There is a new trend in cooking and seasoning that allows you to use ingredients more effectively and it is something so simple I can't believe we all didn't think of it earlier. I suppose it could be argued that the people who make Pam Cooking Spray have been doing it for years, and the idea was expanded upon companies like Wish Bone who brought spray salad dressing to the North American market, but it is only recently that ingredients like oil and vinegar have been marketed in spray containers.
I resisted buying them at first because they were smaller and more expensive, but recently I gave in and bought some spray on olive oil and also some balsamic vinegar. I'm so glad I did. Of course there is the obvious benefit of being able to spray an ingredient like olive oil onto a cooking surface when trying to prevent things from sticking as it covers more thoroughly, but this principle is also true when adding an ingredient you want to incorporate into your recipe.
Using spray on olive oil and balsamic vinegar means I can season ingredients in my recipes more thoroughly using less ingredients. Using less reduces calories, is better for you and of course has an economic benefit too, one that almost offsets the extra cost of the nifty spray containers. One of my favourite recipes to use these sprays in is roasted vegetables - the oil and balsamic coat the vegetables more thoroughly and the vegetables retain a better texture. I also season meat and fish this way, both for cooking in the oven and on the stove top.
I've been researching the market a bit and it seems that many companies are catching on to this idea. You can already buy spray on salts and seasonings in the US and The Southern Bar-B-Que Sauce company markets spray on basters in all sorts of flavours - from Garlic and Herb to their own Cajun blends, although these are not available where I live so I have not been able to try them. I have also been hearing murmurs in the market that a lot more companies are going to be embracing spray containers for their products soon.
It raises the question of whether or not you could actually purchase your own food safe spray containers for reasons of economy, but I have found that unfortunately most easily available spray containers are far too big to have on your kitchen counter, and smaller ones are quite expensive. Also, unless you are using a single ingredient like oil or vinegar there is no guarantee the atomiser piece will actually work without clogging.
In short, I think that spray condiments are worth the extra money and I do encourage you to give them a try in your cooking. I've certainly found them a really useful addition to my kitchen, and I look forward to trying more of them as they come on to the market.
The 21st Century Housewife has not been paid for this post.