What The Heck Is Jezebel Sauce? Learn About The Southern Gulf Coast Specialty

This sweet-and-spicy condiment isn't lacking in flavor or versatility.

<p>Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox</p>

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

As long as many Southerners can remember, the fridge was filled with mystery Mason jars. They could be packed with homemade pickled vegetables, brightly colored pepper jellies, fruit jams, and even the occasional relish. Preserves have long been a staple in Southern cuisine, and certain recipes get passed down generations, including lesser-known delicacies that not everyone has had the opportunity to taste. One such recipe is Jezebel Sauce.

Jezebel Sauce is a Southern condiment that is characterized by its unexpected twist of sweet and spicy. While many people have never heard of it, Jezebel Sauce has Gulf Coast roots that run deep, and you just have to try the unique dish for yourself to understand it. For that, we have a classic recipe for Jezebel Sauce that requires only six ingredients.

The History of Jezebel Sauce

The origins of Jezebel Sauce are as similarly murky as the debate on where Brunswick Stew comes from, without being quite as divisive. The sauce started appearing in community cookbooks along the Gulf Coast in the 1950s and can still be found in the tattered pages of favorite old-fashioned renditions such as The Gulf Gourmet by the Westminster Academy Mothers Club of Gulfport, Mississippi. However, more than one state lays claim to the recipe, including Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, and Florida.

As suggested, the recipe's namesake is derived from the Biblical figure, Jezebel, and is said to be because of the sweet-and-spicy nature of the dish.

The ingredients for a traditional Jezebel Sauce typically include apple jelly, pineapple preserves, dry mustard, horseradish, and pepper. Together, intense sweetness is complemented by the heat of horseradish and tang of the mustard. All ingredients get combined and placed into a jar to chill in the refrigerator. The longer it sits, the more the flavors mold together for the perfect punch of sweet and heat.

The recipe has been customized in many ways in different cookbooks and family recipe boxes, such as using apricot preserves instead of apple jelly, as well as replacing Dijon mustard for dry mustard. Hand-grated horseradish is preferred, but you can easily pick up prepared horseradish as a quick fix.

Uses For Jezebel Sauce

Jezebel Sauce can be used as a condiment, dipping sauce, marinade, or appetizer. One favorite way that Southerners like to enjoy Jezebel Sauce is spooned over cream cheese and served with crackers, much like the classic pepper jelly snack.

It's often used to coat the outside of meat, such as ham or pork, as it cooks; and it's also enjoyed as a spread for biscuits and along with any meat-and-cheese board. It can even offer a delicious alternative to grape jelly for making cocktail meatballs during the holidays, offering more multi-dimensional flavor beyond just sweetness.

Basically, anywhere you could pull out the preserves, Jezebel Sauce makes for a zingy addition.

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Read the original article on Southern Living.