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Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing is a condiment made of some combination of buttermilk, sour cream, yogurt, mayonnaise, minced green onion, garlic powder, and other seasonings mixed into a sauce.  Ranch dressing has been the best-selling salad dressing in the United States since 1992, when it overtook Italian dressing.  It is also popular as a dipping sauce.

Ranch DressingHistory

In 1954, Steve and Gayle Henson opened Hidden Valley Ranch, a dude ranch near Santa Barbara, California.  They served guests a dressing that Steve had developed in Alaska. 

The dressing was popular, and they began selling bottles that guests could take home, and later opened a factory to sell packets of ranch seasoning that had to be mixed with mayonnaise and buttermilk (packets that are still available to this day). In 1972, the brand was bought by Clorox for $8 million.

Clorox reformulated the dressing several times to try to make it more convenient. The first change was to include buttermilk flavoring in the seasoning so that at home one added milk rather than buttermilk. In 1983, Clorox developed a more popular non-refrigerated bottled formulation. At the current time, Clorox subsidiary Hidden Valley Ranch Manufacturing LLC produces ranch packets and bottled dressings at two large factories, in Reno, Nevada and Wheeling, Illinois.

During the 1980s, ranch also became a common snack food flavor, starting with Cool Ranch Doritos in 1987, and Hidden Valley Ranch Wavy Lay's in 1994.

Popularity

Ranch dressing is a common dipping sauce for vegetables such as broccoli and carrots, as well as for chips and "bar foods" such as french fries and chicken wings. It is also a common dipping sauce for fried foods such as fried mushrooms, fried zucchini, jalapeno poppers, onion rings, chicken fingers, and hush puppies. In addition, ranch dressing is used on pizza, pickles, baked potatoes, wrap sandwiches, tacos, pretzels, and hamburgers.

In addition to Hidden Valley, ranch dressing is produced by many manufacturers including Ken's, Kraft, Marie's, Newman's Own, and Wish-Bone.

Nutrition

Ranch dressing is notable for its high fat content. A typical 2-tablespoon serving contains 145 kcal (608 kJ) and 15 g of fat. Ninety-four percent of those calories come from fat.

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