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Monday, March 24, 2008

A Good For You Ketchup

Finally a good for you ketchup!

Posted by Sandy Smith on Growers & Grocers.

Since I am not the primary consumer of ketchup in my household (that distinction belongs to my kids), I decided to enlist the whole family in taste-testing this product. We sampled Wholemato’s Organic Agave Ketchup on roasted potatoes, which were otherwise flavored only with sea salt, black pepper, and a little bit of olive oil.

Upon opening the bottle, I gave it a sniff. Vinegar. Not usually a fortuitous sign with ketchup, however, in this case, it turned out to be a pretty good thing. Number 2 in the list of ingredients is cider vinegar, and it does come through as an assertive flavor. The texture of this ketchup is perhaps the most obvious departure from standard ketchup: on the plate, it looks more like a pulpy tomato sauce than like the smooth, somewhat liquid ketchup produced by the most common brands.

While the predominant advertising and labeling focus is on the agave nectar in this product, leading me to expect a much sweeter ketchup, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a tangier, more dominantly tomato-flavored condiment. To me, this ketchup did not taste nearly as sweet as the corn-syrup-sweetened commercial varieties, a fact that I appreciated. (Oddly enough, my 12-year-old disagreed—she perceived it to be “just as sweet as regular ketchup” and that was a fact that she appreciated. Go figure.)

According to the Nutrition Facts panel, this product contains 3 grams of sugars per 1 tablespoon serving. Heinz has 3 g as well; Hunt’s has 4 g per 1 tablespoon serving. The major difference is that because Wholemato Organic Agave Ketchup is sweetened with agave nectar, it scores only 7 on the glycemic index (as opposed to regular ketchup, which has a score of about 55), making it a great choice for diabetics.

This is tasty and somewhat sophisticated for a “plain” ketchup. Well-seasoned and zippy, with a mellow sweetness, it is somewhat removed from the condiment that flows from the spout at your local fast-food outlet. If your kids are conditioned to expect an extremely sweet, smooth ketchup, Wholemato’s Organic Agave Ketchup may take a bit of getting used to. But for those whose palates are perhaps more adventurous, it’s a good example of what ketchup can be—rich in tomato flavor, onion and garlic notes, nose-tickling vinegar aroma, and soothing sweetness. If you are trying to avoid corn sweeteners, this condiment is a great find.

Wholemato Organic Agave Ketchup comes in a 13-ounce glass bottle; suggested retail price is $4.99 (U.S.). For more information, you can view their Web site.

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