Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

How to Make Healthy Ketchup (Guest Post)

August 2nd, 2010 · 23 Comments · Do It Yourself, Recipes

Lacto-fermented foods aren’t canned but are often stsored 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 Comments so far ↓

  • PJ

    I’ve been looking for a ketchup recipe for ages … thanks!!!!
    .-= PJ´s last blog ..Silence is Medication for Sorrow =-.

  • Deanna

    Can you make this without the whey? We’re dairy-free around here, but my kiddo could DRINK ketchup and I’d love to make a healthier version.
    .-= Deanna´s last blog ..Grain-Free Flax Seed Crackers with Sage and Garlic =-.

  • heather harris

    can you make this without the fish sauce? I cannot, for the life of me, find this anywhere!!!!
    .-= heather harris´s last blog ..Untitled =-.

    Sarah W Reply:

    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 Reply:

    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?

  • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Deanna, if you make it without the whey, it will be missing the probiotics and enzymes and will not be lactofermented. You can substitute RAW apple cider vinegar instead but I am not sure how this would affect the flavor. It would probably be ok.
    .-= Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist´s last blog ..Monday Mania – 8-2-2010 =-.

    Deanna Reply:

    I was thinking of subbing kombucha instead of the whey so that it would still have happy bacteria.
    .-= Deanna´s last blog ..Grain-Free Flax Seed Crackers with Sage and Garlic =-.

  • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Heather, yes you can leave out the fish sauce but I do not think the flavor would be quite as good. Try it and see if you like it without it.
    .-= Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist´s last blog ..Monday Mania – 8-2-2010 =-.

  • kara

    Great post! I also love making different types of ketchup, like this sour cherry version:
    .-= kara´s last blog ..Grilled Shortbread Cookies =-.

  • Susan

    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 =-.

  • LeaG

    When left out for 2 days is that with a lid on or off? Thank you!

  • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

    Leave the lid on tightly as shown in the video.
    .-= Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist´s last blog ..Fitness Forum! =-.

    Anita Reply:

    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!

    Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist Reply:

    Hi Anita, perhaps you are referring to fermenting with vinegar. Lactofermentation uses lactic acid which works just fine as shown in the video.
    .-= Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist´s last blog ..Video- Hypoallergenic Baby Formula =-.

    Anita Reply:

    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!

    Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist Reply:

    Hi Anita, “dark and cool” would refer to the storage as in a cellar once the fermentation is complete. In my videos, I suggest refrigeration as many parts of the country (including mine) have no cellars and the weather is way too warm for this.

  • Karen for Jenny and Pearl

    I love this idea for my ketchup-crazed family! Definitely worth trying. Thanks!

  • Laurie N

    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 =-.

  • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

    I have not seen fish sauce like you describe. I do not know what the difference between yours and mine might be. Mine is specifically made with anchovies. Perhaps yours is made with another type of fish?
    .-= Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist´s last blog ..GAPS Success Stories! =-.

  • Sometimes I Wonder | Weaving Tales

    [...] Ketchup (this recipe or this [...]

  • Nora

    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!

  • Marcia

    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 Reply:

    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

Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.