Ketchin’ Up – Spiced Style

tomato ketchup

Tomato ketchup tastes good. I like mine heavily spiced!

In keeping with the idea that anyone can stand to be outside in this punishing humidity, I offer you (readers from the Central Coast of California, parts of the world where it’s currently winter and Northern Europe, I’m guessing) a fun fermented condiment to go with your grilled goods.  Like mustard, I would say that if you’re the type to make your own, why not ferment it?  If you aren’t, then take a read and a gander and come back later for more essential things to ferment.

In case you didn't know.

In case you didn’t know.

My gold-standard ketchup is a homemade version that comes from Sam’s Morning Glory Diner, here is the Bella Vista neighborhood of Philly.  I love Morning Glory.  A few years ago,  I had to have back surgery following years of physical therapy that didn’t quite fix me after I got hit by a car (caution: explicit language lies behind that link).  My surgeon was a super-cool and in demand dude, so for my post-surgical check-ups, I  had to go in at 6am.  The first time, I wasn’t crazy about it, but then I realized that I would be able to stop at Morning Glory on the way home for some from-scratch brunch and I was totally good with those groggy mornings.  Morning Glory is tiny, and on weekends, the wait is prohibitively long and the tattooed and efficient staff are more harried than friendly.  But, as I discovered on my walk home from these surgical follow-ups, getting in there with staff asmilin’ to enjoy their famous, three-meal-sized frittatas, pecan waffles, house-made granolas and jams and insane biscuits is as simple as walking through the door on a weekday morning.  It’s a diner, for sure, but  love and some seriously good recipes are behind the spot’s long brunch reign.

I have a goal when I go to Morning Glory: Make sure someone orders something that will require ketchup.  They serve it in recycled wine bottles, and it’s thin and easily pourable. Although it’s not quite perfect (my version is thicker, spiced differently and, of course, fermented), the Morning Glory ketchup is definitely the inspiration here.

Spiced, Fermented Ketchup

The spices here can totally be optional, but I love a heavily spiced ketchup, so I went nuts.  I went heavy on the clove, because I like it and the morning glory version is noticeably clovey.  Feel free to omit any spices that you don’t love, since this is definitely a heavily spiced ode to the good ol’ MG ketchup.

I didn’t add any salt because my kraut juice contained all the salt I wanted.  If you use a different starter, add a pinch or two of salt.


1 cup tomato paste

1 1/2 cups drained, canned tomatoes (or sub ~4 medium, fresh, milled tomatoes), canned liquid reserved

1 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon cayenne (omit if you don’t like heat)

1 teaspoon clove

1 cup sauerkraut juice

2 tablespoons maple syrup


1.  Combine all ingredients except sauerkraut juice and maple syrup. Put them in a sauce pan over medium heat and cook for 40 minutes, stirring regularly. When the mixture has thickened a bit, stir in the maple syrup.

2. Remove from heat and bring back to room temperature. If you find the mixture  has gotten thicker than you like, use the reserved canning liquid to thin it out a bit, a tablespoon at a time. Add the sauerkraut juice.

2.  Pour into a 1 1/2 pint jar and tighten the lid.

3.  Let it sit at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours or until the lid has puffed up and is a bit rigid.

4.  I like to give it another whirl in the food processor to smooth it out even more after fermentation.

5.  Refrigerate and consume with abandon (GREAT on eggs!)

squiggly ketchup

Be the hit of the BBQ


  1. says

    I love that this uses sauerkraut juice! I don’t have any sauerkraut bubbling away right now, but I’m bookmarking this recipe for this winter.

    • Amanda says

      Thanks, Andi! I think it adds a little something special. Definitely slower than whey, but still does the trick and adds flavor.

    • Amanda says

      It will keep for a long time (months), but it will continue fermenting in the fridge, so the flavor with change and become more sour.

      I hope that helps!


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