Always been curious about what kind of ingredients are actually in tomato ketchup? Tomatoes, for sure, but believe it or not, the predecessor of the modern tomato ketchup was completely tomato-free.
Ketchup has a very long history. The predecessor was a fermented fish sauce from the south of the Imperial China. Already from 300 BC texts are found that describe the use of fermented paste, made from fish instentines with meat and soybeans as byproducts. The fish sauce, which the locals called “ge – thcup” or “cow – cheup”, was easy to save on long sea voyages and by this spreaded along major trade routes. British traders picked up the salty spice in the early 1700s and took it home, where they disassembled the original recipe of the fish sauce and started imitating it. Cookbooks from the 18th century describe recipes ketchup made from oysters, mussels, mushrooms, walnuts, lemons, celery and even fruits such as plums and peaches. Usually, the components were either boiled to a syrup-like consistency or for a longer period of time kept in salt. Both methods led to a highly concentrated end product: a salty and spicy flavor bomb. The first recipe of ketchup in which tomatoes were incorperated was found in a cookbook from 1812.
Tomato ketchup as we know it, is impossible to imagine in a kitchen without it. In the US it’s even the most favorite condiment, given that in every 97 of the 100 families and in almost every restaurant a bottle of ketchup appears on the table. Personally I don’t eat tomato ketchup a lot, but every now and then, if for example homemade chips are on the menu, I really feel like putting some ketchup on it, apart from homemade mayonnaise.
Preparing tomato ketchup yourself is easier than you think and the main thing is that you know exactly what’s in it. Of course the ready-to-use ketchup that you buy at the supermarket tastes allright, but the manufacturers do not reveal the ingredients. On the packaging is usually spoken of herbs and spices, without the exact names added, afraid that they are to be imitated.
Because I personally do not like packed food of which the packaging does not mention the right ingredients, I mostly try to prepare everything myself. Likewise, this tomato ketchup. An honest and delicious recipe without having to think about what exactly you eat and that I find very comfortable.