Fermented Ketchup

This is a recipe I started making after I decided to stop buying products with refined sugar.  This recipe is from Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions.  (A Must Have Book)

Take these ingredients and mix together in a blender.  Then put them into a quart jar with lid.

  • 3 C. canned tomato paste
  • 1/4 C. whey (I make this from Raw Milk)
  • 1 T. sea salt
  • 1/2 C. maple syrup
  • 1/4 t. cayenne pepper  (If you like spicy food… increase this.)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
  • 1/2 C. homemade or commercial fish sauce (Fish sauce can be found in Asian food stores or in the Asian Section of your favorite grocery store.)


Let sit at room temperature for a couple days to ferment and then place in the refrigerator.   Use on and in your favorite dishes that call for ketchup.  Grady loves it on potatoes as well as meatloaf.  We warn guests who want to try it that it doesn’t taste like store bought ketchup.  Try thinking about the flavor of tomato paste instead.

 Have you ever tried a recipe from Nourishing Traditions, what did you think?


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About Erin Phelan

Born and raised in western Michigan, Erin came to Polyface first as an intern in the summer of 2009. While here she met and got to know Grady Phelan, an apprentice at the time. The next spring they were married and after a couple years in Oklahoma they are back, working as sub-contractors for Polyface. Erin keeps herself busy with the jobs of a wife and mother, as well as helping with the animals, gardening, sewing, cooking, baking, knitting and reading.

12 Responses to Fermented Ketchup

  1. Maryam says:

    Not a bad idea…I don’t use much Ketchup these days. have migrated to salsa. I’d like to offer a suggestion though, buy tomato paste in a glass jar/bottle. So much of the canned tomato products come in cans with bpa in their lining.

    • Erin Phelan says:

      Thanks for your suggestion, I wish I could find tomato paste in glass. So far I use what I can get and am hoping that next year I have a good tomato crop that I can then use to make my own paste.

  2. I have a copy of Nourishing Traditions, but frankly, it overwhelms me a bit. I have made a few baked items, but I haven’t branched into fermented. I may try this one. There are so many yucky ingredients in ketchup these days!

  3. I have the book, but have yet to try any recipes. Many many years ago, I tried making ketchup with a surplus of tomatoes and found it to be an excrutiating amount of work for the return – and was disappointed that the result tasted nothing like Heinz. I’ve since had home made ketchup that I quite liked, again, not like the brand name stuff at all, but very nice all the same. .

  4. Cyndi Lewis says:

    Where does one obtain whey if you have no access to raw milk?

    • Maria says:

      You can drain whey out of plain yogurt. Simply line a sieve with a clean tea towel or a few layers of cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Pour in some yogurt and let sit/drain. The yogurt will get thicker and the clear-ish liquid that drains off is whey.

  5. I love that book! I made kombucha, but I followed some directions I found from a compilation of sources. I will try the ketchup recipe. I know that consuming fermented foods is so much better for you, I’m glad to see a ketchup recipe that is fermented. I just buy Trader Joe’s organic ketchup mostly, so I’m used to things that don’t taste like Heinz – and quite frankly, since I’ve developed a taste for food with pronouncable, normal ingredients, I actually love the tangy, tomatoe-y kick of the TJ ketchup instead of the lab-devised alternatives. Does anyone know if you can make paste from your home canned tomatoes? I wonder if I could use that in there. Great idea! I’m making homemade mustard right now (it’s on the shelf until it’s ready) – have you ever heard of the book Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It? I got the mustard recipe from in there. She even shows you how to make homemade marshmallows (not that people really should be eating whipped fluff of pure sugar, but once in the summer for s’mores is the only way I’ll let my family have those, so they’re happy for it!) and bacon. Cool book, anyway – just like Nourishing Traditions. Thanks for the project idea!

  6. Actually, I adopted this way of putting up tomatoes from Painted Hand Farm (Sandra Miller) and it results in just the products you need for this. When the annual August glut of tomatoes happens and I am way too busy and it is way too hot to even think about turning on the stove Sandra suggested freezing the tomatoes whole so that is what I did. I used large turkey bags, washed them and sucked the air out. When winter descends and steamy heat is welcome, you toss the frozen product in the oven and roast them. What you end up with is volumes of tomato water and a small clump of thick tomato goodness. First time I did this I removed way too much water which I used for vegetable soup (awesome flavor) but my sauce was way too thick. One 25 lb turkey bag (from Cornerstone Ventures) makes not only a pot of sauce but 7 quarts, too, which I can then. I don’t mind tomato seeds, I think they are powerhouses of nutrients but some might want to strain them out. So now you have your own tomato paste, not a canned variety. I have never seen paste in a jar, does anyone have a variety you can share? BPA freaks me out, I rarely buy stuff in cans and only if it is non reactive.

  7. Erin Phelan says:

    I have not heard of that book, but will check it out, sounds great!

  8. Laura says:

    Oh Erin aren’t you the true gardener? My tomato crop was practically a bust this year, too…eve worse than it was last year,…but every year I still say the equivalent of “Better luck next year!” Then when spring comes I can’t hardly wait to get into the garden! I remember the challenges of the previous years, try to make preparations for in case of a repeat and usually find new challenges every year. What varieties of tomatoes are you planning to plant next year? Got a greenhouse going?

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