How to Make Healthy Ketchup (Guest Post)

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Lacto-fermented foods aren’t canned but are often stored in glass jars.

The king of condiments in the Western world is undoubtedly ketchup. In America alone, over a half billion bottles of ketchup are sold every year. Unfortunately, this ketchup is usually full of high fructose corn syrup – definitely not part of a healthy diet!

Ketchup comes to us from China and was originally a fermented fish sauce. Americans added tomatoes to make the world famous tomato ketchup.

The recipe used in this videoblog is “lactofermented” which means that beneficial bacteria from liquid whey transform the ingredients into an enzyme rich, probiotic filled condiment that greatly assists digestion when used in conjunction with a meal of cooked foods.

Lacto-Fermented Ketchup
adapted from Nourishing Traditions Cookbook by Sally Fallon Morell
Recipe type: Condiment
  • 3 c. organic tomato paste (I used Bionaturae brand in glass jars)
  • ¼ c. liquid whey
  • ¼- ½ c. Grade B maple syrup
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (use ¼ tsp. for a more powerful taste)
  • 1 Tbs. sea salt (I recommend Celtic sea salt for the best flavor)
  • 3 cloves organic garlic, mashed
  • ½ c. fish sauce (from Asian supermarket - make sure to get one with only anchovies and salt as the listed ingredients)
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a clean, glass one quart mason jar. Leave at least one inch at the top of the jar to allow for expansion during the fermentation. Leave on the counter for 2 days and then refrigerate. The ketchup is well preserved for about 6 months.

Serve this amazing ketchup with other healthy homemade dishes like these no guilt french fries!

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist


Sarah Couture Pope has been a Weston A. Price Foundation Chapter Leader for Tampa FL since 2002.She holds a BA in Economics from Furman University and a MGA in Financial Management from the University of Pennsylvania.She is currently raising 3 young children with her husband and enjoys blogging about her traditional food and wellness adventures at: The Healthy Home Economist. You can also see her Facebook page or follow her on Twitter

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23 Bites of Conversation So Far

    • Sarah W says

      I’ve made the NT recipe, and I actually find the fish sauce to impart too strong of a flavor to the ketchup (a fishy flavor). I still like it OK, but I don’t eat as much of it as I did Heinz. (maybe that’s a good thing?) Next time I make it, I think I will leave the fish sauce out and just use sea salt instead.

      • Anita says

        Has anyone tried it w/o the fish sauce yet? This would be hard for us to get, too, unless we can get it via the internet. We live a mile and a half from our mailbox – I have no idea where an asian market would be! LOL! The whey is no problem, we have our own goats and cows for milk, but we do like vinegar – maybe put half whey and half vinegar?

  1. says

    I have started making ketchup because we follow the specific carbohydrate diet due to my daughter’s chronic illnesses. I don’t can it so it is only good for two weeks but this is all I use:

    One carton of Pomi strained tomatoes
    One tube of Italian tomato paste from Whole Food
    1/4 cup Distilled vinegar (have tried apple cider vinegar but didn’t like the taste)
    1-2 tbsp Allspice (depending on how much you like)
    Salt and pepper – also to taste

    Mix it all together and then taste to see if there is enough vinegar, Allspice, salt and pepper for your liking
    .-= Susan´s last blog ..75 off at Target – kitchen items- toys- shoes =-.

    • Anita says

      Everything I’ve seen on fermenting foods uses airlocks or something to allow the gasses to escape but not allow air to get in. I’ve never seen anyone just close the lid like this. Is it because it’s being put in the fridge so quick? Also, you leave the jar where the light is getting to it but everything I’ve read says to ferment in the dark – like cover the glass jar. Even the Pickl It jars we just got say to cover them somehow so the light isn’t hitting the food. If doing your way works, then I’m all for it! Lots simpler, that’s for sure!

        • Anita says

          Hi, Sarah! No, I mean fermenting with salt brine, no vinegar. I have a Haarsch crock and I use salt brine for fermenting. I like vinegar but it costs money and the salt is cheaper. :-) This is a big crock and I put our whole crop of cabbage in it last year and made sauerkraut. The lid sits in a trough where you put water to keep out air. I try to keep it where it’s cooler. But everything I’ve read on fermenting says to keep things in the dark and cool. I’m going to try your kitchen counter method and see if it works like the crocks – hope so! That’s why I bought the Pickl It jars – smaller, quicker batches. I’m enjoying your website very much and have learned a lot. Thanks!

  2. says

    I bought some fish sauce that looks nothing like this. It’s a green-gray liquid made w/ only fish, salt and water. The smell and taste are so strong I’ve only used it twice. The product in the video looks more like soy sauce. Any clue as to what the difference might be in these two products?
    .-= Laurie N´s last blog ..Grandma Called it Medicine Leaf =-.

  3. Nora says

    I’ve used the recipe from this site and really like it. I substituted Worcestershire sauce for the fish sauce though.

    I ran out of ketchup today and needed more to finish the batch of BBQ sauce I was making. I bought some organic no-HFCS ketchup but of course it wasn’t fermented. After using what I needed for my recipe I still had half a bottle. I kept looking at it and thinking “I wish it were fermented. I don’t want to miss the opportunity for my family to get those great enzymes.” Then I realized I could ferment the rest of the bottle! I just added some whey and left it on the counter to ferment.

    Now I am thinking I can probably ferment the BBQ sauce!

  4. Marcia says

    This will be our first time making your or any ketchup. I bought the fish sauce. It looks dark like yours and is made from anchovies. Would like to know if I could decrease the amount of fish sauce in the recipe? My children are not much on fish except tuna and that is not so “fishy” tasting.

    • Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship says

      Maybe Sarah didn’t subscribe to keep up on this post (she was a guest author). I’ve never tried the fish sauce version, but with something like ketchup – you should be able to check by tasting, then adjust. I would shoot low – really low! – then add as you wish. Or make a quarter batch the first time.

      Good luck!
      :) Katie

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