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Heinz and Shoulders above the Rest
superior viscosity, subtlety of flavours play across palette and compliment food
more expensive, but you get what you pay for
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~~~~History of ketchup~~~
Ketchup traces its origins to the Far East, long before the humble tomato made its global debut. The word we know comes from the phrase 'kitjap manis". It refers to a sauce made with fish. This fish sauce was brought to Europe by sailors and embellishments were added, most notably mushrooms, and mushroom ketchup can still be purchased at UK supermarkets today. Just who added the tomatoes is uncertain, but as tomatoes are natively American plants, it is believed that this happened over the pond sometime before 1800. For it was in 1801 that a recipe for tomato ketchup as we generally know it appeared in a cookbook called "Sugar House Book". It ascended into American popularity as a must have after Thomas Jefferson’s cousin, Mary Randolph, penned her own tome, "The Virginia Housewife". To imagine the impact, pretend Mrs Beeton had placed this recipe in her book. You get the picture. It became such a rage that farmers began bottling the sauce and selling it, getting the attention of food manufacturers.
When the public wants a food, let there be convenience....at a price! So it was that H. J. Heinz saw an opportunity and took it after bottled ketchup became a national phenomenon thanks to a man named Jonas Yerks. Believe it or not, THIS was the man who first put a bottle on every
grocer's shelf. He took his bottled ketchup and actively marketed in across America. He did so well over the next forty years, Heinz wanted a piece of that pie. Heinz realised that to get their ketchup on every table, it had to stand out.
Ketchup at the time was like a lot of the uber cheap and nasties today...watery, thin, and made with unripe tomatoes. Heinz decided to experiment until they came up with the perfect recipe. The sauce was improved in consistency and taste by first picking only fully sun ripened tomatoes, and then pickling them first. This preserved the tomatoes for longer shelf life, and the tomatoes also deepened in flavour intensity due to their ripeness. Being also higher in pectin due to ripeness, this also thickened the sauce to its popular consistency.
Soon, the familiar glass bottle with the Heinz 57 logo was on shelves across America, in nearly every household cupboard, and made its way across the Atlantic. Tomato ketchup was a worldwide sensation. And as a bit of trivia, the 57 does not refer to 57 varieties of ketchup. The 57 varieties was actually a marketing slogan, to demonstrate the large varieties of foods Heinz sold.
~~~So why do I prefer Heinz?~~~
Firstly, I like the viscosity of Heinz. Thick, but able to be spread easily, it doesn't drip watery bits, nor does it tend to drop large red splodges unless over liberally applied. The viscosity (or thickness lol) of the sauce Heinz makes also make it a great base for making a brush on and no drip into the fire quality barbecue sauce. The insistence on only using 100% sun ripened tomatoes also adds a unique depth of flavour to the ketchup.
Upon tasting it, the taste buds are delighted with a tart tanginess, a very mild saltiness, and a hint of sweetness, all playing over the palette. The ingredients are superior, and it shows. No sharp bitter tang of acridity from too much vinegar to compensate for the over sweetness of an unripe tomato. No heavy lacing of sweeteners to overlay that same tang. No large addition of flours to make this more of a cold gravy than a ketchup sauce, with the resulting loss of glossiness, and smooth silky feel to the tongue. One is left afterwards with a hint of the garlic and onions that deepen the flavour, but without overpowering it. This is more than a mere condiment..The subtleties of flavour and the richness of texture make this a true sauce, albeit one to use sparingly.
~~~Cost and Comparison~~~ Heinz comes in a large variety of sizes and bottle styles these days, nearly all a squeezy bottle. But the average sized bottle of competitors is a 1 kg bottle, so let's talk turkey about that size. I buy mine at Asda as I do my big shop there. Tesco and Sainsbury's prices will be not far behind, so it should give you a pretty darn good idea what it costs.
Smart Price ketchup....runny, overly sweet at first, then acrid...only comes in 554 g bottles, so need two...54 p each
Asda ketchup...thicker, less runny, but none of the subtleties of flavour and delicacy of spicing I favour with Heinz..1 kg bottle 86 p
Daddies...1 kg bottle, good consistency, not enough garlic, slightly too strong a tomato flavour with it being a bit in my face, 1.38
Heinz, top down style bottle, 910 g, 1.69 a bottle or 1.35 kg upright squeezy bottle, 2.49
Like most sauces, gravies, and condiments, ketchup is not overly good for you in large amounts, due to its sugar content. It does have redeeming nutritional value however, so don't feel TOO awful if your kid will only eat his veg if he has some ketchup to dip it in!
1 tablespoon has 15 calories, 4 grams carbohydrates, and is fat free. Being made principally of tomatoes, it is also high in the antioxidant Lycopene as well as vitamin C.
I LOVE Heinz ketchup. Nothing else compliments my homemade burgers, tops my meatloaf, or makes a base for my homemade barbecue sauce like this product. While I am budget minded, this is one of my no compromise unless completely broke products. We don't eat masses of it, but when we do, it had better be Heinz.