Finding Ingredients

I assumed, because we came from the United States, that everywhere you live and every store you shop in has the same ingredients that you grew up with. Yes, I was naive! But our time in Panama taught me a great deal.

There are some products, like processed  horseradish, that just do not exist in Salinas. Actually I have never seen a horseradish root in Ecuador or Panama. Sour cream is another item that I have not seen in the cooler at SuperMaxi or Mi Comisariato. Anis flavoring is yet another, but they do have anis seeds in abundance so that is what I will use for my Italian Christmas Cookies. You may know from one of my other posts that baking soda is sold in tiny little packets at the pharmacy and is called Bicarbonato de Sodio.  I remember being able to buy what seemed to be a pound box for under a dollar in the states; here this tiny packet of 15 gramos is .45 cents.

With the help of some great folks on the Expat Exchange, I have been able to find two additional ingredients needed for my Christmas cooking and baking: food coloring and plain gelatin.

I love making bread & butter pickles – I’m finding it difficult to locate ground turmeric, mustard seed and celery seed.  A fellow expat at the Thanksgiving feast told me that the turmeric is called polvo amarillo and can be found at the Libertad Mercado. Guess where we are going this weekend?

Thanks for reading about our meanderings.

Expat Exchange can be found at:

2 thoughts on “Finding Ingredients

  1. Hi Nancy,

    You are right – no sour cream in Ecuador but here is a recipe!!

    Homemade Sour Cream

    1 cup heavy cream
    1/4 cup sour cream or buttermilk (or even white vinegar will work)


    In a screw-top jar or mason jar with lid, combine the heavy cream and sour cream (or buttermilk). Shake the ingredients up a bit to thoroughly mix and let stand, covered, at room temperature for about 24 hours or until it becomes very thick. You can store your sour cream in the refrigerator in the original jar you mixed it in (or use some other resealable container) for up to one week. Make sure that your sour cream is well chilled before using.

    If you want to make a lighter sour cream, substitute whole milk for 1/2 cup of the heavy cream.

    Looking for homemade cheese recipes made with easy-to-find ingredients? You can find homemade ricotta and the like in my Easy Cheese Series.

  2. Pingback: Morning Update – Friday, December 3, 2010 « South of Zero

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