Lacto-Fermented Ketchup and Sauerkraut Recipes

The ketchup and kraut are done, and both got my seal of approval! Today I am sharing my recipes.

First of all, in order to lacto-ferment foods, you need some whey. I obtain my whey by draining yogurt through either a cheesecloth or coffee filter. Start off with some plain, unsweetened, whole milk yogurt (I opt for organic), and place the whole of it in a doubly-thick piece of cheesecloth. Suspend it over a bowl to catch the liquid. (I have previously tied my yogurt bundle to a wooden spoon and then balanced the wooden spoon on the edges of the bowl, with the yogurt hanging suspended inside the bowl, with a couple of inches of air space between it and the bottom of the bowl, so that the whey had plenty of room to collect.) That slightly cloudy liquid that collects in the bowl is your whey. As you can see from my picture, I splurged on a reusable coffee filter, which I set atop an inverted serving bowl inside my larger mixing bowl; in this system as well the whey dribbles down and collects at the bottom of my bowl. Allow your yogurt to drain for about 24 hours, and you should be left with a decent quantity of whey, as well as a rich, thick, and creamy yogurt cheese. The whey can be stored in the fridge for about a month, and used in all of your lacto-fermentation recipes.

For my ketchup, I started with Sally Fallon’s recipe from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook, and then modified it slightly. She uses quite a bit of fish sauce, much more than I would like, so I cut the amount slightly to tone down the fishy taste of the ketchup. With the amount I used, the fish taste is not even recognizable. She uses maple syrup in her recipe, which I did not have on hand on fermentation day, so I opted for honey instead of making a special trip to the store. (And really, the only thing I ever used maple syrup for was dousing my pancakes, and I do not eat pancakes any more, so why go out and buy maple syrup?) I also upped the garlic content slightly because we love garlic in this house.

My Lacto-Fermented Ketchup

3 cups tomato paste
¼ cup whey
1 tablespoon sea salt
½ cup honey
4 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp fish sauce

Mix all ingredients until well blended and then place in a quart-sized wide-mouth mason jar. The top of your fermenting ketchup should be at least one inch below the top of your jar (it needs some head room). Leave at room temperature for 48 hours before transferring to the refrigerator. Enjoy a natural and healthy condiment on your scrambled eggs and hamburgers, or whatever other foods you usually top with ketchup.

The recipe for sauerkraut is pretty basic, and here I follow Sally Fallon’s lead quite closely.

Traditional Sauerkraut

1 medium cabbage, cored and shredded
1 tbsp caraway seeds
1 tbsp sea salt
¼ cup whey

Mix all of your ingredients in a bowl. Pound with a wooden pounder or a meat hammer for about 10 minutes to release juices (great for developing arm strength, or for anger management!). Place in a quart-sized wide-mouth mason jar and use the pounder to press the cabbage down until the juices come to the top of the cabbage. Again, the top of your fermenting kraut should be at least one inch below the top of your jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for 72 hours before transferring to the fridge. The kraut can be eaten immediately (which is usually what happens here), but it does improve with age.

I use a large crock for making my sauerkraut, instead of a mason jar. It allows me to make bigger batches (since kraut seems to go quickly in our house). Our kraut crock says ‘farine’ on the front, which is French for flour. Since we do not have any flour in the house, I thought that kraut would be a practical alternative use. And a much better use, if you ask me! After the fermentation stage I transfer my kraut to multiple mason jars for storage in the fridge.

I am sharing this post at Monday Mania over at The Healthy Home Economist.

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9 Responses to Lacto-Fermented Ketchup and Sauerkraut Recipes

  1. David Reed says:

    Is the fish sauce really necessary? We are not fans of ‘fishy’ things.

    • elliemaeh says:

      Short answer is probably no . . . you could skip the fish sauce, but I would probably add a bit more salt, then, since the fish sauce does supply a lot of the salty flavor for the ketchup.

      I thought that fish sauce was quite disgusting before I encountered Sally Fallon, but she really turned me on to it . . . traditionally fermented fish sauce is a great source of vitamins A and D as well as iodine, and it really does not taste that fishy when mixed with other ingredients, especially in the small quantities I used – I even sneaked it past my fish-hating husband 🙂 It basically just absorbs the flavors of the tomatoes and spices, and makes the whole ketchup more robust and interesting. But that is just my little plug . . . the recipe should turn out fine without the fish sauce.

  2. Shu Han says:

    I’m southeastasian so I absolutele love fish sauce. It gives more depth than just plain salt, just be sure to get real fermented ones without msg added (: I really like the lactofermented tomato ketchup idea(: will try it out!

    • elliemaeh says:

      No worries, I will not touch anything with MSG – I found the real fermented stuff in a specialty store. I have a recipe for homemade, but I am not a fan of the fishy smell, so I do not have the courage to try cooking and fermenting it myself. The depth of flavor it gives in recipes is amazing, though.

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