The Battle for Ketchup Supremacy

The history of ketchup, or catsup, goes way back. The condiment was made with fermented fish, or mushrooms, or bananas, or whatever was locally available for cooks to turn into a sauce to liven up other foods. In America, the main ingredient was tomatoes. But early ketchup recipes called for fermented tomatoes to make the sauce last longer. After the Civil war, commercial food companies started mass-producing tomato ketchup. It was usually made from the parts of tomatoes that were left over after other products were made. Then the buying public started turning away from the flavor of fermented tomatoes, so companies began using new food preservatives to make ketchup shelf stable, particularly benzoates.

Dr. Harvey Wiley of the Department of Agriculture led a campaign against chemical preservatives in food, and particularly hated benzoates. He couldn't get them outlawed, but Wiley convinced Henry Heinz that they needed to go. Yes, that Heinz. Heinz worked diligently to come up with a recipe for ketchup that didn't require fermentation and didn't contain chemical preservatives. Read how he did it, and why tomato ketchup using his recipe became the only ketchup most of us know, at Atlas Obscura.

(Image credit: Mike Mozart)


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There is no good ketchup. It's the equivalent of soylent green and you've all been conned. Ok, I know there are some regional types that are pretty good but they're few and far between. If ever there was need for a market, similar to that of mustard and hot sauce, ketchup is it. The recipe in the article looks awesome. Until then, it's Del Monte for me. When I can find it. . .
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This is gonna sound crazy, but if you see Ketchup No Salt Added at the grocery, try it. If you're a huge salt person, you may not like it. But as a person that's not hung up on salt, it's got an interesting taste. I duno, it's pretty good.
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I am totally in love with Heinz ketchup sweetened with honey. It tastes better than their other sweeteners, IMO. It has a richer taste, not overly sweet and it's perfect on burgers and meatloaf.
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