Homemade Ketchup: Fermented & Sugar Free

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When Travis and I started our candida diet there was a lot of adjusting to do.

We didn’t mind life without processed foods, especially after reading (and interpreting) the labels. We’d already been avoiding grains, and the thought of eating steaks more often wasn’t too hard to take.

The biggest challenge to our diet came with the need to cut out sugar. Completely. In all its forms.

Why? Because sugar feeds that pesky microscopic organism called candida. And feeding candida is a big no-no. If you want to get rid of it, you need to starve it.

However, the lack of sugar also meant the lack of condiments.

Sour cream, salsa, dressings, BBQ sauce, ketchup, mustard – life gets a little hum-drum without them.

You only have to turn a ketchup bottle over and read the first several ingredients to know it’s not allowed. Even ‘healthy’ organic ketchup has sugar, fructose, maple syrup or some other form of sugar. Organic or not, it still wasn’t allowed.


But there’s really something to be said about a hamburger with all the fixin’s. Minus the bun of course :)

I started playing around with different ketchup recipes and finally found a winner by adjusting one from Nourishing Traditions. We’re all thrilled.

Except for the starving candida that is. Muhahah!

Homemade Ketchup: Fermented and Sugar-Free (egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, anti-candida, low-carb)
makes 1 quart

24 oz. tomato paste
1/4 c. whey (Whey is made from homemade yogurt, so I can’t technically say this is casein, sugar, or yeast free.)
1 T. celtic sea salt
3/4 t. stevia (or to your taste)
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c. homemade fish stock (or fish sauce)


1. Combine tomato paste, whey, salt, cayenne pepper, garlic, and fish stock in a blender. Blend well.

2. Add stevia at 1/4 teaspoons at a time. Blend and taste after each addition, adding more or less to your taste. Blend well.

Tip: This ketchup is fairly thick, adding a tablespoon or two of water while blending goes a long way in making it more “ketchup-like” without taking away from the flavor. But sure to add the water just a bit at a time though.

3. Pour ketchup in a glass jar, leaving about 1 inch of space from the top.

4. Screw a lid on and leave it at room temperature for two days before refrigerating.

Makes 3 qts. or 64 T. Net carbs are 2.48g per T.

Don’t know where to purchase some of these ingredients? Visit our Whole Food Sources page.

Shared with: It’s A Keeper, Live Renewed, Nourishing Gourmet, The Shabby Nest, Mom Trends, The Girl Creative, The Healthy Home Economist, The Prairie Homestead, Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms, Skip to My Lou, Simply Sugar & Gluten Free, Time-Warp Wife, Real Food Forager, Chef In Training, Rook No. 17, Celebrating Family, Whole New Mom, Far Above Rubies, Vintage Wannabee, Premeditated Leftovers, Women Living Well, Blue Cricket Designs, The King’s Court IV, Frugally Sustainable, The Gluten-Free Homemaker, Milk & Cuddles, We Are That Family, Kelly The Kitchen Kop, The Thrifty Home, This Chicks Cooks, Raising Homemakers, Tip Junkie, Juliecache, GNOWFGLINS, Raising Mighty Arrows, Our Simple Country Life, Food Renegade, Real Food Whole Health, Little Natural Cottage, Real Food Freaks, Comfy In The Kitchen, Country Momma Cooks, Nourishing Treasures, The Modest Mom, Flour Me With Love, Growing Home, Food Corner, Deep Roots at Home, Our Simple Farm, Young Living Oil Lady

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I’m Paula - like many of you I wear a lot of hats. Child of God, wife of 18 years, mother of five, reluctant cook, full-time teacher, chocolate-snatcher, and children's author. Various family health issues including Lyme disease and candida has turned me into a 'researcher'. I don't have initials after my name, a degree in anything but motherhood, or a framed certificate on my wall. What I do have is a passion for understanding how our God-created bodies thrive or deteriorate based on what we put in it. Oh, and I also might mention homesteading, homeschooling, fitness, herbs, faith, and anything else I'm thinking about. . . like wow, I need to refill my tea. . .
Better Than a Box


  1. Deana@ says

    That is something I always wanted to do….I'd love for you to share this @CountryMommaCooks Link & Greet Party….Starts Friday night @6….
    Have a blessed weekend!

  2. Shannon, Food Channel Editor, Momtrends.com says

    Very cool, we try to stay away from HFCS which limits most ketchup brands anyhow. I never thought of making it.

    Thanks for linking up to Friday Food on Momtrends.com!

  3. deb says

    Oooh, I haven't tried the NT ketchup for a while but I'm definitely due. Thanks for this reminder!

    BTW, I *believe* you can at least say the whey is yeast-free; the fermenting here is lacto-fermenting and is done by bacteria. :-)

  4. France@beyondthepeel says

    Hi Paula, What a lovely recipe. I've seen a few ketchup recipes lately but none that are fermented. What a great idea to incorporate fermented foods in a place that no one would think to look.

    I'm hosting Whole Food Wednesdays at beyondthepeel.net and it would be great if you swung by and shared! Have a great rest of your week.

  5. melanie says

    I love the idea of homemade condiments. The store bought versions pale in comparison to homemade naturally fermented goodies! Definitely going to give this a try.

  6. D+B says

    Wow!!! Homemade ketchup!! Sounds awesome… I am your newest follower. I found you on a link party!!! If you would like to check out my blog too. And follow me back. That would be wonderful!! I am kind of new to blogging, but excited to share ideas and recipes. And doing giveaways for Mineral makeup.


  7. Kristy Lynn says

    i really need to learn more about fermenting. it's all the rage and apparently an instrumental activity for promoting freedom from our reliance on processed foods. thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Wanna be farm girl says

    I can't wait to try this recipe! I love fish sauce, but I have miso in the fridge at the moment…do you think that would work??

  9. April @ The 21st Century Housewife says

    Your ketchup sounds delicious as well as wholesome. Thank you for sharing it with the Hearth and Soul hop.

  10. Lea H @ Nourishing Treasures says

    Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures' Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back later tonight when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)

  11. peters_mom says

    Paula, I REALLY want to make some of this, but I currently don't have any fish stock (I've been too scared to make it, but after reading your blog on how to make it, I'm less intimidated). Do you think I could substitute my chicken stock instead?

  12. Paula says

    I used chicken stock a time or two to make this before I ventured into making fish stock. The fish stock does add a nice touch – not even sure how to describe it – but it can absolutely be done with chicken stock. It just might not have the same. . .zing.

    I'd say go for it. You might find you like it better!

  13. Pamela says

    This is something I've never done, but I'd love to try! When we are committed to eating right it's amazing the recipes you can find for "illegal" foods.

  14. Carrie @ young living oil lady says

    Such wonderful recipes you have shared with us at Kids in the Kitchen this week. I will save this recipe for when we need it. I have done the candida diet before and it was hard, but so worth it! I often consider going back on it. This is a keeper for sure!

  15. Amy says

    Hi there!

    I’m in midst of making this right now & I used fish sauce (as you mentioned could be used in lieu of the fish stock). I only used 1/4 cup, but have found that the ketchup is EXTREMELY salty. I guess I should have left out the T of salt entirely. Anyway, I’m trying to salvage it by adding additional water & sweetner (I’m using honey as we aren’t any special diets & I currently don’t prefer to use stevia). Just wanted to mention that fish sauce & fish stock are probably different in salt levels so the sauce should be added a little @ a time.


    • says

      I’ve never tried it without either of those. I’m not sure how it would change the flavor. Sometimes the only way to know is to try! :)

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