Is Ketchup A Smoothie?
This is an interesting question I ran across the other day. It’s more of an Internet joke, but a lot of people actually stop and think about the question and are not sure of the answer. Tomato is a fruit, and ketchup is largely blended tomatoes, so is ketchup a smoothie? The short answer is, probably not. But it all depends on how you define a smoothies. Condiments like ketchup or guacamole do share some smoothie-like features, such as being mostly fruit. But there is more to a smoothie than just fruit.
What Is A Smoothie Anyway?
There is no hard definition of what a smoothie is. Wikipedia states “A smoothie is a thick and creamy beverage made from pureed raw fruit, vegetables, and sometimes dairy products, typically using a blender.” which is a decent definition. If you believe that is an accurate definition of what a smoothie is, then no, ketchup is not a smoothie. Ketchup is made from cooked tomatoes, not raw tomatoes.
But, not all smoothies are made from far fruits and vegetables. Some people who want extra calories throw in cooked potatoes into their smoothie. Others add cooked rice, oats, peanut butter and other non-raw ingredients. So maybe ketchup can still be a smoothie, even though it is not made from raw tomatoes?
Anther concern for ketchup is that it uses ingredients beyond fruit, vegetables, and sometimes dairy products. Ketchup usually has vinegar, spices, sugar and other additives. Does that mean ketchup is not a smoothie? Not really, no. There are plenty of smoothie recipes that include all kinds of ingredients beyond just fruit, vegetables, and sometimes dairy products. This includes smoothies with vinegar, spices (cinnamon is a popular addition to smoothies), sweeteners like sugar or honey, and plenty of nutritional powders like protein powder. So just because ketchup has non-fruit ingredients doesn’t mean it is not a smoothie. Many smoothies have similar ingredients.
So it sounds like ketchup might be a smoothie after all?
More Smoothie Characteristics
I would argue that a smoothie is not just defined by the ingredient list, but also how it is consumed.
First of all, a smoothie is made with no preservatives. I have never heard of anyone adding Sodium Benzoate, MSG, or other food preservatives to their smoothies. The only way people make their smoothies last longer is by controlling their temperature or by keeping them in a vacuum smoothie bottle. No one expects a smoothie to still taste good after a week of sitting out on the country. Ketchup on the other hand has a ton of preservatives. That’s why it can sit out on a restaurant counter for days at a time.
Secondly, a smoothie is a drink/meal. You drink a glass or blender full of smoothie in a single sitting. You don’t do the same thing with condiments like ketchup or even guacamole. You can add those things onto other foods, but they are never a meal by themselves. That is also why ketchup needs the preservatives that it has. It has to last a long time because it is used little by little. A smoothie is drank in a single sitting, or in a single day. I cannot imagine trying to drink a glass of ketchup.
Finally, most people drink smoothies, at least in part, because they are healthy. I don’t believe anyone who claims they eat ketchup because it is healthy. If anyone does make that claim, then they should read more about nutrition. Ketchup has a great taste, and I pour is all over my french fries, but I certainly don’t consider it to be a healthy food.
So while the joke is funny, no, ketchup is not a smoothie.