Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Naturally Sweet Ketchup

Let me start by saying I have mixed thoughts on making my own ketchup and if you think I have gone too far now, so be it.  I have heard of others making it from scratch and thought it was crazy to go to that extreme.  At this point in life, we really do not use much ketchup any more.  But with the BBQ season starting, it has become the base for some BBQ sauces I am attempting as well as some tomato sauces I am trying.  And given there is a LOT of sugar in just a little bit of ketchup (like almost 1 tsp of sugar in just 3 tsps of ketchup), I figured trying my own recipe was worth it .  AND to my surprise, and that of my many guinea pigs who have tried it, it is really good and really simple.  It actually tastes like a tomato-based condiment rather than just a sweet red sauce.  So I would encourage you to give it a try and taste and see what a difference homemade makes (Jenn's ketchup is on the right in the picture above).

Jenn's Naturally Sweet Ketchup

1-5.5 oz can of tomato paste*
1/4 cup pure maple syrup or apple butter*
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
* = see cook's notes

Mix all the ingredients together and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use. Yields 1 3/4 cups of ketchup.

Cook's notes:
Make sure your tomato paste does not have added sugar in it.  READ the ingredient list, don't just look at the calorie label as tomatoes themselves offer natural sugar. 
If using maple syrup, please only pure maple syrup.  It will still raise your blood sugar so if that is a concern, you may prefer to use the apple butter (wellesley brand).  I don't have specifics on the glycemic index (GI) of the syrup vs apple butter but I know when doing the 8 week challenge, maple syrup was not allowed and apple butter was so I am assuming from that, the GI of apple butter is lower and therefore better for your body.  Your choice.  I have made both ketchup options and they don't really taste much different.
I don't know exactly how long this ketchup will last in your fridge because I usually have used mine up in a week or two.  Assuming it does not get contaminated from food/germs, it should last fairly long as the Heinz version does not have any preservatives either (other than a lot of sugar) and it lasts forever!

If you would like to know more about glycemic index, check out the link below.


  1. I'll have to try this recipe. I've also used a recipe from Food Renegade that adds whey (drained from yogurt) or starter fermentation to make it last, they say, several months in the fridge. I used it for regular ketchup and to use in meat loaf recipes, etc. Here's the link for the recipe, if you're interested: It includes a good video.

  2. Thanks for the comment and link Susan. That does look interesting with the whey added. I am pretty green in the area of fermented foods but have no doubt I am getting closer to trying it out myself. I have a strange bacteria phobia =) that kinda makes me squirmy on eating my foods like that.