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Ketchup, from 'guilty pleasure' to a true health booster

Somtimes condiments are so average, we stop thinking about them. Ketchup is a good example. You'll find it in most kitchens and it's indispensable on our toasts, vegan burgers and fries, but it is also loaded with sugar and preservatives.

Imagine if you could make ketchup healthy, and not just a little, but brimming with super healthy bacterias and yeast. That would instantly change that renown red sauce from a guilty pleasure into a health booster. Next time your kids beg for ketchup you will make them drown their food in it. Complex? Not if you follow the fermentation recipe below; you will feed the sugars to the healthy microbes and the salt will terminate all unwanted bacterias.

We are currently in the middle of an abundant tomato season and tomatoes are being picked in large amounts. The perfect time to start making your own ketchup as a wide variety of tomatoes makes the ketchup even more tasty! If you don't have a vegetable garden you will find all these colourfull variations at a well stocked greengrocer. But it's also wel worth visiting a local farmersmarket or the little veg stalls in the countryside. If you do not have that opportunity storebought tomatoes will also do.

You will find a basic fermentation recipe below. Be creative and make your own variation; how about ginger, cinnamon, bayleaves or peppers? Just be sure keep the salt ratio unchanged and be sure to follow all steps to safely ferment.

Tomato ketchup


1kg tomatoes 40gr sugar 2 garlic cloves 1 red union 1tbs five spice powder 1tsp grounded pepper 1tsp paprika powder salt 1 tbs starter liquid (i.e. waterkefir, kraut- or pickle brine)


1. Put all ingredients, except the starter, in a foodprocessor and make it in to a puree.

2. Heat the puree in a pan on a stove untill it boils down into a ketchup like consistency.

3. Let it cool down untill ambiant temperature. If you skip this step the high temperature will kill all microbes in you starter in the next step.

4. When cooled down, mix in your starter liquid.

5. Weigh your sauce and calculate 1,5%. This is the weight of salt. Stir the salt through your tomato sauce.

6. Put the puree in a clean round wide mouth jar, leaving 3cm of headspace.

7. Clean the edges and the top of the jar and close it.

8. Let ferment for 3 to 4 days at the countertop at ambiant temperature.

9. When your ketchup get’s really active you might want to burp it every now and then. You burp by cautiously, but fast, opening and closing the jar to let the gas out.

10. After 3-4 days your healthy ketchup is finished and you can eat it or keep it for long in

your fridge or any cool place like a cellar.

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