Homemade Ketchup (Lacto-Fermented)

"Support bacteria - they're the only culture some people have."
-Stephen Wright

Every six months or so we try to get back on track with more healthful eating habits after sliding off-track a bit. This means getting back to R
EAL food, and less of the uber-refined, and packaged stuff. Made mostly from scratch using good, whole foods, wholesome ingredients, organically grown, and in season whenever possible.

In that vein, recently I have been reading about lacto-fermented foods (click), and I'm convinced this method which nurtures beneficial bacteria are something I want to incorporate into our diet, to encourage good intestinal flora and digestion.

These are no drastic changes, but ones we can live with. I'll be posting about some of these foods and I hope you enjoy coming along with me, and hopefully you'll find some things you can incorporate into your own menus for healthier eating.

This recipe for tomato ketchup is but one ex
ample of how to tuck some lacto-fermentation goodness into your diet.

The recipe calls for whey* ~ I used whey collected from yogurt while draining the yogurt to make yogurt "cream cheese", but you can skip this step and use water instead.

Draining the whey from natural, plain yogurt while making Yogurt "Cream Cheese". (I'll be sharing some ways of how to use the yummy Yogurt Cream Cheese in a future post.)

Although we don't eat a lot of ketchup I do use it as a condiment, in sauces/dressings/dips, and it's fabulous in my homemade BBQ/Grilling sauce, too.

The recipe is from a wonderful blog, GNOWFGLINS, created and hosted by Wardeh Harmon. Wardeh and her husband and children live here in Oregon and embraces the organic, whole, made from-scratch way of life. Recently she blogged this recipe, from her friend Erin who lives in Anchorage, Alaska and was featured on "Real Food Wednesdays" hosted by
Kelly the Kitchen Kop. I hope you'll stop by and say hello to these two very creative bloggers.

This is a quick and easy version of ketchup as it starts with canned tomato paste ~ I use organic, unsalted.
I tweaked the recipe, just a little bit to suit our tastes ~ it's absolutely delicious and the great thing is that you can play with it to adjust the ingredients to your own taste.

Here's the recipe ~ and if you would like a PRINTABLE copy, please scroll down for the link to my recipe blog.

Homemade Tomato Ketchup (Lacto-Fermented)
Yield: About 1 1/2 cups

12 ounces organic tomato paste (no salt added)
1/4 cup water
1/8 cup whey* (or an additional 1/8 cup water)
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar; I prefer natural raw, organic for this recipe (i.e. Bragg's)
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard (dry mustard)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
big pinch garlic powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sea salt (to taste)
1/4-1/3 cup sweetener of your choice (agave syrup, honey, maple syrup, molasses, barley malt, or a combination of any of those.)

Note: This recipe is a basic guideline, so start with 1 Tablespoon vinegar, and add more to your taste. (I use the full 2 Tablespoons.) You may prefer to add more sweetener if you like a sweeter ketchup, and be sure to taste after you mix it, adjusting seasonings to your liking... the ketchup mellows as it ages.


Place all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl (glass or enamel), and whisk together until completed blended. Pour or ladle sauce into clean, dry containers (I prefer glass). Cover and leave at room temperature for two days (to encourage fermentation.) After two days store in refrigerator.

Whey is the residual liquid left during the cheesemaking process~ I use the whey (liquid) that separates from natural, unflavored yogurt. I collect it when I make healthy and delicious yogurt cheese (great substitute for sour cream or cream cheese). For directions click

If you would like a printable copy of the recipe, please check Once Upon a Plate Recipes ~ click HERE.

Kitchen Tip:

Although there was no leftover tomato paste from this recipe, often I find a recipe which calls for only 1 tablespoon of tomato paste. The stuff in the tube is fairly expensive compared to the cans, so I buy the cans and package the unused portions in 1 tablespoon-sized scoops.
I twist each tablespoon of tomato paste in plastic wrap or waxed paper squares, (not aluminum foil---the acid in tomatoes eats through the metal). Then freeze until firm and place them into an airtight container, such as a plastic zip bag and freeze. It's so easy to just reach into the freezer, remove one or two, unwrap and add to a pot of simmering soup or sauce.
Frozen, and ready to store in airtight container (zip bag) in the freezer.

Thanks for stopping by today, friends!


  1. Good, healthful ideas. Thank you for sharing. ~ Sarah

  2. Thanks for a great recipe, Mari. Now that tomatoes are in season, whether at the store or in our gardens, this will be fun to make. I am surprised to see cloves in the recipe. Who would have thought?!

    Thanks for the tip on tomato paste. I hate those half empty jars in the fridge.

    Hope you are having a wonderful summer! :-)


  3. I don't eat much ketchup, but I'm sure this would beat the store-bought kind anyday! I do the same thing with my tomato paste... only let dollops freeze on a paper plate, then pop them into a zip-lock bag!

  4. Interesting - it has never occurred to me to make homemade ketchup, but I might have to give it a try. Thanks so much for the tomato paste freezer tip - I frequently have that problem. What a great way around it. :)

  5. Thanks for the recipe. I'm definetly going to share this with my girlfriend, between the two of us we'll be able to make a lot and enjoy the fun along with the work.. hugs ~lynne~

  6. wor, this homemade ketchup look so healthy and good, Thanks for kind sharing.

  7. Mari, I love to make anything homemade~ and your post and delicious sounding recipe just makes me so excited. I can't wait to try this!
    I put my tomato paste in ice cube trays and freese it. Pop them out and put them in a container in the freezer. Great tip!!!!! Love the individual wrapping!
    Can't wait to make this ketsup!

  8. Homemade ketchup is one of those things we can peresonalize. You have given me the inspiration to give it a try.

  9. Wow!!!!!! Mary this looks totally amazing! I bet it is delicious too!

  10. Hi Mari!
    Forgot to comment on how adorable your little chicken palace was!! So darn cute.

    The ketchup looks amazing in color!

  11. You had me at homemade ketchup....Thank you.

  12. This looks so good, Mari! I can't wait to try it! Thanks for the tip on freezing tomato paste too! XO, Pinky

  13. great post! i need to get back on track too, but its quite difficult you know. anyhow i love making homemade sauces and relishes, so ill defintely give this a go!

  14. thanks for sharing this one..its awesome and so handy. The pictures look incredible.

  15. Thank you for this great recipe! I have been becoming more interested in fermented foods also, and had no knowledge of fermented ketchup. Plus, it's just fun to make something yourself, isn't it?! The link to GNOWFGLINS is great too, we just spent a week eating only local food, and her blog is right up my alley! Hope you are enjoying your summer. It's hot here too, 102 today!

  16. thanks for this. i was searching for a homemade ketchup that didn't require fish sauce, and this was basically the only one i've found! i've made it twice now, without the allspice or cloves. and it's yummy. storebought now tastes wayyy to sugary for me!


Thank you for your comments, friends ~ they make my day!

A Sampling of my food . . .


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