Product Series - #1 Oak Bark Fermented Ketchup

Product Series - #1 Oak Bark Fermented Ketchup

Terra Ignis - Product Series

# 1 - Oak Bark Fermented Ketchup

It’s been difficult to decide which one of our original products to start with as we deep dive into our wild fermented product series. Our Oak Bark Fermented Ketchup was one of our first trials as we developed our original 12 products which we launched in July 2022 in the @englishmarket. We went through countless iterations, patiently waiting for each one to ferment until we landed on our final recipe. Even still, the recipe has continued to evolve over the past 2 years from base ingredients and influence, to different wild starters. This evolution is something that is at the root of our handcrafted production as we strive to improve every product and give life to new ones every week, making our Fermented Ketchup a great starting point for this series.

As with all wild fermented products, each batch is slightly different from the last, which is something we adore. As a company, we chose to exert a minimal amount of control over our ferments as we see them as true expressions of nature. We are merely facilitating a totally natural production of living foods, teeming with good bacteria and flavour. Working with nature in this way always gives a satisfying product. Our background in food and drinks allows us to work with each product so it reaches you at its fullest flavour. This interaction with wild fermentation, the point where you pull it to be jarred or bottled, is always an exciting piece for us and we are honoured to share every batch with you.

In the early days we would use a ginger bug starter to inoculate the ingredients that form our ketchup. This proved to be a pretty lively affair and while it works extremely well, it tends to produce an end product that quite simply does not want to be contained. Fine if you’re doing a batch at home, not so much if you’re filling hundreds of jars. After several experiments we have landed on a wild yeast collection of wild flowers foraged in the North Cork countryside. Each flower lending its own host of yeast and bacteria, influencing colour, flavour and time. This is a much gentler approach to fermenting ketchup and works really well for producing a depth of flavour that can’t be achieved when using a single ingredient wild yeast collection.

Alongside the obvious tomato base, we add our own Wildcrafted Worcestershire Sauce which is both vegan and gluten free (more on this later in the series) as well as some garlic, turmeric and live vinegar. This all ferments with the wildflower starter and a chuck of charred oak bark. The oak bark is a nod to traditional fermentation in wooden vessels which lend a rich flavour to the products they contain but also to the aging process of drinks in oak which has a long and varied history. Fermenting with the charred oak in the mix gives a light smoke to the finished product and a depth of flavour that can’t be achieved without its presence. The food industry is mildy obsessed with the use of nasty smoke powders to achieve this  and it’s important to us as producers to stay away from these shortcuts while producing products that are natural and healthy. Hats off to the many other small producers who make these choices too.

So while at the end of the day this is really just a fermented ketchup, it comes from a place of passion and love for food and the natural world that is at the core of what we do at Terra Ignis. We may have made it a little complicated but this is precisely how it tastes and feels, complex.

Flavour: Rich umami with a whisper of smoke.

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