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Ketchup that kicks it up a notch (or three)

Bill Ahrens, a self-described ‘condiment connoisseur’ with his wife, Trina, a chemist, set out upgrade ketchup with their Little Acre Three Pepper varieties

Little Acre ketchup.
Little Acre ketchup.Handout

Store shelves display a bounty of mustards, but there are largely Heinz and Hunt’s and a few organic types for ketchup. Bill Ahrens of Dover, N.H., a self-described “condiment connoisseur” with his wife, Trina, a chemist, set out to change this and upgrade ketchup. Originally, their purpose was to dress up hotdogs for the hotdog cart Bill once ran in downtown Dover after he retired from his work as a sales manager. The couple’s homemade ketchup later inspired their line: Little Acre Three Pepper Ketchup — a condiment that crisscrosses ketchup, salsa, marinara, and cocktail sauce. The three varieties, Original, Spicy, and More Spicy, are produced with ripe plum tomatoes and red peppers and have a bright, sweet tomato flavor, a tang from white wine vinegar, and the texture of salsa. Created without tomato paste or corn syrup, its varied heat levels (the spiciest is zesty rather than fiery) come from jalapeno, black, and cayenne peppers. Bill says customers slather the ketchups on a burger or hot dog and also use them as a sauce for pizza, sloppy Joes, and even pasta, or for dipping shrimp. It’s a condiment you would want to keep around for grilling season and to enhance dishes beyond ($8 to $9 for 13 ounces). Available at selected Whole Foods Market locations; Pemberton Farms Marketplace, 2225 Mass. Ave., Cambridge, 617- 491-2244; The Corner Butcher, 240 Elliot St. Beverly, 978-969-3194, or at littleacregourmet.com.

ANN TRIEGER KURLAND

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Ann Trieger Kurland can be reached at anntrieger@gmail.com.