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A bottle of Heinz Organic Ketchup
A bottle of Heinz Organic Ketchup

Ketchup (or less commonly catsup) also known as Red Sauce or Tomato Sauce is a popular condiment, usually made with ripened tomatoes. The basic ingredients in modern ketchup are tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, salt, allspice, cloves, and cinnamon. Onions, celery, and other vegetables are frequent additions. In the UK, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, Malaysia, Iran and New Zealand and the Middle East, the terms tomato sauce, red gravy or red sauce are variously used to refer to a vinegar-less variant of ketchup or the variety discussed in this article.

Ketchup has not always been made out of tomatoes. It started out as a general term for sauce, typically made of mushrooms or fish brine with herbs and spices. Mushroom ketchup is still available in some countries, such as the UK. Some popular early main ingredients include blueberry, anchovy, oyster, lobster, walnut, kidney bean, cucumber, cranberry, lemon, and grape.

The largest major commercial distributors of ketchup in the United States are the H. J. Heinz Company, Hunt's, Del Monte Foods, Red Gold, and Brooks Ketchup. Red Gold is the largest privately owned tomato processing company in the world and produces more than 90% of the ketchup that is found in the private label category.

Ketchup is often used for chips/fries, hamburgers, sandwiches and grilled/fried meats. Ketchup with mayonnaise forms the base of Thousand Island dressing and/or fry sauce. In communities where salad dressing was limited, cooks commonly combined mayonnaise and ketchup for dressing. This combination was commonly referred to as "salad dressing", not to be confused with commercial salad dressing, like Miracle Whip. Ketchup is also typically used as a base for barbecue sauce, especially in the Southeastern United States.


[edit] History

[edit] Early origins

Ketchup existed before anyone outside the Americas had ever seen a tomato. Originally this sauce was made out of pickled fish. It originated in Eastern Asia; the word ketchup is used in Chinese, Malay and Indonesian (e.g., kecap manis - traditional spelling 'kitjap manis'). English and Dutch sailors brought the Asian ketchup to Europe, where many flavourings, such as mushrooms, anchovies and nuts, were added to the basic fish sauce. Whether the tomato was also added to ketchup in England is not certain, and it is likely that this important event first happened in the USA.

[edit] Tomato ketchup

By 1801 a recipe for tomato ketchup was printed in an American cook book, the "Sugar House Book".[1] In 1824 a ketchup recipe appeared in The Virginia Housewife, an influential 19th-century cookbook written by Mary Randolph, Thomas Jefferson's cousin.

As the century progressed, tomato ketchup began its ascent in popularity in the USA, influenced by the American enthusiasm for tomatoes. Tomato ketchup was sold locally by farmers. A man named Jonas Yerks (or Yerkes) is believed to be the first man to have made tomato ketchup a national phenomenon. By 1837 he had produced and distributed the condiment nationally. Shortly, other companies followed suit. F. & J. Heinz launched their tomato ketchup in 1876.

Heinz tomato ketchup was advertised: "Blessed relief for Brother and the other men in the household!"

The Webster's Dictionary of 1913 defined "catchup" as a "table sauce made from mushrooms, tomatoes, walnuts, etc. [Written also ketchup]."

Modern ketchup emerged in the early years of the 20th century, out of a debate over the use of sodium benzoate as a preservative in condiments Harvey W. Wiley, the "father" of the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S., challenged the safety of benzoate. In response, entrepreneurs, particularly Henry J. Heinz, pursued an alternative recipe that eliminated the need for that preservative.

Prior to Heinz (and his fellow innovators), commercial tomato ketchups of that time were watery and thin, in part due to the use of unripe tomatoes, which were low in pectin. They were also less vinegary than modern ketchups; by pickling ripe tomatoes, the need for benzoate was eliminated without spoilage or degradation in flavor. But the changes driven by the desire to eliminate benzoate also produced changes that some experts (such as Andrew F. Smith[2]) believe were key to the establishment of tomato ketchup as the dominant American condiment.

Until Heinz, most commercial ketchups appealed to two of the basic tastes: bitterness and saltiness. But the switch to ripe tomatoes and more tomato solids added savoriness, and the major increase in the concentration of vinegar added sourness and pungency to the range of sensations experienced during its consumption. And because the elimination of benzoate was also accompanied by a doubling of the sweetness of ketchup, a balanced stimulation of all five types of taste buds produced an almost gestalt effect.[citation needed]

In the past, ketchup was produced from fresh tomatoes after harvesting. Vacuum evaporation made it possible to turn tomatoes into a very thick tomato paste that is easy to store at room temperature. This enables a factory to produce ketchup throughout the year.

[edit] Later innovations

Ketchup on a hot dog
Ketchup on a hot dog

Originally, ketchup was stored in glass bottles and was difficult to pour. While glass containers protected ketchup from moisture and oxidization, the physical properties of ketchup make it difficult to pour smoothly from a glass bottle. Without vigorous shaking, ketchup tends to stick to the inside of the bottle. Physicists explain this by noting that ketchup is a thixotropic power-law fluid. The introduction of polyethylene squeeze bottles made it easier to get the ketchup out. Today, glass ketchup bottles are seldom seen outside restaurants in the US, (Although still common in other countries worldwide, including Great Britain, Australia and Germany) as the plastic squeeze bottles are overwhelmingly more popular with consumers there.

