Blending Flavors

Successfully blending food flavors is the secret to good cooking. Once you have a basic understanding of how to combine flavors that work well together, you’ll begin to rely less on following recipes to cook successfully. You’ll gain the confidence to experiment with ingredients you’ve never thought would work together, and you’ll begin blending foods that are original, healthy and delicious.

There are many variables to think about when blending flavors: sweetness, acidity, saltiness, nutrition, spiciness, mouth feel and more. When we blend raw foods in a blender, we work with pure flavors; flavors are unaltered by by cooking and processing. Cooking is simply another color on your palette to blend with other colors to achieve balance and harmony.

Main Flavors

No matter what you’re blending, you’ll want to highlight one flavor above all others – the “secret ingredient”. This is your main, or dominant, flavor that all other flavors support. Without a main flavor, a recipe loses focus. When you’re blending a savory tomato smoothie, it should taste, mainly, like tomato.

Enhancing Flavors

The enhancing flavors add complexity. They work together with each other to make the main flavor more interesting and distinct. Where the main flavor is the melody, the enhancing flavors are the harmony – the chords that bring fullness and distinction to the main flavor. Our tomato smoothie has many opportunities for subordinate flavors to shine. Think celery, carrot, radish, basil, oregano, vegetable stock etc. They form the notes in the final chord. More of some, less of others.

Accent Flavors

The accent is small, but strong and assertive – maybe even opposite. It serves to round the main flavor and all it’s supporters. It is the final punch that finishes the experience. Our tomato smoothie begs for spiciness. A Thai pepper serves as our accent.

Problem Solution
Too spicy sweetness or creaminess
Too sweet Add sour, spice or heat
Too sour Add sweet
Too bland Add salt, acidity, spice, or heat
Too overwhelming dilute with main flavor, then build back up with enhancing and accent flavors
Too thin first add more main flavor, then build back up with enhancing and accent flavors

3 Responses to Blending Flavors

  1. Eric Tran says:

    Great article! I am making a card game for a game design class about cooking. This was very helpful for me to understand what types of variables someone would have to control for my game and has given me some ideas!

    Anyways, I have a quick question about the “too overwhelming” suggestion that says “dilute with main flavor, then build back up with Enhancing and Accent Flavors”. What do you mean by dilute? How would you actually go about diluting it?


    • ggrieser says:

      I mean, if you making something with tomatoes, for example, and the final product isn’t tomatoey enough, simply add more tomatoes to bring it back closer to the original “theme” flavor.

  2. K. Demico says:

    Chocolate Frosty Shake
    1 cup vanilla almond milk
    1/2 ripe avocado
    1/2 cup chocolate Ovaltine
    1/8 cup instant coffee (more or less as desired or leave out)
    Sweetener to taste
    1-2 cups ice
    Add other veggies for more nutrition such as a cup of spinach, a carrot, etc.
    Blend on high for a minute or so until a desired consistency.

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