My fascination with and passion for fermented foods seems to stop at nothing…including cultured condiments. A recent experiment with lacto-fermented ketchup has left me utterly in love with the stuff and uninterested in returning to its store-bought counterpart. Making lacto-fermented condiments is as simple as adding some fresh whey to the recipe and leaving the whole thing on the counter for a few days. The resulting flavors are complex, tangy, and satisfying. I’ve experimented with a few great lacto-fermented ketchup recipes, including one from Nourished Kitchen which I recommend if you like robust herbs like allspice & cloves.
The recipe below is my favorite, incorporating maple syrup which lends its characteristic caramel flavor & organic apple cider vinegar which gives the ketchup a nice tang. I also chose to use Muir Glen tomato paste since their cans are BPA-free. The whole fermentation process takes 3 to 5 days depending on your taste preferences, so don’t go grilling up those burgers just yet. But fear not, this ketchup is well worth the wait. So sit tight and plan several weeks to come worth of ketchup-enhanced meals!
- 3 cans of Muir Glen tomato paste (6 oz. each) OR approximately 2 cups of tomato paste
- ¼ cup organic maple syrup (other sweeteners like honey or organic sugar may be substituted)
- ¼ cup fresh whey, plus 2 Tablespoons (divided)
- 2½ Tablespoons organic, raw apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Spoon the tomato paste into a mixing bowl & mix in the maple syrup.
- Next, stir in ¼ cup of the whey, cider vinegar, and sea salt until well-mixed.
- Spoon the mixture into a wide-mouthed glass quart jar. Do your best to smooth the top of the mixture so that it is as flat as possible.
- Pour the remaining 2 Tablespoons of whey on top of the ketchup.
- Cover the jar loosely with a lid and set it on the counter for 3 to 5 days. When ready, give it a stir before refrigerating to allow some of the air bubbles (a byproduct of the lacto-fermentation) to escape.
Pretty easy, huh? Like other vegetable ferments, this recipe should keep well in your fridge for several months, just like the store-bought kind, but without any suspicious preservatives. My favorite way to eat it is atop homemade bean burgers. Let me know how yours turns out!