The Essential History of Ketchup

The Essential History of Ketchup

One of the most popular condiments in the U.S. is ketchup, but most of us don’t know the history behind it. Therefore, without further ado, read on for the essential history of ketchup!

The Name

“Ketchup” is actually the general name for a range of spice, salty, rather liquid condiments, according to The Oxford Companion to Food. While being a part of western cuisine, ketchup actually has oriental origins. The word “ketchup” comes from a Chinese word (in the Amoy dialect) “kétsiap,” which means “fermented fish sauce.” The word and the sauce were brought back to Europe by Dutch traders. While the word has stayed relatively the same, the sauce itself has changed quite bit. The popular tomato ketchup is not only the best known ketchup, but almost the only one left these days.

Other Ketchups

Another type of ketchup is mushroom ketchup, thought to be the first kind in Britain. People used to pickle mushrooms just for the mushrooms, but then started using the pickle sauce by itself. Various other ingredients have also been used to make ketchup, including, but not limited to, mussels, oysters, and walnuts. These would be blended with garlic, spices, onions, wines and/or spirits to create varying flavors.

The Popularity of Tomato Ketchup

As tomato products became more and more popular, tomato ketchup came on the scene around the 1830s. It became instantly popular in the United States and you could say it is America’s “national condiment.” In fact, it is almost on every restaurant table! Some of the most popular foods that are eaten with ketchup include hot dogs/corn dogs, hamburgers/cheeseburgers, and, of course, french fries! Ketchup is also used in soups, marinades and sauces. Have you ever used ketchup in pasta sauce? How about dipping your grilled cheese sandwich in a little ketchup? Ultimately, the tomato condiment has carved a nice kingdom for itself.

>> Homemade Ketchup Recipe – Easy and Delicious!

Ketchup Fun Facts

An article about ketchup would not be complete without a few fun facts!

  1. There are about 10 whole tomatoes in each Heinz ketchup bottle.
  2. If you’re having trouble getting the ketchup to pour out of the bottle, put a drinking straw down to the bottom of the bottle. The air that goes to the bottom will help it pour easier.
  3. Heinz ketchup company buys more than two million tons of tomatoes every year!
  4. Ketchup was only recently surpassed as the most widely used condiment in the U.S. In 2013, salsa sales were higher than ketchup.
  5. 97% of kitchens in the United States have ketchup.
  6. Heinz ketchup has a speed limit. It is only approved for distribution if it comes out of the glass bottle at 0.045 km/h.

The Author:

At Tasti-Lee, we love tomatoes more than any other fruit (or vegetable). To learn more about our tomatoes, feel free to visit our website at

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