Vital Ketchup

Tomato Ketchup.jpg

The Back Story

This stuff is a little addictive, but in a good way. It is great as a pasta sauce, on pizzas, mixed into a bean stew, a chilli or a bolognaise. Other than with the pizza, if you mix it in after the meal has been cooked and has cooled a little, the microbes will be living. I also drizzle it cold onto sourdough beneath avocado, or cheese or hummus. You get the picture. And you don’t need to stick to the recipe religiously. By altering just a few of the ingredients, you can change the flavour noticeably, which is wonderful. Experiment!




350g fresh tomato puree (dip tomatoes in boiling water, remove skins, blend, sieve out pips and heat very gently until reduced and thickened. The sieving is a little time-consuming, but I like the smooth consistency it gives. You can leave the pips in (nutritious) if you don’t mind the texture!
Chillis, to taste, chopped. I use half a chilli because I don’t like things too spicy
3 garlic cloves, chopped
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Grated ginger – to taste
Fresh Mint – to taste
Chive heads – to taste
60g maple syrup
100ml apple cider vinegar (or kombucha vinegar or water kefir vinegar)


1/2 litre Kilner Jar, washed in hot water or that has been through the dishwasher.




Set of scales



Once you have made the tomato puree, put all the ingredients with the puree, plus maybe a few extra herbs or spices you fancy, into the blender and blend.

Pour it all into a clean ½ litre kilner jar, leaving a bit expansion space at the top.

Close the lid and leave at room temperature for 2-3 days. I can tell when mine is active because you start to see some clear tomato fluid at the bottom of the kilner and the more dense material rises up. Taste it and see what you think. Either refrigerate then or mix and leave to ferment a little longer.

When you love the taste, refrigerate, where it will keep until you scoff it all.

Note: you can substitute the maple syrup for honey if you prefer. I also nearly always add some sauerkraut and a little of its juice or my FAVOURITE is to add a dollop of kimchi in before I blend it all – see what combination suits you and yours.


Spreading straightforward information about the fundamental importance of a healthy gut microbiome.