Although today's ketchup is tomato based, it did not appear until about a century after other types. By 1801, a recipe for tomato ketchup was created by Sandy Addison and was later printed in an American cookbook, the Sugar House Book. James Mease published another recipe in 1812. In 1824, a ketchup recipe using tomatoes appeared in The Virginia Housewife (an influential 19th-century cookbook written by Mary Randolph, Thomas Jefferson's cousin).
Ketchup on a hot dogAs the century progressed, tomato ketchup began its ascent in popularity in the United States, influenced by the American enthusiasm for tomatoes. Tomato ketchup was sold locally by farmers. A man named Jonas Yerks (or Yerkes) is believed to have been the first man to make tomato ketchup a national phenomenon. By 1837, he had produced and distributed the condiment nationally. Shortly thereafter, other companies followed suit. F. & J. Heinz launched their tomato ketchup in 1876. Heinz tomato ketchup was advertised: "Blessed relief for Mother and the other women in the household!"
The Webster's Dictionary of 1913 defined "catchup" as a "table sauce made from mushrooms, tomatoes, walnuts, etc. [Written also ketchup]."
Modern ketchup emerged in the early years of the 20th century, out of a debate over the use of sodium benzoate as a preservative in condiments. Harvey W. Wiley, the "father" of the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S., challenged the safety of benzoate. In response, entrepreneurs, particularly Henry J. Heinz, pursued an alternative recipe that eliminated the need for that preservative.
Prior to Heinz (and his fellow innovators), commercial tomato ketchups of that time were watery and thin, in part due to the use of unripe tomatoes, which were low in pectin. They were less vinegary than modern ketchups; by pickling ripe tomatoes, the need for benzoate was eliminated without spoilage or degradation in flavor. But the changes driven by the desire to eliminate benzoate also produced changes that some experts (such as Andrew F. Smith) believe were key to the establishment of tomato ketchup as the dominant American condiment.
Until Heinz, most commercial ketchups appealed to two of the basic tastes: bitterness and saltiness. But the switch to ripe tomatoes and more tomato solids added a stronger umami taste, and the major increase in the concentration of vinegar added sourness and pungency to the range of sensations experienced during its consumption.
In the past, ketchup was produced from fresh tomatoes after harvesting. Vacuum evaporation made it possible to turn tomatoes into a very thick tomato paste that is easy to store at room temperature. This enables a factory to produce ketchup throughout the year.
In fast food chains, ketchup is often dispensed in small packets that hold ketchup inside. Users tear the side or top and squeeze the ketchup out of the ketchup packets. In 2010, Heinz is offering an alternate squeeze and dip cup intended to offer a cleaner method of dispensing the product.
In an earlier, and more environmentally friendly approach, (though potentially less sanitary or convenient for travel) some fast food outlets dispense ketchup from pumps into paper cups. Some restaurants still use this method.
In October 2000, Heinz introduced colored ketchup products called EZ Squirt, which eventually included green, purple, pink, orange, teal, and blue. These products were made by adding food coloring to the traditional ketchup. As of January 2006[update] these products have been discontinued.
Tomato ketchup is a pseudoplastic, or "shear thinning," substance, a type of Non-Newtonian fluid, which can make it difficult to pour from a glass bottle. Often, the neck of the bottle will appear to be blocked. A common method to getting ketchup out of the bottle involves inverting the bottle and shaking it or hitting the bottom with the heel of the hand, which causes the ketchup to flow rapidly. A technique known widely among caterers involves inverting the bottle and forcefully tapping its upper neck with tw