One of the sad things about our SAD (Standard American Diet) diet is that most of us don't know that some of our staple foods used to actually have health benefits! Ketchup is a great example. As Sally Fallon describes in her cookbook Nourishing Traditions, "ketchup provides us with an excellent example of a condiment that was formerly fermented and therefore health promoting, but whose benefits were lost with large scale canning methods and a reliance on sugar rather than lactic acid as a preservative." She goes on to explain that the word "ketchup" comes from the Chinese Amoy dialect "ke-tsiap" or pickled fish-brine or sauce. So traditional ketchups had a fish sauce as part of the fermentation base.
As I mentioned in my goals for 2012 post, I want to become a "fermentation guru" this year... whatever that means! I guess to me it means I need to get busy learning how to ferment new things and ketchup was on the list. I had two resources that I looked at to make my attempt on ketchup, one was a recipe from Fallon's Nourishing Traditions and the other was from Jenny McGruther's Nourished Kitchen blog.
In my spare time (if only I had some!), I am taking her online fermentation class. I am sure if you google fermented ketchup there are a lot of things that you could find out there as well.
In any case, I am intrigued a bit more by Fallon's recipe because she calls for actual fish sauce... and as with many things in her book... you find that to make the fish sauce itself is actually a job in itself so you can take a 3 day detour making the sauce before you can actually get around to making the ketchup!
So off I started today making the fish sauce and lucky me I just so happened to have a bunch of anchovy fish heads in my freezer so I could get started making the sauce. (yes, it does occur to me that I am one of the few people in this country who put fish heads in their freezer knowing they WILL come in handy at some point! If you have read this far.... there is a good chance you may become one of these people too!)
Fallon's fish sauce calls for 1 1/2 pounds of small fish, including heads, 3 TBS sea salt, 2 cups filtered (very important) water, 2 cloves garlic mashed, 2 bay leaves crushed, pepper corns, several pieces of lemon rind, 1 TBS of tamarind paste (optional) and 2 TBS whey.
She suggests putting all the fish pieces in a wide mouth mason jar and then adding the salt as you pound down. You then add the remaining ingredients on top and make sure all is covered in water adding more if needed. This sits on the counter with a cover for about 3 days and then the liquid is strained out and that is the fish sauce.
Okay, that was a bit of a detour... but that is because I need that fish sauce to try out Fallon's ketchup recipe later this week! For today, I made a variation of Jenny's recipe and used the following:
I made 6 cups of tomato paste from scratch using tomatoes that I took the skin off of and then seeded and made into a paste. I put the 6 cups of tomato paste into a bowl and added about a half cup of maple syrup, 3 tsp of sea salt, 1 and 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 3 tsp cinnamon, a dash of chipotle powder, 6 tbs raw apple cider vinegar and then 3/4 cup of fresh whey. Jenny likes to use allspice also but I did not have any of that on hand so I experimented with the spices I listed to come up with something that tasted good to me. There is room for much creativity in coming up with just the right mix of spices to suit your taste.
I mixed all that up and put it in a half gallon mason jar and put a cloth over it to cover as I let it sit for 3 days on the counter. I am hoping to get some yummy ketchup in a few days and then get busy making Fallon's ketchup recipe which is similar but includes fish sauce instead of the vinegar and also adds some garlic and cayenne pepper.
The most important thing is that this kind of ketchup actually has lactobacilli from the fermentation process that gives you the good probiotics that your body needs for optimum health. The high fructose corn syrup stuff in the store is a far cry from what ketchup was meant to be. So be brave, my friends, and experiment with making some ketchup on your own... the way it was made for centuries before these last 100 years. You'll find a nice twang and it will give you an extra pep of energy too.
Also posted at Kelly the Kitchen Kop's Real Food Wednesday
This blog is a place to share my passion for cooking and inspire people to cook more from scratch. With six people in the family, cooking is something that is always on my mind. I want to share some of my favorite foods and recipes and share more about traditional diets (like the kind of food our great, great, great grandmothers would have made). Right now I am fascinated with fermented vegetables, coconuts, seafood with a cerviche twist and organ meats... although maybe not all in the same meal!