Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Trader Joe's Chile Lime Seasoning Blend

This is Day Four of New Products Week.

Trader Joe's description of this item can be found here.

Before I bought this, I checked the label for usage suggestions, because on my own, standing in the store, I couldn't think of a single thing I would use this for. The label's first suggestion was to tart up pineapple or jicama. That sounded interesting enough, so I put it in my basket, and also picked up some fresh pineapple on which to try it.

It was a complete fail. The overwhelming flavor that comes from this little bottle is salt. Salt, salt, and more salt. Plus a little lime. Chile? Well, maybe if you stare at the label that promises there are chiles in it, and apply some imagination.

Using the sodium content information on the label, plus some basic math and chemistry, I calculate that this is about 48% salt by weight. Which kinda explains why it's so salty.

That fact suggested that maybe we might better use it in situations where one would ordinarily use plain salt, and see if it worked better there than it did on the pineapple. So the next week I made scrambled eggs the main protein for my weekly dinner with Nina.

This was definitely an improvement--but not enough to want to do it again. With the salt no longer seeming so dominant and out of place, what came through next was the lime. I did not think lime and eggs blended well. And the "heat" promised by the label was still basically AWOL.

A score of zero for two earns this seasoning an unequivocally failing grade, and a trip back to the store for a refund.

For an opinion so contrary that one wonders if we were even trying the same product, see the review by the nice people at the "What's Good at Trader Joe's" blog, here.

Will I buy it again? 



  1. But it says on the label "Just the right amount of salt." They wouldn't lie on the label, would they? Must be your mistake.

  2. They're not necessarily lying; they may just have a very, very different idea of what constitutes "the right amount of salt." TJ's: "We think the right amount of salt is to desalinate the Pacific Ocean, and sprinkle the result on your French fries."

  3. It's interesting because in the product description on TJ's website it says that the leading brand in the US is too salty... And if you say that this one is too salty I can't even imagine trying the other versions!

  4. Personally I think it's delicious. I use it in my salad dressing.

  5. Wow, I could not disagree more strongly. Yes, it is a bit salty, but beyond that this is the most amazing spice blend – truly fantastic. The lime tastes like lime – not citric acid. The chile has flavor but not a lot of heat. It improves nearly everything you can think to put it on. Popcorn? check. Cottage cheese? check. Grilled chicken? you betcha. Pineapple? yum! Probably would be good on Mango sorbet too, but haven’t tried it.