Ketchup is a condiment that takes up space at almost every table in America. It pairs perfectly with burgers, fries, hotdogs, chicken, and so much more; making it a beloved and staple condiment to almost any meal. Although it is one of America’s favorite condiments, the origins of ketchup actually start in Ancient China in the 1500s where its original ingredients were fermented fish and soybeans. It wasn’t until 1812 that the tomato ketchup that we all know and love was invented in Philadelphia. In 1876, Henry Heinz started mass producing ketchup and developed the ripe, red, and rich ketchup flavor that fills the shelves of grocery stores in today’s world.
Fermentation is the process by which bacteria and yeast consume sugars, digest them, and transform them into byproducts such as alcohol, organic acids, and gases. Although there are many different forms of fermentation, the one taking place in this recipe is lacto-fermentation. Lacto- fermentation is performed by a group of bacteria called lactic acid bacteria (LAB). This produces lactic acid, which is most famous for cheesemaking due to its ability to process lactose, aka milk sugar.
The process of making fermented foods like hot sauce and pickles begins when the vegetables are submerged in salt water. One of the best ways to make sure your vegetables stay submerged is with Fermentaholics glass anchor weights. LAB is already present on all plant matter, especially those that grow close to the ground, which makes the fermentation process easy for all vegetables. This process also creates enzymes and vitamins that make nutrients more bio-available in your body. Lacto-fermentation has been around as long as humans have been preserving food and is the reason we have classics in global cuisines like sauerkraut, kimchi, sourdough, and so much more! Be sure to check out our other fermented food guides, like our traditional sauerkraut recipe.