Friday, June 7, 2013

Tomatoes and Canned Homemade Ketchup with a Kick!

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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.
Fresh tomatoes (with skin still on) chopped and ready!


Simmer tomatoes, onions and garlic for 25 minutes.


Bring vinegar to a boil; remove from heat, cover, and steep spices for 25 minutes.
Tomato mixture after 55 minutes of cooking.

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.


Yes, it takes a while to make ketchup from whole tomatoes. No, I'm not crazy for going through all this for just a quart of ketchup! I just added this job to my busy morning routine. I was at home doing laundry, watering the garden, making cold processed soap and homemade bread, so most of the time I was already in the kitchen to keep an eye on the pot. When I wasn't able to give the ketchup a quick stir, Will seemed to appear out of nowhere, and was happy to take a turn at the stove for a stir and taste test . . . Over at Julie's!!!
We tried out our new ketchup on some oven baked red potato fries . . . The verdict? Totally awesome!



  1. Thanks! This summer I made a double batch! We just needed more! I also tried my hand at making peach ketchup with some tomatoes added for color . . . The flavors in homemade are so intense . . . It's like bottling summer up in a jar!


Your comments and questions are welcomed . . .