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Secret Spices in Heinz Ketchup?


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I finally dived into the wonderful world of making homemade ketchup. Everything was going fine until I hit "spices" on the label. I've been eating tubfuls of this stuff for decades and I've never been able to detect any particular spice notes. Any ideas?

Edited by scott123 (log)
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reverse engineered ketchup?

they did that out at Area 51, right?

I can't discuss it, sorry.

hey, how come my e-mail isn't working anymore?

I can't get a dial tone on my phone.

Who are you guys?

OH MY GOD! I'M SORRY. I DIDN'T MEAN

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It doesn't address the spice issue though.

You mean other than the garlic powder and onion powder in the recipe?

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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It doesn't address the spice issue though.

You mean other than the garlic powder and onion powder in the recipe?

As far as I know, if a product contains garlic or onion (powdered or otherwise) it has to be listed on the label. Onion powder is in Heinz ketchup and is listed. Garlic powder is not an ingredient. "Spices," as listed on the label, refers to something else.

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Home (that is, the restaurant on Cornelia Street in Greenwich Village) also makes their own. I don't have the book, but I suspect it may be in Recipes from Home.

I would also think allspice (but mostly because I love it).

Homemade in the Kitchen by Barry Bluestein and Kevin Morrissey adds cinnamon stick and whole cloves. Better than Storebought (Helen Witty and Elizabeth Schneider [Colchie]) calls for a load of whole spices: mustard seeds, allspice, cinnamon, black peppercorns, bay leaf, cloves, coriander, red pepper flakes. In both books, the spices are tied in cheesecloth to be retrieved after cooking.

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Probably anchovies....

Don't all mysterious flavors end up being anchovies??

And where does it say "Vegetarian" on the ketchup bottle?

I agree, most mysterious flavors end up being anchovies, but not in this case. If ketchup contained anchovies, there would be no way they could get away with not listing it on the ingredients.

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Homemade in the Kitchen by Barry Bluestein and Kevin Morrissey adds cinnamon stick and whole cloves.  Better than Storebought (Helen Witty and Elizabeth Schneider [Colchie]) calls for a load of whole spices: mustard seeds, allspice, cinnamon, black peppercorns, bay leaf, cloves, coriander, red pepper flakes. In both books, the spices are tied in cheesecloth to be retrieved after cooking.

Personally, I detest allspice and cloves. And cinnamon, for me, is very detectable. None the less, we could be talking about miniscule amounts.

The cheesecloth idea is an intriguing one. I had been pondering the fact that no spices are visually recognizable. That could be the answer.

Is Heinz ketchup cooked? Most of the recipes for ketchup involve cooking, yes. But other than cooking down the tomatoes to create paste, I don't think it's cooked once the other ingredients are added. My theory for this is the volatile acetic acid in the vinegar. Cooking would drive a portion of this away, resulting in a less tangy ketchup.

There are members of this forum who have visited Heinz factories. Maybe they can contribute information about the cooking process.

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This is a good questions. I've always wondered what the "spices" listing means on many products.

My best guess is that it's a hedge designed to let manufacturers vary the spices in products depending on what is available and cheapest at a given time.

Who me, skeptical? :unsure:

I believe it has to do more with labeling regulations than with variations in recipes. I'm not sure how it breaks down, but there are certain spices that have to be listed individually on a label and others that can be grouped together under the generic term "spices".

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i'm guessing ketchup is cooked.

it certainly doesn't have a raw taste to it.

The tomato would most certainly be cooked down into a paste. But none of the other ingredients (corn syrup, vinegar, salt, onion powder, spices) have a raw taste when uncooked.

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It doesn't address the spice issue though.

You mean other than the garlic powder and onion powder in the recipe?

:laugh:

i would "hack" that recipe a bit, and add trace quantities (1/4 tsp. each?) of nutmeg, cloves, chili flakes, and coriander. i think that would get you in the neighbourhood anyway. (?)

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the ocean."

--Isak Dinesen

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I always thought that their secret ingredient was love.

It's been awhile since I've eaten any ketchup but if it tastes like I remember then I too would cast my vote for allspice.

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i'm guessing ketchup is cooked.

it certainly doesn't have a raw taste to it.

The tomato would most certainly be cooked down into a paste. But none of the other ingredients (corn syrup, vinegar, salt, onion powder, spices) have a raw taste when uncooked.

mm - i'd have to disagree - at least ot my palate onion powder and garlic powder stick out like a sore thumb unless whatever they're in has been heated to meld flavors.

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i think the spice profile in ketchup is somehwere in between chutney and pickling spice. allspice, black pepper, chiles, mustard, coriander, cloves, and caraway are the main flavours i use in typical pickling brine (it's a secret blend of 22 spices mind, but those ones dominate) and i'd reach for them first for ketchup. It's all about balance because you're looking to increase the tomato flavour in complexity/subtlety, but not really to introduce a variety of new flavours. There shouldn't really be any one dominant flavour (unless you want to experiment around with that). worcestshire sauce would probably add good umami-ness to the final product, the colour i suspect is augmented by turmeric.

"There never was an apple, according to Adam, that wasn't worth the trouble you got into for eating it"

-Neil Gaiman

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