The other day I decided that I wanted to mix up my post a little bit. I came up with an idea to start a post of unknown facts about food, (since I have so many stupid facts in my weird brain) what a better way to shake things up.
Yes I know ketchup is a weird place to start unknown facts at but all the signs pointed to me that it was the best place to begin, Let me explain. So I came up with this idea on the way home from school.
I am a marketing student and I just started back to school this week. A few of my friends and I were standing around smoking and joking and having a conversation about something, who remembers what, and all the sudden I blurt out my mouth a stupid fact about wine, one of those things I do when I am socializing.
On the bus home I started thinking about adding weird facts to my blog to mix things up. When I got home, like any good computer geek I started doing some research on the internet for strange facts on food and the first thing that popped up on the list was Ketchup.
Did I mention that the mandatory assignment that I am doing for my marketing class is a survey on Ketchup. I just thought that this was to coincidental to be ignored so my first strange food fact was BORN. The food fact that started me out on this quest was the original tomato ketchup was used as a medicine. The more I researched this fact the more I realized this is just another mothers myth told threw the years.
Yes ketchup was marketed as a medicine in the 1830’s by a Dr. Miles as his, Compound Extract of Tomato, it was said to cure anything from baldness to athlete’s foot, and everything else you could think of. This of course was not the case and was quickly defuncted, but before this happened the H.J. Heinz company made numerous scientific studies, and they proved tomatoes had antioxidants which were beneficial in preventing cancers, unfortunately as we know today these are in such small amounts in ketchup that they benefits are next to nil.
The first actual recipe recorded for tomato ketchup was in 1801,this recipe was created by Sandy Addison and later printed in the Sugar House Book an, american cookbook. The following is the recipe she developed.
- 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.
- Stir them to prevent burning.
- 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.
- Boil over a slow fire till quite thick, stir all the time.
- Bottle when cold.
- One hundred tomatoes will make four or five bottles and keep good for two or three years.
Before tomato ketchup came along it was more commonly made with mushrooms and chestnuts.
I did actually find an early mushroom ketchup recipe but it was a bit hard to read so I found a modern day version of it on: http://www.celtnet.org.uk/:
- For every 1 liter of mushroom juice: 1 liter of stale beer
- 1 stick of horseradish
- 6 bayleaves
- 1 onion, stuck with 20 cloves
- 7.5g black pepper
- 7.5g white pepper
- 7.5g mace
- 7.5g nutmegs
- 7.5g allspice berries
- 5 bulbs of fresh ginger, peeled
- Wipe the mushroom caps clean, remove the stalks and lay in a deep dish.
- Scatter salt over the top then set aside to extract the excess liquid until the following morning.
- Scrape off the excess salt then break the mushroom caps into chunks.
- Bring a pan of water to a boil, add the mushroom pieces and blanch for 2 minutes.
- Turn into a fine-meshed sieve and allow to drain.
- Place the sieve on top of a clean bowl then press the mushrooms through with the back of a wooden spoon.
- Transfer the mushroom pulp into a clean tea towel then wring out as much of the mushroom liquid as you can.
- Turn the liquid into a measuring jug then, to each 1l of the liquid add 1l stale beer, a stick of horse-radish shaved, 6 bayleaves, 1 onion, stuck with 20 cloves, 7.5g black pepper, 7.5g white pepper, 7.5g mace, 7.5g nutmegs, beaten in a mortar, 7.5g allspice berries, 5 generous bulbs of ginger.
- Combine all these ingredients in a pan, bring to a boil, reduce to a gentle simmer, cover and cook until the volume has reduced by a third.
- Strain through a jelly bag or a fine-meshed sieve lined with muslin or cheesecloth. Set the liquid aside to cool then pour into washed and sterilized bottles or jars.
- Seal securely then set aside in a cool, dark, cupboard until needed.
There is so much out there on Ketchup I could keep going on for pages and pages, I even found an entire book devoted to the most loved condiment in the world. Some say the fine condiment started in China some say it was Japan and others say it was Malaysia but Ketchup as we know it today is a totally different thing now than it was then. This we know for sure Ketchup is consumed in just about every corner of the world and loved by millions.
Ketchup is here to stay so you may as well ENJOY.
By David Green