From seeing Mcdonalds, KFC, Burger King, Dominos etc giving us free ketchup packets with our burgers or pizzas to some of our friends, eating just ketchup without anything else, we have witnessed a lot of moments starting and ending with Ketchup. Ever wondered how ketchup was made?

Anyways, we have a lot to Ketch up on now to find the answer to how ketchup started.

How did it all start?

There wasn’t even a thing called ketchup in the 17th century. But when these British invaders started roving, they found themselves missing the sweet tang of the food abroad. They specifically missed kê-tsiap, a thin, dark condiment that might have been either Cantonese in origin and meaning roughly “eggplant juice,” or a Malaysian version of a fermented fish sauce such as nam-pla. And voilà, they started trying to make some for themselves.

So how is eggplant and tomato sauce the same, you say? That was the thing. They didn’t know what were the ingredients required to make ketchup. So they started experimenting recipes to get the perfect ketchup they dreamed of. Some used fishy ingredients such as oysters and anchovies but others used walnuts, mushrooms, and other vegetables. This surely wouldn’t give the red color, would it? The first known recipe to actually include the tomatoes was published in 1812 by horticulturist James Mease but his recipe featured a multitude of spices, a splash of brandy, and no vinegar or sugar.

Doesn’t sound like something you’d put on a burger, does it? That’s because it certainly wasn’t. It was actually meant as an additive to soups, other sauces, and to savor the fish. it was used to describe everything from Indonesian soy sauce to tamarind chutneys to vinegary pastes of unripe nuts. But the issue was that tomatoes don’t grow all year round. Hence, many manufacturers confronted this unfortunate situation by loading their sauce with preservatives like coal tar and sodium benzoate. And soon, this treacherous monopoly came to an end.

In 1905, THE KETCHUP was made. Henry J. Heinz was convinced that if he could make a preservative-free ketchup that would last in the icebox, he would shine. He did it by using full, ripe tomatoes instead of scraps from the cannery floor, and increasing the vinegar content to never before seen levels. Once a door-to-door salesman transformed the food world overnight and launched his empire. Heinz company now produces more than 57 varieties of ketchup now.

So, this was the story behind how ketchup was invented.


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