Real Food for Real People, Ketchup (That tastes like Ketchup!)

In my home the word “balance” is a critical word that we refer to when deciding between good, better and best food choices. Real food for real people is just that, a balance of a variety of things. Balance is essential to every day life, and critical for a healthy body. Although an ideal diet would make up of no processed items, that just isn’t realistic for my family and I’m sure many others as well. So I keep on truckin’ and set out to modify what I can, and I live with the things I can’t rip from their grip. Over the past few years I have set out to make as much from scratch as I can. Some recipes have been graciously accepted as standard, others have been left behind. I have tried many, many things that came out great but not “the same.” When making things at home most people would think the goal is to make it better than store bought. In my house it is quite often, very much not the case. When I am making things I have to strive to replicate the store bought as close as I can otherwise it will go in the “good but different pile.”

What I mean is, I have some picky, finicky, bitchy palates to please and if it isn’t what they expect it sits in the fridge and rots away. So we move on about our lives and I think, “remember that time I made ketchup?” It was so good, spicy and bold, but everyone still reached for the regular stuff. Try, try again. I get up and do it again, always just waiting for some sort of complaint or criticism. So this my friends is what I came up with. A round two knock out! This recipe is not for the good but weird different pile, it is an absolute winner! I quote, “it tastes like ketchup.” (Like really, real, really real ketchup?) Yes folks, it tastes like regular ketchup. My family accepted this recipe into their stomachs as an acceptable replacement to the store bought processed ketchup. No corn syrup, no sugar just pure, classic ketchup-y goodness that is naturally sweetened (or not) to your own taste.

Naturally Sweetened, Semi-Fermented Real Ketchup

Although many people have voiced concerns about BPA lining in canned goods, tomatoes are the one thing I have yet to swap. It is a pantry staple that is non-negotiable, and honestly I’m kind of on the fence with the toxic can hype. Could it maybe be a health concern? Of course, but then again looking at someone the wrong way is a health concern too. Live and let live, I’m ok with whatever tomatoes don’t have a laundry list of additives. You can buy Chopped Tomatoes In A Box instead of cans, and Jarred Tomato Paste. Both are available online, but I have tried neither yet. The best option of course is to use fresh tomatoes to make paste yourself. If you have a garden full of tomatoes, that is probably a great option. Personally I find that the wondrous thing about this recipe is that it is so simple and easy to prepare. Toss everything into a jar, stir it up. Add water or vinegar to thin it to your liking and that is it. It is not a long, painful process. It’s easy to do, which makes it a realistic swap. What makes this recipe more traditional is the amount of liquid I use. Using less liquid I found to result in a pasty, bitter and unpleasant tasting mess. You want to be able to dip your food, ketchup is a dippy! A slightly wet and pourable mixture is ideal.

  • 1, 12 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon whey (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1/4 cup raw cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups water, more or less to thin

Combine all ingredients. Stir until smooth, add water until it reaches your desired consistency. Store in the fridge until needed. Add pepper, onion powder and/or garlic powder to taste.

Fermented Ketchup, Why Whey? 

Whey is the liquid that is strained from yogurt or fresh cheese. If you have sour cream, cottage cheese or yogurt in the fridge that has a smidge of a puddle on top, that my friends is whey. You can strain the yogurt to make homemade cream cheese, or simply spoon off the liquid, and use it as you like. When I make homemade yogurt it separates continuously, making it super easy as can be to just add a splash here and there. Adding whey to any condiment gives you the benefit of lacto-fermentation without the “hassle” of fermenting it. There are beneficial enzymes that aid digestion and nutrient absorption. Fermenting also extends the shelf life.  If you opt to ferment something whey is a very good starter, the cultures give everything a boost and speed up the process.

Using raw vinegar and raw honey just adds to the health benefits. I experimented with fermenting some of this in the traditional manner, and I did not like it as much. To do so simply omit the vinegar place into a clean jar, cover and allow to rest at room temperature for two days. After two days taste and add more or less water or honey to your liking.

One thought on “Real Food for Real People, Ketchup (That tastes like Ketchup!)

  1. October 17, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    This sounds amazing. I would love to have some ketchup in my house that instead of being filled with corn syrup and preservatives, is filled with probiotics! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, hopefully I can get it as perfectly close to ketchup as you say it tastes!

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