Ketchup is a sweet and tangy tomato sauce that is use as a table condiment. It is made primarily with:
- tomatoes (whether fresh, sauce or paste)
- a sweetener (sugar and/or corn syrup)
and spices, such as:
- onion powder
- garlic powder
- ground cloves
- ground cinnamon
- celery powder
It is popularly added on:
- grilled meat
- chicken nuggets
- french fries or tater tots
- onion rings
- meat pies
- sandwich spread
- certain salad dressing and dips
Corn syrup and ground clove are required ingredients to make my ketchup recipe. If these 2 were not added, that distinctive flavor would be missing from my taste buds. It is a must and personal preference, I just can’t do without it. I prefer whole cloves to make into freshly grounded cloves, using a coffee grinder.
For me, sugar is one of the basic ingredients to make ketchup. To keep the amount of carbohydrates low, Splenda is my personal choice as a sugar substitute. Other sugar substitutes that can be added are: Stevia, Truvia, Ideal Sweetener, Xylitol, etc.
I like using ketchup as an ingredients to combine and create other food. Such as:
- salad dressing (ie: thousand island, french dressing)
- dipping sauce (ie: onion ring sauce, cocktail sauce)
- flavorful condiment, (ie: remoulade)
- cooking sauces (ie: barbeque sauce, , enchilado, sweet & sauce)
Ketchup originate from China, dating thousands of years, and was known as “ke-chiap”, a pickled fish sauce. It was made using anchovies, mushroom, kidney beans, and spices.
The British during their 17th century trading expedition, returned to England with the recipe on how to make ke-chiap. It was renamed in English as catchup, later to ketchup.
Europeans were first made aware of ketchup, in 1690 by Charles Lockyer, when mentioned as an entry in the “Canting Crew” printing.
The first ketchup recipe was published in 1727 by Elizabeth Smith in her book “The Compleat Housewife”. The ingredients included:
- spices (cloves, ground ginger, mace, nutmeg, black pepper)
- lemon peel
Circa late 18th century (approximately 70 years later), the New World (North America) colonists in New England added tomatoes to provide a tangy flavor, and what we know today as ketchup.
The first documented recipe for tomato ketchup was printed in 1801 in the USA, for a cookbook known as “Sugar House Book” by Sandy Addison. Her recipe called for riped tomatoes that are squeezed, then boiled for 2 hours with salt, while stirred constantly . Once hot, it is sieved, and 7 different spices were added for flavor:
- black pepper
It is boiled again until thick, while continually stirring. Once cooked to a thick consistency, it is cooled, then pour into a bottle. Addison declared, the ketchup has a shelf life of 2 to 3 years.
In 1837, the first ketchup condiment was produced and distributed for the public by Jonas Yerkes.
38 years later (1875), in Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania, Henry Heinz with his brother (John Heinz), and cousin (Frederick Heinz) started a company together to produce and sell ketchup to the mass public, known as “Heinz Tomato Ketchup”.
There has been slight controversy regarding the pronunciation and spelling of “ketchup” and “catsup”. Both are correct to identify the condiment.
What’s the difference? It all comes down to the US Government’s Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Omnibus Regulation Acts of 1980 and 1981. The regulations, under the Office of Management and Budget that allowed certain food items not explicitly listed to meet nutritional requirements.
One of these was the standard approval for the tomato ingredient in “ketchup” to be declared a vegetable in school lunches. Basically, 1 Tablespoon of tomato paste could be credited as 1/4 cup single-strength tomato juice. Hence, ketchup as a condiment, whose main ingredient is tomato would be equivalent to a serving of vegetable and approved for school lunches.
So, for the sake of USDA Government regulations for school lunches, the condiment:
- “ketchup” is a tomato ingredient, declared a stand-in as an actual vegetable
- “catsup” is tomato ingredient, considered a fruit and not a nutritional standard for school lunches
This legislation is food politics in writing for what is considered nutritional value for school lunches… actually it’s nothing more than what is known as political posturing.
.In honor to my Latin/Spanish heritage, flamenco music and of course, my love for ketchup:
The Ketchup Song, also known as “Aserejé”, sung in Spanglish
One thing I have to say… this song is loosely based from the 1979 Sugarhill Gang “Rapper’s Delight” song. Anyone from NYC who grew up in that era with the sounds of this first wave of commercialized rap music, was familiar with this song.
Rapper’s Delight actual lyrics:
I said a hip hop,
the hippie, the hippie to the hip hip hoppa
ya don’t stop rockin’ to the bang bang boogie
said up jumps the boogie to the rhythm of the boogie the beat
the ketchup song and beat sounds with an international flair, in Arabic… I can groove to it.