I was looking for a creative way to use my first batch of homegrown San Marzano and Early Girl tomatoes and decided . . . KETCHUP!!!
I perused through all my canning cookbooks . . . browsed the web, including YouTube, and found all sorts of recipes for making tomato ketchup. There were videos using tomato paste, water, garlic powder, onion powder and spices . . . recipes with an Indian flare, mild ketchup, spicy catsup, copy-cat Heinz ketchup, southern ketchup, sweet, savory, even top secret . . .
Will and I really wanted a ketchup similar to everyones' 1st choice, Heinz Ketchup, but with a bit more kick, like my childhood favorite, Brooks Ketchup manufacturered in Canada. We did a lot of taste testing while I was cooking the tomatoes down, and again after I put the cooked tomatoes through the sieve. I was busy adding a bit of this and that, jotting it down, taste testing, tweaking the heat, sweet, spice, acid, and saltiness.
We ended up with a thick, gourmet, spicy ketchup that goes perfect with my oven baked fries! The best part? I used my very own homegrown tomatoes, that I started in the house from seeds! There is no high fructose corn syrup, MSG, or any other questionable ingredient or chemical present . . . Just fresh organic tomatoes, herbs and spices, vinegar and pure cane sugar and organic blackstrap molasses.
HOMEMADE KETCHUP with a KICK - makes four 8-ounce jars
7 pounds of tomatoes, washed and rough chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 finely minced clove of garlic
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon whole cloves
2 bay leaves
1 2-inch piece of cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon whole allspice seeds
3/4 cup light brown sugar (I made my own with a cup of pure cane sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons of organic blackstrap molasses)
1 teaspoon Tobasco Brand Pepper Sauce
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons canning or Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- Place chopped tomatoes, chopped onions and minced garlic in a large stainless steel or enamel pot.
- Bring tomato mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan add vinegar; wrap celery seed, cloves, cinnamon, mustard seeds and whole allspice in a double thickness of cheese cloth, making a bundle; tie with cotton string.
- Bring vinegar to a boil; remove from heat and allow spices to steep for 25 minutes.
- Pour seasoned vinegar, brown sugar, pepper sauce, cayenne, salt and pepper into tomato mixture; stir, and simmer for an additional 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so.
TIP: My days are full, so at this point I allowed my pot to cool; refrigerated it over night and in the morning I put my tomato mixture through a sieve and continued simmering it, until it reduced and became thick, like bottled ketchup.
- Put tomato mixture through a sieve or food mill.
- Return to low heat and simmer for 2 hours; stirring often, until ketchup becomes thick.
TIP: This is about making a gourmet ketchup . . . Taste often, adding a bit more salt, heat, sweet, or vinegar to suit your tastes. Just be sure to add small measured amounts. If you over-season you can't remove it!
- Fill hot water canner with water; add your four 1- cup canning jars, lids and bands to sterilize.
- Remove from pot, one at a time. After you fill a jar, return it to the hot water bath.
- Fill jars with hot ketchup, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.
- Wipe rims with a damp cloth.
- Adjust lids and screw on bands.
- Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes; add an additional 5 minutes for over 1000 feet above sea level.
Simmer tomatoes, onions and garlic for 25 minutes.
Bring vinegar to a boil; remove from heat, cover, and steep spices for 25 minutes.
Use a sieve (like the one above), a food mill or, push tomato mixture through a fine metal sieve, using the back of a large spoon.
At this point tomato mixture has become a spicy tomato sauce after being forced through the sieve.
I processed 3 jars and just put a plastic lid on the ketchup we used with our homemade fries.