Sierra Essentials seasonings | Enhancing the spice of life

Sierra Essentials’ seasonings. | Courtesy Sierra Essentials

I bite into a juicy, seasoned steak and savor notes of garlic, coriander and red pepper, which turn my otherwise ordinary slab of beef into a culinary masterpiece — and I consider myself a novice griller. The delicious and delightful transformation is thanks to Sierra Essentials’ Steak & Burger Rub.

In 2015, Sierra Essentials owner Holly Redpath introduced five all-natural, preservative-free meat seasonings and rubs to her product line predominantly comprised of essential oils and candles because she has always had a nose for scents.

Redpath started her Truckee-based business in 2008 with non-GMO soy candles, artisan soaps, lip balms and more after working for Aveda and noticing how harmful dyes and preservatives are added to not only candles, but also to food. Plus, she has always been in tune with how different fragrances affect people’s moods and has been successful at putting aromatic concoctions together. She decided to test some new scent-filled combinations in the kitchen.

Seasoning with the Chicken Rub. | Courtesy Sierra Essentials

“I do all of my own blending of the essential oils and since food is like mood, I thought it’d be fun to try my own blending of spices,” she says.

Redpath started experimenting and eventually created five spice blends and a Himalayan salt and pepper mixture.

“Cooking is different than baking and baking is different than cooking,” Redpath says. “You have more creative freedom with cooking whereas baking is more like a science where you must follow a specific set of rules for dishes to turn out right.

“I wanted to make rubs specific to a certain need, but that were also very versatile. I did a lot of research and felt like I knew herbs and essential oils well, so I started experimenting. But Sierra Essentials is not a spice company, this is just an offshoot of products based on mood,” she says.

After testing different spices on different meats, Redpath came up with five unique mixes that include the Bay Spice, great to use on fish and shrimp; Chicken; Mesquite/Southwest; Steak and Burger; and Full of Life, which is a flavorful concoction with zero sodium for those with high-blood pressure or heart issues.

However, the seasonings aren’t just limited to meats. For instance, the Steak and Burger rub goes great with vegetables, potatoes and even in a base for noodle soup.

“You can use it on anything,” Redpath says, admitting that she likes it on hash browns.

She also recommends the versatile Full of Life blend and Mesquite/Southwest rubs. The Steak and Burger rub was blended for red meat. And while it will increase the flavor of a juicy steak, it’s perfectly okay to use on vegetables or turkey burgers.

Sierra Essentials’ seasonings. | Courtesy Sierra Essentials

“I use the Mesquite/Southwest rub with yogurt to make a dip or mix it with mayonnaise to put on a sandwich,” she says.

Redpath is all about spicing up life, whether it be with candles that smell like the Tahoe Sierra or seasonings that spice up food.

“Life would be really boring if we wore the same clothes every day and ate the same food every day — it would lose its flavor. Plus, we cannot taste something without smelling it. Just try to hold your nose and eat something. It’s not that fun. [Scents are] in everything we do even in terms of survival. Think of sensing a gas leak or smelling your mother’s roses that bring back a pleasant memory,” she says. “Between candles, balm and essential oils, the spices go along with that because it’s all about connecting mood, aroma, and memory. I love what I do. I’m all about mood and change.”

Sierra Essential spice mixes are available at local retailers and at Mountain Valley Meats and Mountain Home Center in Truckee, as well as the Tahoe Central Market in Kings Beach or online. | (530) 448-3105, Sierra Essentials on Facebook