create a broth. Next, put the broth back on the stove and simmer until the broth has been reduced to a thick paste. Once there, you now have a pork base.    

Where To Buy Pork Base

Creating a stock, let alone a base, is a lot of work and very time-consuming. If you don’t have the time to make it, you can buy it. Grocery stores across the country sell pork base; it’s usually found in the same aisle as stocks and soups. Our favorite retail brand is Better Than Bouillon®

The foodservice industry often needs pork base on a larger scale, and that’s where we come in.  We have multiple pork bases from which to choose.

Summit Hill Foods Pork Base Products

  • Smoke House Ham Flavor Base
  • Powder – Halal
  • Ham Base
  • Pork Base
  • Pork Miso Concentrate
  • Ham Base
  • Ham Flavor Base
  • Five Star Pork Base
  • Five Star Ham Base

If our kitchen-ready pork bases are not quite right for your industrial or foodservice needs, we have a team of food scientists, regulatory and culinary experts here to customize a pork base just for you. We can also produce it on a scale to fit your needs, from a little to a lot. For more information, get in touch by messaging us below. 

Flavoring The World With Virtual Development and Tastings

Flavor development has gone virtual. People want new flavors and we have a process that just might be easier than a face-to-face meeting.  Try out our virtual development and tasting sessions to see for yourself.

A Taste of the New Normal

I am sure you are feeling it. The world has changed. The way we customize new foods and flavors and offer product taste tests have too. Back when things were “normal,” we’d invite you and your team into our Culinary Design Studio (our “CDS,” aka development center).  Here you could watch and give feedback while our food scientists worked to develop customized flavors, just for you. We’d also invite you to our Flavor Gallery to sample dishes made using one or more of our most popular product lines. 

Currently, the days of gathering with a face-to-face meeting are few and far between. We understand, and we respect the boundaries of social distancing. Not only are many of our team members working from home, but we’re also interacting with our customers differently.  Hopefully, soon we can once again invite each other into the kitchen.  In the meantime, our world has gone virtual. Fortunately, we have long embraced technology and are here willing and able to work with you for custom flavor development.

Virtual Development Is Nothing New to Us

At Summit Hill Foods, we’ve been conducting virtual food and flavor sessions for a long time, because it’s not always feasible for customers to visit us every time. When we expanded our development center a few years ago, we included technology for video sharing, knowing that our customers may not always be able to bring their entire team to Salt Lake City. We were doing video calls before they were “cool.” And that has let us serve our customers’ needs no matter the physical distance. So many of our customers have commented with accolades like: “It’s as good as being there in person!” and “Your team didn’t miss a beat – these flavors are incredible, especially without us being able to get there in person!” 

Business today has changed with the advancements in technology.   With live-stream video chats, 4K video cameras, email, phone calls, personalized web pages, YouTube and overnight shipping, it’s almost as if there are no limits. Building professional long-term relationships and making food flavorful are things we can do now successfully online. (Yes, we have even heard there are apps in development where you can lick your phone for a taste! Of course, our process is not quite yet that advanced.) However, we do believe that we are light years ahead of where we were just a few years ago. And with just a few simple steps, we are still working hand-in-hand with our customers to develop custom flavors to meet their needs, in a timely manner, and get solutions in their hands quickly. 

Our Virtual Development Process

The process is surprisingly easy, especially when you don’t have to book a flight, hotel or car rental to have a face-to-face conversation.  In fact, we have simplified it to just a few simple steps.

STEP ONE: A Conversation

Let us know what your application and flavor ideas are. We’ll ask questions like what’s the intended finished food item. How much flavor product will you be needing (our low minimums might surprise you). We’ll want to know the flavor profile you have in mind, the color, aroma, texture and any ingredient requirements like Kosher, organic or gluten-free. We’ll ask about storage requirements. The cooking temperatures your ingredient will need to endure. And the list goes on. We explore these questions, so we can understand your needs and share how that will affect things like packaging, production times and pricing to reach the best end result.

