Ketchup's Chinese Origins
Ketchup's history begins in 17th century China with a sauce called 'ke-tsiap'. This version was a fermented fish sauce, vastly different from today's tomato-based ketchup.
British Adaptation and Variations
By the 18th century, British explorers encountered ke-tsiap and brought it home, adapting it with ingredients like mushrooms, walnuts, and sometimes anchovies, but not yet tomatoes.
Tomatoes Enter the Scene
Tomatoes were incorporated into ketchup recipes by the early 19th century in the United States, transforming it into the sweet and tangy condiment we recognize today.
Ketchup's Medicinal Claims
In the 1830s, ketchup was sold as a medicine, with claims it could treat diarrhea and indigestion. This was prior to the understanding of tomatoes' nutritional benefits.
Henry Heinz's Revolution
Heinz pioneered safe and hygienic manufacturing, introducing his preservative-free 'Heinz Tomato Ketchup' in 1876. His transparent bottles assured customers of the product's quality.
Unique Bottling Challenges
The distinctive slow pour of ketchup is due to its shear-thinning properties. Heinz even designed the 57 on the bottle's neck to indicate the optimal tapping point.
Global Ketchup Variations
Today, ketchup varies globally, influenced by local tastes. For example, in some Asian countries, ketchup is spicier and less sweet, while other variations include ingredients like mangoes or bananas.