NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


| Share

Where Does Ketchup Come From?

Where Does Ketchup Come From?


                It is a dynamic red concoction. At once savory and sweet, with just the right amount of puckering twang, it is slathered and squirted onto our favorite foods. Even the most barren of refrigerators contains a bottle of it.  The “it” is ketchup.

                In the U.S., 97 percent of households report having a bottle at the table. And ketchup’s origins are anything but American.  Ketchup comes from the Chinese word, kê-tsiap, the name of a sauce derived from fermented fish. It is believed that traders brought fish sauce from Vietnam to southeastern China where the British encountered ketchup and brought it back to England where they made their own versions of ketchup.

                But this was certainly not the ketchup we would recognize today. Most British recipes called for ingredients like mushrooms, walnuts, oysters, or anchovies in an effort to reproduce the savory tastes first encountered in Asia.  At this point, ketchup lacked one important ingredient. Enter the tomato. The first known published tomato ketchup recipe appeared in 1812 which contained tomato pulp, spices, and brandy but lacked vinegar and sugar.

                By 1876 ketchup had moved across the ocean to the United States where a Dr. Wiley partnered with a Pittsburgh man named Henry J. Heinz who dramatically increased the amount of vinegar in his recipe to reduce risk of spoilage which in turn increased shelf life and the ability to ship his product. .            Americans now purchase 10 billion ounces of ketchup annually, which translates to roughly three bottles per person per year. Creating your own ketchup though is still a favorite of home preservation fanatics.  A new publication from the NDSU Extension Service, “Make Your Own Home-canned Condiments (FN1861),   highlights several new research based formulations for condiments, including ketchup.


Blender Ketchup

You can use an electric blender and eliminate the need for pressing or sieving.

24 lb. ripe tomatoes
2 lb. onions
1 lb. sweet red peppers
1 lb. sweet green peppers
9 c. vinegar (5%)
9 c. sugar
¼ c. canning or pickling salt
3 Tbsp. dry mustard
1½ Tbsp. ground red pepper
1½ tsp. whole allspice
1½ Tbsp. whole cloves
3 sticks cinnamon

Yield: About 9 pint jars

Wash tomatoes and dip in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until skins split. Then dip in cold water, slip off skins, core and quarter. Remove seeds from peppers and slice into strips. Peel and quarter onions.

Blend tomatoes, peppers and onions at high speed for five seconds in electric blender. Pour into a 3- to 4-gallon stock pot or large kettle and heat. Boil gently 60 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add vinegar, sugar, salt and a spice bag containing dry mustard, red pepper and other spices. Continue boiling and stirring until volume is reduced one-half and ketchup mounds up on a spoon with no separation of liquid and solids.

Remove spice bag and fill clean, hot jars, leaving c inch head space. Adjust lids and process for 20 minutes per pint (elevation of 1,000-6,000 ft.) in a boiling water bath.

Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.