At the risk of sounding like a lyrical jingle from the Minnesota Public Radio show Prairie Home Companion, today’s blog is brought to you by ketchup. Ketchup you ask? If you’ve ever read the ingredients on any of the popular brands you know that most of them contain high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, and natural flavoring. These aren’t necessarily the first things you might want to see your kids eat, but almost any kid in this country loves ketchup – and the salty, fried foods that we tend to occupy the space aside the ketchup. Read on for a tip on how to make this popular condiment a better eating experience for your little one.

photo by Lisa Missenda

photo by Lisa Missenda

Why ferment ketchup? Primarily, if you are making ketchup at home, you know exactly what ingredients you’re adding and you can keep out the refined sugar (or corn syrup content). Secondly, eating fermented foods can support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria that can promote health by improving both digestive and immune system functions in the body.

90 percent of the cells on and in your body aren’t actually you – they are the trillions of microscopic bacteria and viruses that make up the human biome. Approximately 100 million (3-13 lbs worth) of these live in your digestive system. When you eat fermented foods you ingest some of the good bacteria and help you digestive system repopulate the good bacteria, which can be wiped out by a course of antibiotics, or a diet that’s heavy in refined sugars and fatty meats.

Of course adding fermented ketchup is not a magic bullet. It is one tiny step that can be added to swap out some of the worst culprits for food that might have some actual benefit. Other ways to improve the quality of bacteria in your microbiome include:

  • Eating more fiber. Aim for 25-30 grams daily.
  • Eat fermented foods.
  • Eat more “prebiotics” (fiber-rich carbohydrates that are fermented in the large intestine that provide food for the healthy bacteria in our large intestine). Some prebiotics I like are: asparagus, bananas, garlic, leeks and herbs such as dandelion root.
  • Reduce refined sugars and refined carbohydrates.
  • Take Probiotics as a nutritional supplement.

Below you will find Monica Corrado’s recipe for fermented ketchup. To learn more about fermentation, how to make whey and much more, come to the – Route 1 Farmers Market & Bazaar 4100 Rhode Island Ave, Brentwood, MD 20722 this Friday, August 1 for a live fermentation demonstration. We’ll be making fruity fermented drinks, sauerkraut and of course, you can sample a little ketchup!

Fermented Ketchup
4 x 6 oz cans of organic tomato paste or equivalent (24oz)
¼ cup whey
¼ cup maple syrup
1/3 cup fermented fish sauce (find Thai – no MSG)
1 T Celtic sea salt, fine
1-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and mashed

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl until well blended. Place in wide- mouth jar. Fill to the shoulder, leaving about one inch of space between the ketchup and the lid. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature (up to 72 degrees F) for about 2 days. Then transfer to the refrigerator. Note: if you prefer ketchup with a thinner consistency, add water after fermentation, either at the time of serving or to the jar.

From: Monica Corrado & Simply Being well (see

Two summers ago I took a course with Monica Corrado, a talented chef and teacher who is passionate about fermenting foods that kids love to support better gut health. She especially promotes making fermented ketchup for kids.