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Image: Pixabay

Think of ketchup and likely a tangy, bright red Heinz 57 will come to mind. But there are different types of ketchup and, interestingly enough, the original recipe didn't even have tomatoes in it! Traditionally, ketchup contained ingredients like mushrooms, egg whites, mussels, walnuts or oysters rather than tomatoes. The word "ketchup" referred to a vinegary sauce.

Mushroom and walnut ketchups are two of the oldest styles, and then there are other varieties like banana and mango ketchups, made with more exotic ingredients. The modern ketchup recipe is typically tomatoes, vinegar, seasonings, spices and sugar or sweetener.

The History of Ketchup

So how did this condiment get its name? In the 1600s, British and Dutch seamen brought a salty pickled fish sauce back from China. It was called "ketsiap" and was more like a cross between oyster sauce and soy sauce than the tomato ketchup we know today. Ingredients and spellings of the name developed over time. It was known as catchup in 1690 and finally ketchup by 1711.

Tasty Ketchup Ideas

This versatile condiment goes with fries, burgers, hot dogs, egg-based breakfasts, fried or grilled meat, chicken fingers, and hot sandwiches. It can be combined with other ingredients to make sauces and dressings. Mix a little ketchup and Worcestershire sauce with mayonnaise to make Marie Rose sauce, perhaps adding a splash of brandy or whisky for good measure. Use your judgment regarding the quantities.

You can also combine ketchup with sugar, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, hot sauce, garlic, mustard and salt to make barbecue sauce. Some people keep this condiment on a shelf in the pantry while others choose to refrigerate it. Either way is fine and the natural acidity should keep it tasting fresh if you opt for the shelf.

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Trust us, it's still sweet.

What is "Fancy" Ketchup?

Rather than referring to anything special in the ingredients, the term "fancy" is a USDA designation which can be used for ketchup which meets the guidelines for consistency, flavor and color. Such a ketchup should have fewer particles and specks than B or C-grade versions and minimal solid/liquid separation. A smooth, uniform texture, a lack of tomato seeds and skin, and an acidity value of more than 1 percent usually means ketchup can be called fancy on the label.

Ketchup Facts and Figures

Ketchup is spelled "catsup" in some regions, although both words refer to the same sauce. Most of the ketchup in the world is made by Heinz, followed by Hunt and Del Monte. It's the third bestselling sauce in the United States, after mayonnaise and salsa, perhaps because it blends the sweet with the savory and complements so many dishes. Ketchup might even sell more bottles than salsa, because we look at the total revenue rather than the actual amount sold, and ketchup tends to be much cheaper.

Have you ever been annoyed by how long your ketchup took to exit the bottle? According the Heinz, their ketchup flows at 0.028 mph, or half an inch per second. If that sounds faster than you think, remember some turtles travel at 0.5 mph on land. Anyway, if you just can't wait for that tomato-y deliciousness to flow, either tap the 57 on the bottle or stick a straw into the neck of the open bottle to increase air flow and coax that ketchup out!

This condiment is acidic because of the vinegar and tomatoes, meaning it can be utilized as a metal cleaner and polisher. It works especially well on steel, brass and copper. Some frugal motorists even use it to shine the outside of their cars.

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Image: Pixabay

Raising Cane's Dipping Sauce

If you love the dipping sauce from Raising Cane's and can't think of anything better to dip your chicken fingers into, try the following recipe. Use good quality ketchup and mayonnaise since they are the main ingredients. The sauce will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks and this recipe makes about a cup and a half.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup Heinz ketchup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

Mix all the ingredients together until the sauce is well-blended. Transfer the sauce into an airtight container and let it mellow for a few hours before serving, then keep chilled.

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