The first known tomato ketchup recipe was invented by James Mease in 1812. Mease was a scientist and horticulturalist who combined tomato pulp, brandy and spices to create the first tomato-based ketchup. Mease famously referred to tomatoes as love apples.
Prior to Mease's recipe, ketchup was a fermented fish sauce from Asia. British travelers attempted to replicate the sauce using items such as mushrooms, anchovies, oysters and walnuts. Prior to the introduction of the tomato, ketchup was a thin, dark sauce that was commonly added to soups, sauces, meat and had a salty, fishy taste. Commercial production of tomato ketchup was a problem in the early days because of a short tomato growing season. This led to problems with preserving tomato pulp year-round, causing bacteria and other contaminants to appear in early commercial tomato ketchup.