In October, 2000, Heinz introduced colored ketchup products, which eventually included green, purple, pink, orange, teal, and blue.[3] These popular products were made by adding food coloring to the traditional ketchup. These products (as of January 2006) have been discontinued.[4]

Ketchup is commonly used on hamburgers
Ketchup is commonly used on hamburgers

[edit] Nutrition

The following table compares the nutritional value of ketchup with raw ripe tomatoes and salsa, based on information from the USDA Food Nutrient Database.

(per 100 g)
Ketchup Low sodium
USDA commodity
La Victoria
Salsa Brava, Hot
Energy 100 kcal
419 kJ
104 kcal
435 kJ
18 kcal
75 kJ
36 kcal
150 kJ
40 kcal
170 kJ
Water 68.33 g 66.58 g 94.50 g 89.70 g 88.67 g
Protein 1.74 g 1.52 g 0.88 g 1.50 g 1.36 g
Fats 0.49 g 0.36 g 0.20 g 0.20 g 1.11 g
Carbohydrates 25.78 g 27.28g 3.92 g 7.00 g 6.16 g
Sodium 1110 mg 20 mg 5 mg 430 mg 648 mg
Vitamin C 15.1 mg 15.1 mg 12.7 mg 4 mg 7.2 mg
Lycopene 17.0 mg 19.0 mg 2.6 mg n/a n/a

Ketchup packets from fast-food restaurants:

Restaurant Packet
Energy Sodium Carbo-
Arby's 9 g 10 kcal (42 kJ) 100 mg 2 g
Burger King 10 g 10 kcal (42 kJ) 127 mg 3 g
Jack in the Box 9 g 10 kcal (42 kJ) 105 mg 2 g

While it can hardly be considered a health food, ketchup has been found to be a beneficial source of lycopene, an antioxidant which fights some forms of cancer. This is particularly true of the organic brands of ketchup. In fact, organic brands were found to contain three times as much lycopene as non-organic brands.[5]

[edit] Viscosity

Ketchup (the tomato variety) is a thixotropic substance, which often results in difficulties of removing it from a glass bottle. Often a glass bottle will appear to be blocked. The "common" method (inverting the bottle and hitting the bottom with the heel of the hand) can often cause the ketchup to suddenly gain enough momentum to begin flowing, and due to the shear stress on a thixotropic substance, lose viscosity, and therefore flow even more, causing a significant amount of ketchup to flow out of the bottle (making a mess). Some people, seeking to avoid this problem, remove the product with the aid of a butter knife thrust into the opening. But this technique is generally slow and inefficient, and can potentially contaminate the ketchup.

There is a better technique that avoids both the thixotropic effect and the need for an inefficient tool. Known widely among caterers, it involves inverting the bottle and forcefully tapping its upper neck with two fingers (index and middle finger together). Specifically, with the Heinz Ketchup product, one taps the 57 circle on the neck. This helps the ketchup flow by applying correct G-forces.[6] Another solution to this problem appeared with the introduction of plastic squeeze bottles. More recently, Heinz and others have introduced an "upside-down" bottle, which further remedies the problem by keeping the remaining ketchup at the mouth of the bottle. These bottles are also fitted with a control valve in the nozzle designed to eliminate the buildup of ketchup in the cap after use.

[edit] Etymology

[edit] Early uses in English

The word entered the English language in England during the late seventeenth century, appearing in print as catchup and later as ketchup. The following is a list of early quotations collected by the Oxford English Dictionary.

  • 1690, B. E., A New Dictionary of the Terms Ancient and Modern of the Canting Crew
    • Catchup: a high East-India Sauce.
  • 1711, Charles Lockyer, An Account of the Trade in India 128
    • Soy comes in Tubbs from Jappan, and the best Ketchup from Tonquin; yet good of both sorts are made and sold very cheap in China.
  • 1730, Jonathan Swift, A Panegyrick on the Dean Wks. 1755 IV. I. 142
    • And, for our home-bred British cheer, Botargo, catsup, and caveer.
  • 1748, Sarah Harrison, The Housekeeper's Pocket-Book and Compleat Family Cook. i. (ed. 4) 2,
    • I therefore advise you to lay in a Store of Spices, ... neither ought you to be without ... Kitchup, or Mushroom Juice.
  • 1751, Mrs. Hannah Glasse, Cookery Bk. 309
    • It will taste like foreign Catchup.
  • 1817, George Gordon Byron, Beppo viii,
    • Buy in gross ... Ketchup, Soy, Chili~vinegar, and Harvey.
  • 1832, Vegetable Substances Used for the Food of Man 333
    • One ... application of mushrooms is ... converting them into the sauce called Catsup.
  • 1840, Charles Dickens, Barnaby Rudge (1849) 91/1
    • Some lamb chops (breaded, with plenty of ketchup).
  • 1845, Eliza Acton, Modern Cookery v. (1850) 136 (L.)
    • Walnut catsup.
  • 1862, Macmillan's Magazine. Oct. 466
    • He found in mothery catsup a number of yellowish globular bodies.
  • 1874, Mordecai C. Cooke, Fungi; Their Nature, Influence and Uses 89
    • One important use to which several ... fungi can be applied, is the manufacture of ketchup.

