DISCLOSURE: Affiliate links are used on this site and may be used in this post.
Please refer to our DISCLOSURE STATEMENT.

Here are some fun facts about ketchup:

Or, is it catsup?


Catsup versus Ketchup

According to some reports, it’s really ketchup (which is disappointing since I’ve spent my entire adult life writing catsup).

You see, “ketchup comes from the Hokkien Chinese word, kê-tsiap, the name of a sauce derived from fermented fish.”

Um. Gross.

Ketchup is a Westernized version of the name, with catsup being the preferred version for a long time. But, now it’s all ketchup.

RIP catsup.

60 Second Homeschooling | Fun Facts About Ketchup

History of Ketchup

Oh, hey! Here’s another fun fact about about ketchup: it wasn’t initially made with tomatoes.

(WHAT? My entire life seems like a lie right now . . . )

Before the 1800s, many people thought that tomatoes were poisonous (and they were even nicknamed “poison apple”).

According to SmithsonianMag.org:

A nickname for the fruit was the “poison apple” because it was thought that aristocrats got sick and died after eating them, but the truth of the matter was that wealthy Europeans used pewter plates, which were high in lead content. Because tomatoes are so high in acidity, when placed on this particular tableware, the fruit would leach lead from the plate, resulting in many deaths from lead poisoning. No one made this connection between plate and poison at the time; the tomato was picked as the culprit.

So, instead of tomatoes, ketchup was made with other items like grapes, walnuts, anchovies, oysters, mushrooms and some other things that don’t seem very ketchup-y.



In the early 1800s, a recipe appeared using tomatoes in ketchup and ta-da! Tomatoes became the bell of the Ketchup Ball.

Fun Facts About Ketchup

The first commercially produced ketchup was full of preservatives, including coal tar because it helped achieve the red color.


In 1876, Henry J. “HJ” Heinz (yep, that Heinz) decided to produce ketchup with none of those yucky preservatives. (You know, like TAR.)

In 1905, the Heinz company sold 5 million bottles of ketchup, which seems like an extreme amount for a product containing tomatoes that were thought to be poisonous just a few years before.

But, what do I know. My kid eats ketchup on apples, so . . .


Fun Facts About Ketchup


OK, so we’ve covered some fun facts about ketchup (and some gross stuff), but maybe you’re not ready to let it go yet? Maybe there just needs to be more . . . learning.

Good on you, man.

Check these out:

• Make healthy homemade ketchup (no coal tar at all in this recipe)

• Try the diving ketchup experiment

• Learn how to clean pennies with ketchup (and other items)

Color Tommy Ketchup Shopkin coloring page

Compare and contrast ketchups

Review a timeline of Heinz history

Read about the Heinz company history (including the famous pickle on the bottle)

Look at Heinz Ketchup ads throughout history

Learn about the different Heinz bottles and containers

Make some recipes using Heinz ketchup

• Read ketchup themed books like:


Explore tomatoes (preschool)

• Learn about tomatoes (including history, prepping, cooking, nutrition and more)

Grow some heirloom tomatoes

• Do a lesson plan: The Amazing Tomato – From Roots to Routes A Journey From Field to Table

• Play a Build a Tomato Plant online game

• Read tomato themed books like:

Fact Sources:

National Geographic

Health Sciences Institute



Jumanji Lesson Plans and Activities (Book and Movie)

Ferdinand the Bull Activities and Lessons (Movie and Book)

Wonder Lesson Plans (Book and Movie)

Facebook Comments

Jacqueline Wilson is a writer, mom, wife, homeschool super freak and #1 Bestselling Author of It's Homeschooling, Not Solitary Confinement. She has been featured at Huffington Post, Parenting Magazine, Redbook, Kiwi Magazine, Fox News, and more. She is a discriminating sock monkey enthusiast and has a small collection of rescued pets. One more and she gets a free set of steak knives.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.