Cead Mile Failte !

A 'hundred thousand welcomes' to friends of all things Irish, organic, and environmentally friendly. I hope you enjoy my anecdotes and little vignettes. I appreciate comments. If you like it, why not become a follower? Click on Archive and then scroll down to the very bottom for the beginning of our story. Or see: http://Ioncehadafarminireland.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tomato Ketchup:US and German home-made

What a Ketchup Bottle Tells Us About Life in the U.S.

I've been working on sharpening my observation skills. Today, I took notice of a bottle of ketchup on the table in a restaurant. I was at first attracted to the words, “Plant bottle, 30% made from plastics, 100% recyclable bottle. I had no idea that ketchup had gone green.

The next part that caught my attention was a small square of an abstract drawing. “Ketchup Lovers, Unite! Scan this code or text FRIEND to 5700.” Wow! Marketing is going in some very strange directions these days. Should I care how many people love ketchup? Why? And why would I want them to know that I love ketchup?” 

Which I don't, because the next thing I read were the ingredients. Although written in the same small letters as the other ingredients, my eyes picked out two -- High Fructose Corn Syrup and Corn Syrup (why would ketchup need both, or either?), which my health guru, Dr. Andrew Weil, has been telling me for years NOT to eat for health's sake. I switched long ago to tomato paste when I want a ketchupy taste.

In smaller print at the bottom of the bottle were the words, “from Heinz Seeds.” I hadn't realized that there is such a thing as specific Heinz Seeds. That made me realize how little I know about seeds that our foods are grown from. Guess some company “owns” everything when you look into it.

Lastly, I looked at the bottle itself and realized it was upside down. The lid was on the bottom! No more hitting the bottom of a glass bottle and having it splash all over the plate. How long has ketchup been upside down? Why did it take the company so many years to “improve” how ketchup plopped on a plate?
Hmm!  Instead of a message in a bottle, I found messages on the bottle.

Suellen Zima, a contributor to www.writersgettogether.blogspot.com from the start. 

And now to our home-made version of tomato ketchup.
I made ketchup for a few years out of our own organically grown tomatoes. It does need  some kind of sugar if you want your hopeful off spring even to taste it, never mind like it. I made it without peeling the tomatoes first which resulted in strings of peels in the sauce and bottle. With a disgust in their little faces that I had never seen before they pushed it way. (Only surpassed by the occasional maggot/bug on organic cauliflower on their plates!)
We always had 36 tomatoes plants in our greenhouse which gives a mighty good crop. Normally I would freeze them for later use like many a vegetable. Especially useful for spaghetti sauces. When we emigrated to Ireland, however, we couldn't take the content of our freezers with us. What do you do with dozens of frozen bags of tomatoes? Instead of letting them spoil, I cooked ketchup and bottled it, careful to leave 1/2 inch of olive oil on top in order to preserve it properly. I had over 20 bottles. They made the big move safely--only to be snarled at by the kids.I loved it in spite of seeds and peels and all! Less sweet! Bon appetit!
Regarding the Heinz seeds that's news to me too. Unless you find organic seeds somewhere, Monsanto has a firm monopoly on seeds worldwide squeezing every other producer to the wall and going GM on it. GM is another topic. I wrote about it here and in Germnay/Europe. If you're interested go into archives here and search for GM.