You read correctly. I want to talk about ketchup.
Ketchup has been on my mind as of late. Especially this past week while vacationing. The western shore of Michigan was incredible in terms of hiking, biking, and kayaking, but not so great in terms of vegan friendly restaurants. Limited options, my friends. Very limited. (I’m not whining, mind you. Just sayin’.) So to offset a gazillion lackluster salads, a few fries were in order. And what goes well with french fries? (Besides tahini, salsa or guacamole, of course.) Ketchup.
But this is the kind of ketchup that appears on restaurant tables. I have a problem with this:
Do you see it? Look again. Yep. There it is. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
All week I’ve been eating naked fries. I refuse to lower my standards.
There’s an awful lot of information out there about HFCS. And you can easily find information to support whatever side you want to support. Some (like the Iowa Corn Growers Association, for instance) will argue that HFCS is just like any other form of sugar, as its chemical composition is similar.
Which makes you wonder…why do they use it?
Well, let me tell you. It’s all about money. HFCS is cheaper to produce than other sweeteners. And it mixes easier and helps maintain the color, texture, and flavor of foods.
So what’s the big deal? Well, since HFCS was created, back in the the early 1980’s, obesity levels have skyrocketed. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Many nutritionists believe the body processes HFCS differently than it does other sweeteners, and it alters the way our metabolic-regulating hormones work. So the end result is that our bodies don’t recognize when they’re full.
If that doesn’t concern you, think about this…
While HFCS is made from corn (no surprise there), it’s created in a lab, not a kitchen. Corn is processed into corn starch, which is composed of long chains of glucose. Then, the corn starch is mixed with water, and an enzyme is added that breaks the starch down into shorter chains of glucose. Then another enzyme is added that breaks the short chains down into glucose molecules. This produces regular corn syrup. To make high high fructose corn syrup, glucose molecules are turned into fructose molecules by exposing the syrup to yet another enzyme.
Yuck. This bothers me. Obviously.
Now typically I buy these ketchups, but unfortunately, I didn’t bring them along when we went out to eat.
I have no good explanation as to why I have two bottles partially used.
Check out the ingredients:
Not bad. But I really don’t like eating white sugar.
Imagine my excitement when I found a recipe for making my own ketchup!!
It’s actually quite simple! You can do this! All you need is: tomato paste, date sugar, sea salt…
and a little apple cider vinegar and water.
and there you have it. Ketchup. Or catsup. Your call.
recipe from Miyoko Schinner (with a few minor adjustments)
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
2 T. date sugar
1 t. sea salt
1/3 c. water
3 T. apple cider vinegar
Mix all ingredients together. If you are feeling extra adventuresome, add some cayenne or garlic! Miyoko reports that you can keep this in the refrigerator for months. I’m thinking it probably won’t last that long.
So…here’s your take away…be aware of the ingredients in your food.