Homemade fermented ketchup is a flavourful and healthy condiment. It is surprisingly easy to make, and you get to control the amount of sugar, which is a good thing if, like me, you use the red sauce to encourage your kids to eat their dinners. (Apparently ketchup tastes good on broccoli stir-fry.)
I have made ketchup with fresh roma tomatoes and tomato puree, depending on whether it’s tomato season. The first recipe is written for tomato paste, since that’s easier for most people. But if you have a nice crop of roma tomatoes, I recommend making ketchup with fresh tomatoes, since the flavour is far superior. The recipe for using whole tomatoes at the bottom of the page.
I make fermented ketchup because I like all things fermented. It also increases the shelf-life for this ketchup. However, the recipe can be made without fermentation. Simply skip the fermenting step and use the ketchup right away.
If you aren’t going to ferment the ketchup, then I recommend only keeping 1 cup of ketchup in the fridge, and freezing the rest. Because it is a low sugar ketchup made with real vegetables, it won’t last as long as store-bought varieties.
- 3 cups tomato paste
- ⅓ cup honey (see notes)
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- Tied in a cheesecloth:
- 1 onion (diced)
- 1 clove garlic
- A cinnamon stick
- ½ tsp each of allspice berries, cloves, mustard seed, black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- For fermenting
- 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
- ¼ cup of culture (see notes)
- Mix together the tomato paste, honey vinegar in a large pot.
- Combine the spices and the finely diced vegetables into spice bag, or tied up in a cheesecloth. Submerge in the pot with the tomato paste and vinegar.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir it occasionally to prevent the tomato paste from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Discard the cheesecloth of spices, and add salt to taste.
- Put the ketchup into a sterilized glass jar for fermenting. Put the lid on and allow to cool to room temperature (about 2 hours.)
- Stir in the culture and store it somewhere cool and dark to ferment for 2 days.
- Store it in the fridge and use within 2 months, or freeze smaller portions for future use.
- The amount and type of sweetener is optional. I use 1/3 cup of honey, however, you could use brown sugar or maple syrup. If you want to use a low calorie sweetener, then add it after fermenting.
- This ferment works well with a vegetable starter, whey or kombucha. Miso will add a bit of umami to your ketchup.
- If you ferment in two 500 mL mason jars with airlocks or pickle-nipplelids, then you can try out two different types of starters. Experimentation is always fun!
Whole Tomato Variation
Make whole tomato ketchup in September when tomatoes are abundant. It takes about 2 hours to cook the tomatoes down, so it’s a good thing to do while you watch a movie.
Follow the recipe above, but make the following changes:
- Replace the tomato paste with 7 lbs roma tomatoes, chopped, 3 onions diced and 1 red bell pepper, diced.
- Mix the vegetables in a large pot, and simmer over medium heat until the vegetables are very soft.
- When the vegetables a coked, push them through a food mill, and return to the pot as a replacement for the tomato puree.
- Boil with the spices for an additional hour until the ketchup has thickened.
- Proceed with the fermenting as described in the recipe.