Ketchup Head-to-Head: Homemade or Heinz?

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(Image credit: Flickr member Chiot’s Run licensed for use under Creative Commons; BNET)

When Vogue food writer Jeffrey Steingarten conducted his landmark ketchup taste test in 1992, he categorized the condiments as Heinz, Worse Than Heinz, Better Than Heinz, and Not Really Ketchup. Nearly twenty years later, with home canning making a comeback and housemade condiments popping up on restaurant tables, The Washington Post‘s Jane Black wonders, Could homemade ketchup beat Heinz?

Normally we would say, yes, of course! Homemade is always preferable to industrially processed. But as Black points out, people have certain expectations when it comes to ketchup — qualities which are not always easy to capture in a from-scratch recipe. Using wholesome, fresh ingredients to produce a ketchup with “tang, sweetness, a concentrated tomato flavor and a thick, pourable consistency” proves more elusive than expected.

One recipe is too sweet, another tastes too “fresh,” lacking that concentrated tomato punch. But a version made with canned tomatoes is deemed “a bazillion times more flavorful than Heinz” and her final fresh-tomato attempt has the thickness and tang she’s been seeking. The verdict? Homemade over Heinz, hands down.

Read full article: Could homemade ketchup beat Heinz? at The Washington Post

With tomato season in full swing, perhaps it’s time to preserve the bounty with a batch of your own ketchup. Bon Vivant recently blogged a version using fresh tomatoes and dried chilies, or you could go the canned-tomato route with a recipe from Sara’s Cucina Bella that uses tomato puree and cooks up in 15 minutes. For more adventurous ketchup eaters, the LA Times recently published two unusual tomato-based condiments: tomato marmalade and plum ketchup. Or try making one of our favorites, curry-spiked ketchup.

What do you think? Have you ever made or tasted homemade ketchup? Is it better than store bought or does Heinz still set the standard?

Anjali Prasertong is a cook and food writer based in Los Angeles, California. She is studying to become a registered dietician.

(Images: Flickr member Chiot’s Run licensed for use under Creative Commons; BNET)