How to Make Homemade Fermented Ketchup (Or is It Catsup?) Delicious, Easy, and Filled With Probiotics!
Usually when I make homemade ketchup (the only kind we use), I make it in really small batches, since it's just Mr. V. and I eating it. That means using only one can of tomato paste per batch. So, when Mr. V. asked me for the recipe, I gladly told him how to make it, since I was busy. But....I forgot to tell him to cut it in thirds!
You can imagine what ended up happening....We had SO much ketchup. There was NO way we were going to eat it all up that evening, nor the next, nor the next. And to just put it in the refrigerator, it would have gone bad within a week! What to do????
FERMENTATION to the rescue! I had a whole pint of the stuff left over! So, I just added an extra teaspoon of salt, just in case, along with about 1/8 cup of whey. I let it sit on the countertop fully covered, fermenting away, for about eight days. After giving it a good sniff and taste test, I put it in the fridge, and now it will keep there for at least two to three more weeks, maybe even longer!
I LOVE fermentation. If something like this happens, where you just have too much left over, as long as it is clean, hasn't been dipped into a million times, and is made with natural vegetables and spices...go ahead and ferment it! Fermentation is a traditional method of food preservation, and it is the MOST healthy way to create and preserve your foods, in my opinion.
You can read more about fermentation in these articles: Eight Myths About Fermentation, Fermentation: What is It, and Why You Need to Do It, and many more on the blog! And for a fermentation freebie from The Traditional Cooking School, check out this fermentation cheat sheet by Wardeh Harmon!
If you would like a couple of really great books on fermentation, check out Wardeh Harmon's Idiots Guide to Fermentation (the first book on the subject I ever read) and anything by Sandor Katz, like his Art of Fermentation.
And, if you are ready to dive right in check out the Herbal Academy of New England's Craft of Herbal Fermentation Course. It's AWESOME!
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How to Make Fermented Ketchup
This recipe just goes to prove you can ferment anything. Seriously. Especially if it's vegetable based. There is a lot of flexibility in this recipe. For example, when I made this version, I left out the brown sugar. But if you like a more traditional ketchup with a bit of a sweet taste, feel free to add it in. I'll add options in the ingredients section---but as long as you have the basic tomato paste, you can spice it til you like it! :-)
Ingredients for Homemade Ketchup
**This recipe makes a LOT, so if you don't want this much, go ahead and cut it in half! Or thirds!
** 3 cans tomato paste
** 1 tablespoons olive oil
** 1 teaspoon onion powder
** 1 tablespoon Molasses (this is my sweetener, so if you want more sweetness, add brown sugar in stead or in addition to)
** 1/3 to 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar--til the consistency is what you like
** 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
** 1 tablespoon Chili powder (adjust it for less if you don't like the spice)
** 1/2 teaspoon Ginger powder OR 1 tablespoon fresh minced Garlic (that's what I used)
** 1/2 teaspoon Fish Sauce
** 1/2 teaspoon Garlic powder (more if you like)
** 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste (If you are planning to ferment your ketchup, go ahead and add up to 1/2 tablespoon of salt.)
You can add other spices to your own homemade ketchup too. I suggest using the special tastes you like and playing around to create your own recipe! One thing I've learned over the years is that when I experiment, I mostly get a product that is pretty darn good. Don't be afraid to make mistakes---That's when the real learning happens!
Here are ideas for other spices to add: Cinnamon, Balsamic Vinegar, mashed roasted red peppers, Allspice..... and on and on!
Directions for Homemade Ketchup
Just put everything except the apple cider vinegar into a bowl. Whisk or stir everything together well. Then add your apple cider vinegar until the consistency is how you like your ketchup. I tend to like a thicker ketchup than what comes in the store bottles, so adjust how you like!
How to Ferment Homemade Ketchup
So, you've got your ketchup! Use what you like, then pour the rest into a pint Mason Jar. You want to have about 1/2 tablespoon of salt in your ferment for this to work, so if you didn't add that much salt, go ahead and do so now.
Add about 1/8 cup of whey or brine from a previous ferment. This is optional. If you've added enough salt, your ketchup will ferment just fine. However, it's my belief the whey or starter culture makes the fermentation process go along a bit faster.
Put a plastic lid on your wide mouth Mason jar. I don't use an airlock for this kind of thick ferment. You probably won't have to burp it either, but I go ahead and open the lid slightly anyway every day or two and check on it.
I left this batch in the window sill for about a week and a half with no problems. I'm sure I could have left it there several more days, too. It's pretty chilly in our home these cool Fall days, so I wasn't worried about spoilage or mold.
When you like how it's tasting, go ahead and put it in the fridge! It will keep quite a long time in there, if it doesn't get used up first!
Final Thoughts on Fermented Homemade Ketchup
Even though Mr. V. made way too much ketchup for just the two of us, it was a blessing in disguise! Fermentation is an amazing way to preserve your foods, and using this method, we were able to not only prolong the life of that large batch of ketchup, but it tastes delicious too! There is something inherently wonderful about the tangy taste of a fermented food.
So, if you happen to make too much of a sauce or dip of some kind (with the exception of anything with dairy or eggs--just saying--research fermentation for those items first), go ahead and ferment it! You won't be sorry, and your tummy will love you---and so will your taste buds!
Do you make your own dips and sauces? It's so easy to do, and generally, you can whisk these up so quickly. I always wonder why people buy store-bought with all the chemicals and sugars?
I'd love to know what your ketchup variations and favorite recipes are! It's fun to learn how others do things, so leave a comment and share! :-)
Hugs & Self-Reliance,
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The Herbal Fermentation course from the Herbal Academy of New England is incredibly useful. This is where I learned how to make herbal meads. So, if you are interested in infusing a little herbal knowledge into your fermentation, this is a great option!