I started making my own ketchup a few months ago. It’s simple to make, is arguably tastier than the store-bought version, and I feel a bit better about eating it when I can control what goes in it (i.e. no high fructose corn syrup). Don’t get me wrong, it still has sugar in it – there’s no disguising this as a healthy-eating blog! – but at least the ingredients are recognizable.
However, I recently decided to read the ingredients on a bottle of Heinz Ketchup here in France, and was quite surprised to find this:
Those ingredients are: tomatoes (148 g per 100 g of tomato ketchup), vinegar, sugar, salt, extracts of spices and herbs (contains celery), spice.
That’s it!! Real tomatoes? Just plain ol’ sugar? Really?
So at this point, I called my Mom and got her to send me a picture of the ingredients on the Heinz Ketchup bottle in Canada:
Ingredients: tomato paste (made from fresh ripe tomatoes), liquid sugar, white vinegar, salt, potassium chloride, spices, flavours, onion powder, garlic powder.
Huh. So we lost the real tomatoes, added extra (liquid) sugar, and some random “flavours”.
So then I got really curious and had to find out what’s in American Heinz ketchup (picture from here, because I don’t know anyone in the States well enough that I can ask for pictures of their ketchup…):
Ingredients: tomato concentrate from red ripe tomatoes, distilled vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, salt, spice, onion powder, natural flavouring.
Aha! I knew there was corn syrup in there somewhere. This is all very odd, but it definitely seems that France is the best place to buy your ketchup!
Anyway, I digress. I didn’t intend to carry out a full ketchup investigation here, but it is pretty interesting. In any event, even if the ketchup here in France is not so bad for you, I’ll keep making my own because it tastes so good!
makes about 1 ½ cups
700 g ripe tomatoes
85 g white vinegar
70 g sugar
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon celery seed
sprig of fresh rosemary
Coarsely chop up the tomatoes and remove the hard stem piece.
Add the tomatoes and all other ingredients to a medium pot. Cook over medium high heat until everything is broken down, stirring occasionally.
Reduce the heat to medium, and continue cooking until the mixture is quite thick – it should somewhat hold its shape when stirred.
Remove the stem from the rosemary sprig and discard. Transfer the mixture to a blender, and blend on high speed until completely smooth.
Store in a jar in the refrigerator.