Last updated: August 16, 2021

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In Germany, hearty cuisine is a matter of the heart. Especially in many eastern German households, one product cannot be missing to add that special spice to lunch: Worcestershire sauce.

Since there are now many different manufacturers and recipes of Worcester sauce on the market, we have selected various representatives to simplify your purchase decision. In addition, we provide you with buying criteria for Worcester sauce and answer the most important questions in our guide.




Summary

  • Worcester sauce is a dark brown, spicy sauce that originated in 19th century England.
  • Worcestershire sauce was also very popular in the GDR and for many East Germans it belongs on meat, in stews and on vegetables.
  • Worcestershire sauce is available in both savoury-salty variants and with a sweet note. This should be taken into account when buying for use.

The Best Worcester Sauce: Our Picks

In the following, we have compiled a list of our favourites, which are distinguished and differentiated from each other by various features. This list is intended to give you an overview of the available products and to simplify your purchase decision.

Buying and evaluation criteria for Worcester sauces

With the large number of Worcester sauces available on the market, it is easy to lose track of them all. To make it a little easier for you, we have prepared some buying criteria to help you choose your product.

In our opinion, the criteria you should definitely consider when buying Worcester sauce are:

Below we will describe these criteria in a little more detail so that you can get a better idea of what they mean.

Nutritional values

Since different manufacturers of Worcester sauce use different recipes for their product, the nutritional content differs greatly from sauce to sauce. For example, American Worcester sauces are significantly saltier than their European counterparts.

The original from Lea & Perrins has 96 kilocalories, including 0.9 grams of fat and 18.8 grams of pure sugar. If you want to eat healthily, you should choose products that are lower in fat and sugar. A high salt content also has a negative effect on your blood pressure and weight.

Allergens

Allergy sufferers must be particularly careful with Worcester sauce. Even the original recipe contains ingredients such as anchovies, onions and garlic, to which some people are allergic. Since many manufacturers deviate greatly from the original recipe, mustard, fruit, pepper and gluten allergy sufferers must also be careful.

To be on the safe side, you should therefore look at the label of each Worcester sauce individually and read the ingredients to prevent allergic reactions.

Animal ingredients

The original Worcestershire sauce recipe is not suitable for vegetarians or vegans - after all, it contains fish. In addition, other manufacturers use other animal ingredients such as gelatine to make their sauce thicker.

Nevertheless, there are alternative manufacturers who produce Worcestershire sauce free of any animal ingredients and are ideal for vegetarian cooking. Again, as is often the case, it's worth checking the label if you're not sure.

Artificial additives

Even if they do not play a role in the original recipe, some manufacturers use artificial additives and flavour enhancers to give their Worcester sauce the final touch.

Although many artificial additives are considered safe and of course do not always mean healthier, you should decide for yourself how many flavour enhancers you allow in your sauce.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about Worcester sauces answered in detail

In the following, we would like to answer some questions about Worcester sauce so that you can assess whether it is suitable for you.

What is Worcester sauce?

Worcester sauce, also called Worcestershire sauce, is a dark brown seasoning sauce with a hearty taste. It traditionally consists of garlic, onions, sugar, salt, molasses, vinegar, anchovies, tamarind extract and other spices and is traditionally served with hearty dishes.

Worcester sauce is traditionally eaten with hearty, spicy dishes. (Image source: 23rf / svariophoto)

There are a number of legends and rumours surrounding the origin and development of Worcester sauce, the content of which is difficult to verify. The fact is that the English apothecaries John Lea and William Perrins introduced Worcestershire sauce to the market in 1838 and it is still sold today according to the original recipe.

What types of Worcestershire sauce are there?

Of course, the standard definition of a Worcestershire sauce is based on the original Worcestershire sauce from England. This has a spicy flavour and is still very popular today.

However, because of its uniqueness, Worcestershire sauce quickly became an export product and many cultures adapted the original recipe to suit their preferences. Japanese Worcester sauce, for example, has a sweet aftertaste in addition to the savoury taste because it is prepared with fruit. This makes it ideal for traditional Japanese dishes.

Germans are familiar with Worcester sauce, especially from the GDR. It was particularly popular there and was available in a hot and a milder version.

Is Worcester sauce harmful during pregnancy?

It is difficult to give a general answer to this question, as the recipes of different manufacturers naturally vary. As a rule, however, you should stay away from most Worcester sauces during pregnancy.

The main reason for this is that raw fish is an important ingredient in many Worcester sauces. This should be avoided by pregnant women, as it can contain bacteria that can be life-threatening for the child.

Worcestersauce

Due to various ingredients, Worcester sauce should be avoided during pregnancy. (Image source: Amina Filkins/ Pexels)

In addition, some Worcester sauces are soy-based and therefore contain phytoestrogens. Whether or not these are harmful to the child during pregnancy is currently still highly disputed. In case of doubt, however, the lack of clarity about this alone can be a reason to keep your distance as a precaution.

What is the shelf life of Worcester sauce?

The shelf life of Worcester sauce depends mainly on the manufacturer and how it is stored. However, even if most manufacturers are rather modest about the best-before date, you can usually still enjoy an unopened bottle of Worcestershire sauce after 5 years.

The most important thing is to store the Worcestershire sauce in a cool place and protect it from sunlight, especially if it contains animal ingredients. Opened, you can often still eat the sauce 3 years later - but if you notice a strange change in taste before then, don't take any unnecessary risks and dispose of it.

Conclusion

Worcester sauce is a seasoning with tradition that is still used in many households, and rightly so. It can be used in many different ways and is available in a wide variety of flavours so that you can season your dish to perfection. The nutritional values and ingredients as well as the animal products contained play an important role as purchasing criteria.

The price is often less important for many Worcestershire sauces - the main thing is that you like it and that you find the Worcestershire sauce that best suits your cuisine and that you can rely on just as many generations before you.

(Cover photo: Caroline Attwood/ Unsplash)

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