Come With Me to the Land of Ketchup…

I should warn you before hand that it will be an interesting journey, to say the least. I knew that when I started singing “To life,  to life, to ketchup!” (Think Tevye and Lazar Wolf in Fiddler on the Roof ) as I was finishing off the last batch. 
Then I dashed by my dresser and grabbed my mp3 player to plug my camera into my laptop. Hmmm…do you really want this recipe? Seriously, ketchup does strange things to people. Or is it just me?
This was an amazing Penarious Challenge – Replicate a healthier version of Heinz (and Heinz specifically) Ketchup without using cornstarch.

I immediately googled Heinz ketchup and found a copy cat recipe to use as a base – minus the corn syrup. To be quite honest I didn’t think it would be all that hard. 
The fresher the better is my “motto”, (but I’m of the mind that that is where Heinz and I begin to differ…) so these were my starter ingredients –

I blended it all up in the processor and boiled it down to ketchup consistancy.

Guess what? It tasted too fresh.
So I switched up ingredients –

It still wasn’t right.
Was it because I was using Hunt’s tomato products? What was the secret ingredient?
I did some more research…and learned some very interesting tidbits about America’s favorite condiment. 
It’s got fans all over the world – 
but tastes different depending on the country.
Ketchup was originally a spicy fish sauce called 
Ke-Tsiap from east Asia.
600 million bottles of ketchup are sold annually.
Only a few very special people know what natural flavoring 
and spice on the ingredient label really are.
Ketchup has a “speed limit” and each batch is tested 
for the right flow speed.
And did you know that people make cake with it???? How about a slice of  Ketchup Cake? Any takers? Yikes!

Then I came upon this very interesting video – How it’s Made:Heinz Tomato Ketchup.

Ah ha! One must start with fresh tomatoes and stomp them with their feet!

Or not.
After 3 batches,  I thought I had a pretty good copy on the taste, but the texture wasn’t happening. Have you ever noticed that there are no flecks of tomato in Heinz ketchup? That’s it on the left…

…then Hunt’s, then a couple batches of homemade.

I thought tomato juice might be the solution and strained every particle of tomato flecks out…

But that made for a nice ketchup syrup.

I thought if I added more liquid and boiled it down longer it might result in a smoother consistency…

That didn’t help either.
So I went back to the paste. It’s mind boggling really! How does Heinz do it?!!

 Do we really want to know?
After 7 batches of ketchup, I decided the first one was the best, with a few changes. And that is what I give you here. It’s not Heinz, but it’s not Hunt’s either. It’s healthier. It’s good…for ketchup. :P

1 6oz. can of tomato paste
1 c. water
1/4 c. evaporated cane sugar 
(or brown sugar)
3/8 c. white balsamic vinegar
(or apple cider vinegar)
1 t. salt
1/8 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. onion powder
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
pinch of cayenne pepper
Combine all ingredients in a large pot. (Take my word for it – you want a large pot even though it doesn’t look like much ketchup in the bottom of it. It makes a bubbling, sticky mess!) Bring to a boil and stir constantly until liquid evaporates and mixture is as thick as ketchup. Bottle and chill before using.

Like I said, I’ve learned a lot about ketchup –

# 1) It’s not good on fingers.
# 2) It’s equally undesirable on spoons.
Now, what to do with a lifetime supply of homemade ketchup…  :D

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9 thoughts on “Come With Me to the Land of Ketchup…

  1. Cannot WAIT to try this!! Your 'secret ingredients' …inquisitiveness,perseverance, determination, and humor…. have already made this a recipe to treasure; I am confident that it will taste fabulous too! THANK YOU!!!

  2. I laughed so hard through this!!! And are you telling me that you don't like ketchup???? I hope Caleb likes your homemade stuff. If he does, it won't be around long. :D

  3. Thanks Mom. :P And thanks for helping me with the embedding. Pam – I do hope it works for you and you'll never have to buy Heinz again. :D Sage – Ummm…not plain, that's for sure. ;P Definitely watch the video, people! It's great!

  4. Your post title reminded me in an odd way of a line from one of the songs in the original "Willy Wonka" movie (which I still don't know why my mother let me watch as an impressionable young child! ::shudder::).ANYwho…One of my health foodie friends told me once that the thickening agent in Heinz is some product derived from wood ash and that the FDA doesn't make them put it in the list of ingredients because it isn't considered and "edible food component" or some such nonsense. Of course…that could all be some old wives tale that they just heard somewhere…I will attest to the fact that ketchup is different in different countries.

  5. Thanks Tera!April – lol, After titling this post, I actually thought of Willy Wonka, too! :P That's hilarious.I don't remember watching it as a kid, but I liked it when I watched it not too long ago. I have no doubt, that Heinz secret ingredient is something very strange. :D

  6. Pingback: Home-made Ketchup and Oven Roasted French Fries « granolagirlbakes

  7. Pingback: Sweet Potato Fries with Rosemary | Stir It Up!

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