Fermented Ketchup

Fermenting Ketchup

In my effort to post more often, I decided to share some of the things I take for granted. Like ketchup. So easy to make; so much better than store bought. Any time you can control the ingredients in the food you eat, it’s a good thing.

My recipe is based on the one found in Nourishing Traditions with tweaks from various other sources. The end result is my recipe. While using whey to ferment the ketchup isn’t necessary, it does cause it to last much longer. If you use a lot of ketchup, that may not be of any concern. If you use ketchup sparingly and don’t want or aren’t able to ferment with whey, you can reduce the recipe accordingly. With whey, the ketchup lasts several months in the fridge. Without whey, it lasts about two weeks.

Lacto-fermented Ketchup
makes 1 quart

3 cups tomato paste
1/2 cup fish sauce (I use this)
1/4 cup whey1
10 drops liquid Stevia
1 Tbs Coconut Crystals2
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp mustard powder (or 1 tsp prepared dijon)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp paprika (or cayenne)
1/8 tsp ground clove

Ketchup ingredients

Forgot to set this out when I took the previous picture:


If you are using a stick blender, put all ingredients into a large container. I start with the tomato paste, add the liquid ingredients and then the dry. It really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you use a large enough container. Not like this:

Ketchup Ingredients

If you do not have a stick blender, put all ingredients into a food processor or blender until well blended. If using a stick blender, simply blend thoroughly. That’s it!

Ketchup finished

It’s preferable to put the ketchup in a glass jar to ferment. Cover with a coffee filter or some cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band. Let sit on the counter for 3-4 days. Yes, I said 3-4 days.

Ready to ferment

Refrigerate and enjoy at will!

Fries and ketchup

One of my favorite ways to enjoy ketchup: with sweet potato fries fried in homemade lard or tallow.

1 Whey: I use the whey I get from draining it off of my homemade yogurt. If you don’t make yogurt, you can still drain some whey off of commercial yogurt. Just make sure it is only yogurt, plain, no gelatins, gums, fruit or sweeteners added. The resulting product (besides whey) is yogurt cheese. You can use this like you would cream cheese. The tangy part of the yogurt is mostly found in the whey. To drain they whey off, put the yogurt into a strainer lined with cheesecloth or a coffee filter that has been placed in a larger container (i.e., bowl). Make sure there is plenty of room between the bottom of the strainer and the bowl, so that they whey can drain off. Set this in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight. The liquid in the bottom is the whey.

2 I use a combination of coconut crystals and liquid stevia, because I try to cut sweeteners wherever possible, for health reasons. The usual recipe calls for using 1/2 cup pure maple sugar to the other ingredient amounts listed above. It’s yummy with the maple syrup.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday blog carnival hosted by Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

You can follow me on Facebook by clicking on the link in the above, right-hand corner.

11 Responses to Fermented Ketchup

  1. Pierre says:

    I didn’t know ketchup could ferment!!!!!!!! O_O

    • Sure! Once upon a time (in the good old days, when food was really made of food), that’s how they were able to keep food for long periods of time. Though I prefer to make stuff from scratch, I even ferment store bought (organic) salsa. Just add some whey and let it sit out for 7 hours, then refrigerate.

  2. m says:

    Wow!!! Love your work!! This looks like a ton of fun, Yummy and the prettiest ketchup i have ever seen!!! I have never heard of these wonderful and unique ingredients in ketchup before- but it sounds just so tasty and looks beautiful!!! I love the idea of homemade HFCS-free Condiments!! Brilliant! You are just Brilliant!

  3. Lynne says:

    Shipping costs are terrible for those little bottles of fish sauce. I backed out and I’ll just use my real salt instead. Have to adjust the recipe…

    • Hi! Thank you for reading my post! I understand about shipping costs; they can really jack up the price of an item. I got my fish sauce from a food co op. I had to buy a case, but it lasts a really long time so I don’t have to worry about it going bad. They also sell it in many health food stores and also in places like Asian/Oriental stores. Another alternative, if you have access to whole fish, is to make your own. I really like the fish sauce. It smells terrible, but tastes great in foods like ketchup. I love to add more when I make homemade barbecue sauce. It is almost like liquid salt. 🙂
      Hope you are able to adjust your recipe and that it turns out great! Feel free to come back and let us know, for others who might not have access to fish sauce.


      • Lynne says:

        Thanks – I’ll try the Asian store…and I’m going to use the maple syrup, too, because I already have that.

  4. A~ says:

    Hi!, I am eager to try your ketchup recipe. I don’t have coconut crystals. How will it effect the taste if I use all stevia instead? Does stevia provide enough sugar to allow the fermentation to occur?

    • Hi! Thanks for stopping by and commenting! The coconut crystals and stevia aren’t necessary for fermentation, the whey is what makes that happen. The sweeteners are simply for taste, so you can adjust that with stevia to your liking. (The original recipe with maple syrup and my version with coconut crystals — which is reminiscent of molasses– just gives it a nice flavor) I have instructions in the footnote for how to obtain whey, but if you don’t have any you can still make the ketchup. It just won’t last as long. Hope that answered your question!


  5. John W says:

    Hi, love the article. My wife and I have our first batch going now that we used raw honey to make. I’d definitely like to try stevia next time. Can you substitute homemade powdered stevia instead? But my main question is, how do you know when it is ready to refrigerate? Can you tell by looking at it or is it a taste test? Thanks! John

    • Hi, John.Thanks for stopping by and for the kind comments! As far as substitution goes, it’s all a matter of taste. And that’s the nice thing about this recipe: you can taste it and adjust accordingly. I would just use caution in adding the stevia; go slowly as you add it. (Too much stevia is not a good taste!) In fact, no sweetener is even necessary, but it is what we’re used to. 🙂
      The finished product should taste about the same as the fermented product. In regards to fermenting time, a minimum would be 2 full days (according to Sally Fallon’s ‘Nourishing Traditions’). Other people, like Kristen of Food Renegade, suggest 3-5 days. I usually do a full 3. Here’s a video I found on Kristen’s site that includes a video on ketchup:


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