Who doesn’t love ketchup? This ubiquitous red sauce was the go-to condiment for burgers, hotdogs, and fries amongst my friends and family. The distinctive shaped bottle graced most tables and just about every picnic.
Now fast forward about 25 years. I am in the midst of canning season with a surplus of tomatoes. Frankly, the thought of canning more quarts of juice and sauce does not appeal to me. What else can I make? I need inspiration. So I gather all of my canning books and flip through the pages. After an hour of scanning recipes, there it is. Wow. Such a great idea. Ketchup!
From that fateful evening, I have been making ketchup ever since. The taste is fresh, bright, and so much more flavorful than what I used to buy at the grocery store. And folks, if you can tomatoes, you can make ketchup.
Over the years, I have continued to tweak this recipe. While I enjoy a nice tomato base, I also like the slight bite of vinegar, sweetness of orange juice, and some assorted spices/seasonings. Please feel free to adapt the recipe to fit your own personal taste. But regardless of how you adapt the recipe, please use fresh tomatoes. Do not used store bought canned tomatoes. The metal cans impart a ‘tinny’ flavor which will negatively impact the taste of the final product.
- 2 Tbl. olive oil
- 6 lbs. heirloom tomatoes, blanched, seeded, and skinned
- 1 white onion, skinned and diced
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 C. white vinegar
- 1/2 C. orange juice (fresh squeezed is best)
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne powder
- 1 tsp. dry mustard
- 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp. allspice
- 1/3 C. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
Place a large stock pot on the stove set to medium heat. Add the olive oil. Swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Next, add the onions and sweat for 5 minutes. Stir in garlic. Sweat for another 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, mix well. Lower to the heat to a simmer. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Allow to cook down until the volume is reduced by half or until you reach your desired consistency. (I like a thick ketchup and so I reduce the sauce by more than half.) As the sauce cooks down, increase the frequency of stirring. You do not want to scorch your ketchup.
When desired consistency is reached, remove pot from heat. At this point, I use an immersion blender to get a uniform texture of the sauce, blending away any large chopped pieces of tomatoes or onions. Pour sauce into sterilized jars. Adjust lids and rims and process for the length of time necessary for your elevation. This recipe makes 3 pints.
I generally triple this recipe. Not only do we have enough for our home, but homemade ketchup makes a wonderful gift that your friends will relish.