STEP TWO: Sample Creation

Based on your flavor ideas and specifications, our team of chefs, food scientists and culinary experts will get together (virtually) to strategize the best way to meet your needs. Ingredients may need to be sourced, our regulations team might need to be consulted, and finally, we will begin to make prototype samples that we think might be the right fit for you.

Our chefs and food scientists start by creating a sample based on the requested flavor profile. This could be a base, sauce, dip, marinade or something else. Flavors, after all, come in many forms. 

Our goal is to get the first sample as close to ideal as possible.  However, taste, texture and consistency are relative, so there is always room for interpretation.

STEP THREE: The Virtual Tasting Session

Once we are satisfied with the sample(s) we have created, we’ll set up a date and time for a video conference to taste them together with you. We’ll overnight samples to you, and we’ll send you a list of instructions on how to make the dishes in your kitchen. Or, we’ll follow your specific instructions and technique on how you’d prefer the dish is prepared. We will be making the exact same dishes in our kitchen, in preparation for the tasting.  

Then… we’ll taste them together via a live-stream video conference.

We will want to know what changes, if any, need to happen to get the flavor just right. Maybe a hint of lime, perhaps a little less ginger or perhaps the color needs a tweak. Is the texture correct? Does the product work for the intended application? This is a rinse-the-palate-and-repeat step until that flavor is perfect and has your approval. Doing this in a virtual development session enables us to make changes on the bench with you “present” and get the finished flavor on its way for final approval. 
Our talented team can perfect a new customized flavor within a few weeks or even days to get customer approval. We’re proud of this fact, as the industry average of developing new flavors is usually months.

STEP FOUR: Testing for Large-Scale Production

Once a new flavor is approved, the next step is to ensure its scalability. Ingredients for a small one- to five-pound batch might act differently on a larger scale. To ensure the integrity of our customer’s product no matter the batch size, we test it in our USDA Certified pilot plant and make adjustments, if needed, to ensure scalability and quality. Following a successful pilot plant run, the item is then ready for full-scale production.

We’re proud of our award-winning GMP manufacturing facilities. We are flexible in packaging sizes and containers as well as production batch sizes.

STEP FIVE: Delivery

We’re partners with DOT Expressway as well as multiple shipping and transport companies to ensure you receive your new products on time and fresh by working with refrigerated or frozen transport carriers.

Now Is the Perfect Time to Launch New Flavors      

Food brings people together, even in today’s environment. Offices are holding virtual lunches, friends use Zoom for dinner and cocktail nights, and families are sitting together for meals with both parents as they may now work from home. Food is emotional, and new flavors bring excitement and satisfaction to life. Now is the perfect time to launch new flavors through virtual development. 

The foodservice industry initially fell on hard times as social distancing rules were set in place. This impacts the industrial manufacturers who serve these restaurants and other foodservice establishments with lower supply orders and lower profits for all of these organizations. As things have begun to open back up, people want prepared meals either through a delivery service, a drive-thru, and in some areas, the actual restaurants. Many people are still opting for home-cooked meals. 

Meal kit companies are growing by delivering the ingredients and directions to consumers to cook “chef-created” meals at home. Their customers are asking for comfort foods, as well as unique flavors.  Ongoing flavor development is a must to meet these needs.   

Industrial manufacturers who serve the frozen foods market are seeing consistent growth as well. They are filling the grocery shelves as fast as they can produce products. Consumers of these end products expect quality and are always interested in trying something new. In addition to grocery, many industrial manufacturers serve national chains of quick-serve and fast-food restaurants, which are preparing to add new menu items as well. Having a great food flavor development partner is critical for successful launch.

People are craving normalcy and good food, making exciting new dishes in demand. Virtual development is currently the best solution to fulfilling this need. The good news is the process is simple, and moving forward, it might even become the preferred method of development.  

Still Business As Usual

Virtual flavor development doesn’t have to be a complicated process.  In fact, we’re confident you’ll be pleasantly surprised how fast and easy the process we’ve set in place truly is.

When you find yourself in a position of needing a new flavor for your restaurant, meal-kit company, industrial manufacturing or other type of foodservice industry company, reach out. We’d love to be your flavor development partner.  Contact us to schedule your virtual session today!