The spelling catsup seems to have appeared first from the pen of Jonathan Swift, in 1730.

[edit] The China connection

The most popular theory is that the word ketchup was derived from "koe-chiap" or "ke-tsiap" in the Amoy dialect of China, where it meant the brine of pickled fish or shellfish.[7] Some people prefer the Malayan word "kechap" (spelled ketjap by the Dutch), which may have come from the Chinese in the first place. The Malay word means taste. And in some time in the late seventeenth century, the name and some samples might have arrived in England where it appeared in print as "catchup" in 1690 and then as "ketchup" in 1711. These names stuck with the British, who quickly appropriated them for their own pickled condiments of anchovies or oysters.

The exact Chinese characters for kôechiap have been disputed:

  • Theory 1: "ketchup" means "": "" is the Chinese character for "eggplant" or a shortened form of "tomato" (, literally "foreign eggplant"). "Ketchup" means "" or "tomato juice (sauce)."
    • Pronunciation in modern Taiwanese dialect (mainly Hokkien dialect): kio-chiap (kio as in "kyo" in Tokyo, chiap as in "chap" in chaplain but with the added "i"). The word derives from two words: kio taken from "Ang Mor Kio" (, literally "red-fur eggplant," "red-fur" as in red-haired foreigners), meaning "tomatoes" in Hokkien dialect. Chiap simply means "juice," "sauce," or "gravy." Therefore kio-chiap means tomato(kio) sauce(chiap).
    • The pronunciation in modern Cantonese is ke-jup - pronounced remarkably the same as the English ketchup but with emphasis on the "ke" and the Voiceless postalveolar affricate "ch" sound is altered to a "j" pronunciation. Similar to the Taiwanese, the word derives from the meaning of two words, Ke, taken from "Fan Ke" meaning tomatoes in Cantonese and jup meaning juice or sauce or gravy. Therefore, ke-jup means "tomato sauce."
  • Theory 2: "Ketchup" derives from - is the Chinese character for "salmon" (鮭魚), or more generically, "fish." Therefore, "ketchup" means "" or "fish sauce".
    • Pronunciation in modern Taiwanese dialect: (kôe) + (chiap)
    • Pronunciation in modern Cantonese: (gwai1) + (jap1)

[edit] Ketchup and U.S. politics

In 1981, Congress ordered the United States Department of Agriculture to issue new standards for federally financed school lunch programs, which would enable schools to economize; one of the USDA's proposals was to classify ketchup as a vegetable. The suggestion was widely ridiculed and the proposal was killed. [1]

In 2004, presidential challenger John Kerry's ties to H. J. Heinz Company through his wife, Teresa Heinz, led some supporters of George W. Bush to create an alternative called W Ketchup so as not to add to his opponent's campaign coffers.[8]

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has prohibited the use of the word "ketchup" on product labels unless the product conforms to a set of strict guidelines. Despite the more general origins of the word, all products marketed as ketchup in the United States must be made from tomatoes, and the viscosity of the sauce must be within a very narrow range. The nutrient content of the sauce is also tightly regulated.

[edit] Ketchup in Popular Culture

Garrison Keillor's radio show A Prairie Home Companion regularly features advertisements from the fictitious "Ketchup Advisory Board", which encourages the use of ketchup as an emotional stabiliser.[9]

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Other non-commercial recipes

[edit] References

  1. ^ Taken from "The Sugar House Book", 1801.
    1. Get [the tomatoes] quite ripe on a dry day, squeeze them with your hands till reduced to a pulp, then put half a pound of fine salt to one hundred tomatoes, and boil them for two hours.
    2. Stir them to prevent burning.
    3. While hot press them through a fine sieve, with a silver spoon till nought but the skin remains, then add a little mace, 3 nutmegs, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and pepper to taste.
    4. Boil over a slow fire till quite thick, stir all the time.
    5. Bottle when cold.
    6. One hundred tomatoes will make four or five bottles and keep good for two or three years."
    The salt in this recipe, which served as a preservative, yields an extremely salty taste. This recipe is important because tomato was not widely accepted by people in North America in the early 1800s. Many believed it was poisonous.
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  5. ^ Ishida B, Chapman M (2004). "A comparison of carotenoid content and total antioxidant activity in catsup from several commercial sources in the United States.". J Agric Food Chem 52 (26): 8017-20. PMID 15612790. 
  6. ^ How to pour Ketchup (Catsup). Full technical explanation. (English). Retrieved on 07-22-2006.
  7. ^ In the Chinese Amoy dialect, "kôechiap" or "kê-tsiap" signifies "brine of pickled fish or shell-fish" (The Oxford English Dictionary, Douglas Chinese Dict. 46/1, 242/1).
  8. ^
  9. ^