Facts About Ketchup

Ketchup facts you never knew. Despite popular misconceptions, ketchup is no new commodity. Its history started in the 1690s when the Chinese concocted a pickled fish and spices mixture. They called this koe-chip, which means the brine of pickled fish (it’s come far, huh?). This sauce made its way to the tables of British explorers by the 18th century, when it traveled to Malay (nowadays called Malaysia). By then, it had adopted a new name: kechap.

Facts About Ketchup

The Not-So-Popular Tomato

Not until sometime later did the tomato version appear. But that’s because people weren’t very fond of the tomato. Up until 1710, it wasn’t grown in the United States and even after was only planted for ornamental purposes. People didn’t eat it because the fruit looked nightshades, a poisonous cousin to the tomato plant.

Ketchup Preservation

The first modern-day ketchup recipe wasn’t technically far off from today’s, but boy, did it have sodium. To fill 4 or 5 bottles, one would need 100 tomatoes and a pound and a half of salt, which is about 5 to 6 cups per bottle. Today, a ketchup bottle has a few tablespoons of salt at most. But back then, they were adding it in large quantities because it was a preservative, allowing the condiment to be kept on the shelf for years.

Safe to Consume

In 1812, another recipe surfaced via publication in The Virginia Housewife magazine, helping increase ketchup’s popularity. Curiously, people still didn’t eat raw tomatoes even after they’d stocked their pantry shelves with the condiment. Since the tomatoes had to be cooked to make ketchup, they were thought safe to consume.

Worldwide Popularity

Generally, it was sold locally by farmers until Jonas Yerkes came along. He produced and distributed the condiment nationally, paving the way for other companies, such as F.&J. Heinz, who launched their first tomato ketchup in 1876. Since then, its popularity has dramatically spread (along with the consumption of raw tomatoes). Today, ketchup is consumed worldwide.

Even More Ketchup Facts

      • Ketchup can be used as a cleaning agent for copper. The acid it contains removes tarnish and makes copper shine like new.
      • Ketchup is the most widely used condiment in US households, as a whopping 96% of them have it in their pantries.
      • Ever wonder why you have a choice of fanciness? It’s got nothing to do with sophistication, just how solid you want it.
      • The average person consumes about three bottles of ketchup each year.
      • Baskin Robbins tried to pull off a Ketchup flavored ice cream. Never heard of this story? Yeah, that’s probably because it was discontinued shortly after its creation. Oh, the shame.
      • The spelling catsup appeared first in 1730 via the pen of Jonathan Swift.

Catchy Gifts

We do not have any gift baskets that include ketchup, but it’s always possible we’ll create one that does. For now, discover many other intriguing condiments in our gourmet gift baskets!

© Featured photo by phasinphoto from Getty Images