Some people are the ketchup with fries people. And I have yet to understand them. I’ve always been the fries with ketchup person. As in, yes. I did just go through half a bottle of ketchup in one sitting, why do you ask? Kind of person. So when I started becoming more aware of what I was eating in ketchup – high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup solids, additives, “natural flavors” – whatever those mean, MSG, gluten (WHY does gluten have to be in ketchup?!) and random chemicals that even my five hundred courses in biology, chemistry and nutrition didn’t set me up to understand, I knew it was time to look elsewhere.
My first course of action was to buy “safe” ketchup at the store. There are some great brands out there of ready-made ketchup (and the manufacturers don’t use BPA in their bottles, either! Here’s a few if ready-made is more your cup of tea:
- Annie’s Organic Ketchup
- Woodstock Farms Organic Ketchup
- Nature’s Promise Organic Ketchup
- Sir Kensington’s Gourmet Ketchup
- Muir Glenn Organic Ketchup
I tend to stay away from Heinz and Hunt’s – I disagree with their use of and support of GMO products and their lobbying against a consumer’s right to know what’s GMO and what’s not GMO. Even though both make an organic line for the more conscientious consumer, I just can’t bring myself to support them and take my business elsewhere.
So, what makes lacto-fermented ketchup so good?
- For starters, you can put your own spices in it. I like things to be a bit more zesty and put a dash (or two) of cayenne pepper in my ketchup. So. Good. And even better when used for meatloaf. Or tossed in spaghetti sauce. Or as a BBQ base. Or as a cocktail sauce base. Or fry up some of my Fermented Red Potatoes with some Fermented Garlic and onion and top with ketchup. Or as a dipping sauce for my Adobo Sweet Potato Fries. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
- It’s not overly sweet. I emphatically dislike ketchup brands that seem like you’re munching on a sugar cube. This ketchup is tangy. The bacteria feast on the maple syrup, making it lower-glycemic than most ketchup.
- It’s full of probiotic goodness. If I’m going to eat something, it might as well taste absolutely FANTASTIC and be healthy for me. There’s millions of healthy little buggies that aid in digestion in this stuff. For this girl, who can’t metabolize tomato all too well, coupling ketchup with probiotic goodness provides my system with the necessary buggies to ensure good absorption and assimilation.
- 12-oz organic tomato paste (no salt added and BPA-free can)
- ¼ c plus 2 tbsp filtered water
- 2 tbsp sauerkraut juice or whey
- 2 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar (such as Brag’s)
- ¼+ tsp mustard powder
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp cloves
- 1/8 tsp allspice
- 1/8+ tsp cayenne (little heap on top)
- ½ tsp sea salt, non-iodized and no anti-caking chemicals
- ¼ cup organic grade-B maple syrup
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well blended.
- Pour into a clean glass jar and seal.
- Let sit on the counter for two to five days – do not open.
- Move to the fridge and let it sit for another week. It should smell like ketchup and taste tangy. If it smells off or has grown any mold, pitch it immediately. However, if your starter culture is alive and active (the sauerkraut juice or the whey), you’re good to go!
- Stores in the fridge indefinitely.