Did you know tomato ketchup was once used as medicine?



Ketchup does not need an introduction, this condiment has been an inseparable part of our day-to-day meals.

Right from relishing crispy fries to enjoying crunchy pakoras, it is impossible to imagine gorging on appetizers without a bowl of tomato ketchup.

But this sweet sour sauce was first invented as medication and not as a condiment!

Here’s all you need to know about the twisted tale of tomato ketchup.

Why and when was ketchup invented?

The history of ketchup is hard to pin down. However, food experts and scholars believe that the origin of ketchup can be traced back to China wherein it was known as Ge-thcup or Koe-cheup, which was basically a fish sauce. This fermented sauce was made from fish innards and soybeans, this sauce was salty and had a pungent smell.

How ketchup evolved!

By 1736 sauce had some more twists in the recipe, it was made by boiling two quarts of stale beer and half a pound of anchovies, which was fermented and later relished as sauce. Then this recipe went through further changes when sailors took this recipe to England wherein it went through several experiments. It was finally in 1812, when an American named James Mease created a version of tomato based ketchup. It was believed that tomato was an aphrodisiac food as it was known as love apple, this recipe too had traces of alcohol. Years after this Henry Heinz came up with today’s version of tomato ketchup by creating it with ripe tomatoes, distilled vinegar, brown sugar, salt, and a variety of spices. This was registered as the real tomato ketchup

The twisted tale

According to several food reports, tomatoes were added to the ketchup in 1834 by Dr. John Cooke Bennett. It was believed that tomatoes had pectin, lycopene and other nutrients which had potent medicinal properties. Dr. Bennett claimed that this blend of tomatoes could treat common ailments like diarrhea, indigestion, rheumatism, and jaundice. The idea was so popular that he even created pills by inducing ketchup mix, which was sold as a medicine.

The popularity of tomato pills

These tomato extract pills became so popular among masses that it became a rage among medicine producers. But gradually these pills were created in substandard ways by copycats by adding laxatives and no tomato content, which led to the downfall of the trend. It was also claimed that this new version of pills could fix bones and heal vitamin deficiencies like scurvy. This led to the end of the tomato pills empire and that’s how our-very own tomato ketchup came into existence!

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