The History of Ketchup

Geo Beats
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Learn about the history of ketchup.

Jokes aside - let's admit it - ketchup is kind of a big deal - every year, people spend billions of dollars on it.

The sauce has quite a long history behind it, considering it dates back to imperial China.

by the way, why does everything seem to be invented in China thousands of years ago? Some say, even pasta? Let's come back to that another day, for now, we are diving deep into the bowels of ketchup.

So long time ago, it wasn’t the tomato ketchup that we all know, considering that many people in early times considered the fruit to be poisonous and refused to eat it. In roughly 300 B.C. a highly regarded pickled fish sauce from China was documented.

The paste-like, fermented concoction was derived from meat byproducts, soybeans and fish entrails. The fish sauce was commonly called “ge-thcup” and it spread to the Philippines and Indonesia.

British traders later discovered the salty sauce between the 1600 and 1700s and decided to alter the recipe. The Brits began utilizing varying vegetables and spices.

They decided to bottle their own sauce mixtures, which were derived from pickled walnuts and mushrooms. They called their sauce ‘catsup’. The first, written ketchup recipe appeared in Elizabeth Smith's The Compleat Housewife in 1727.

It listed shallots, anchovies, vinegar and white wine as the main ingredients. The recipe continued to transform and in the nineteenth century, ketchup was known as a tomato and soy flavored sauce. (3,4,1) So we've made it halfway to the world.

The early tomato ketchups seemed to originate in the United States and they were a thinner consistency, similar to that of worcestershire sauce.

In 1876, the company Heinz introduced ketchup as one of America’s first packaged foods.

The condiment appeared in a keystone glass bottle. In 1937, Heinz created a program to grow hybrid tomato varieties, made specifically for ketchup.

Today the company sells 650 million bottles of ketchup each year.

One of the new flavors - jalapeno ketchup

Pop quiz time - you find ketchup to be a) a life saver b) never heard of it c) i'm more of a mustard kind of guy.
Dumb & Dumber (1994)
Warner Bros.

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