Tomato Catch Up ✠

Shake and shake
The catsup bottle.
None comes at first,
And then a lot'll.
  – Richard Armour, slightly misquoted

In maturity, I have been coerced into a low-sodium diet as a means of controlling hypertension. I began to recognize from reading product nutrition labels that salt is hidden in almost everything that tastes good. The chief offenders seemed to be the condiments I used to brighten up an otherwise bland item on the plate. At first I countered by pushing the salt shaker to the wife side of the table and declared victory. I started using salt substitutes, but found that they have ingredients, principally potassium, that are counter-indicated by a new medication my doctor had prescribed. I finally realized that added sodium and potassium just don’t belong in my diet at all. I decided to bite the bullet and eliminate as much as I reasonably could by making my own.

One target was commercial tomato ketchup. On a one-tablespoon-per-portion basis, 200 mg of salt, 60 mg of potassium, and 5 gm sugar don’t seem like a lot, but who can stick to only one tablespoon at a time? Commercial low-salt products lower the sodium content, but increase the potassium, while retaining the same amount of sugar. Lower-sugar products reduce carbohydrates, but keep the sodium and potassium levels the same I felt that I could do better.

Granted, a lower sodium, potassium, and carbohydrate ketchup will not make a huge difference my diet, but it is a positive step. Especially when it can be made to taste pretty good. This recipe is the best that I have come up with, so far. It is perfect on a broiled hamburger patty.

  • 3 6-oz cans no-salt-added tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp <sugar>
  • 2 tsp <brown sugar>
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp dried mustard
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground cayenne chile pepper
  • pinch ground ginger
  • pinch ground oregano
  • pinch ground cloves
  • pinch allspice
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 cup water

In a small bowl add all the ingredients except the xanthan gum and water. Whisk together completely.

Put ½ cup of the water in a blender with the xanthan gum and mix at high speed until the gum is completely incorporated. Then add it to the bowl of other ingredients and whisk thoroughly.

Drizzle in enough of the remaining water in small amounts until the desired thickness is reached. There’s a fine line between being too thick and too thin.

Put the catch-up in cleaned, recycled ketchup bottles, if you have them.

Makes about 2½ cups.