Monday, September 23, 2013

Homemade Ketchup

Tomato season.  Canning. Canning. Canning.  Its all good.  This year ketchup was on the docket.  Ketchup from the store these days tastes like tomato flavored corn syrup.  Yes?  My kids even commented one day how sweet it was and... salty.  Yes, I was a little surprised they noticed.  Note to self.  Make ketchup this summer.  Oh, and I did.

I really looked for a recipe. I wanted one that did not have tons of spices in it, had just the right amount of tang and sugar. I looked through old canning books and the internet.  Alas, I found a jumping off point from NPR.  If you want to read about what they did, click here to visit that page.

I have to say that the end result was way beyond my expectations and I simply loved it.  One thing I would change is that I would put a tad less cayenne.  I dont mind, but my kids may.  So I write this as a note to self and maybe to you too that I should put it in because it gives the recipe a bit of "smack" but not have it so obvious.  Next year a half of a teaspoon.

I used roma's.  I tell you this because if you are going to can this, you want to start with roma's.  They are meaty and will give you a stellar out come in way less time. When I clean them. I first scald them for a minute or two, let them cool on a baking sheet.  I skin and core them.  Then I slit them down the sides and ease the liquid and seeds out of them.  My end product has barely any seeds.  I avoid straining this way.  Something I particularly hate about canning tomato sauce.  Maybe because that was always my job when I was a kid and my mother was canning.
The above photo is a ketchup I made using Mrs.  Wages canning seasoning packet.  It is very good. However, I paid three dollars for the packet for a little over three pints of ketchup.  Eh. I really wanted a batch of the stuff to last me and the family through the winter and summer until tomatoes arrived again.

Ketchup or Catsup
Note: This may sound weird but if you can get your hands on some beet powder or you have the forethought to make it (Idid not), you could add a teaspoon or so.  This will make the color nicer and add a bit more depth.

1/2 bushel roma tomatoes
1 cup onion
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 quart (4 cups or 32 ounces) cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon dried garlic flakes
1 tablespoon allspice*
1 teaspoon cinamon*
1 teaspoon cloves*
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (I used 1 teaspoon and it was spicy)

*If you choose to use whole spices, place them in cheesecloth so you can remove them later.
Wash the tomatoes.

Place a wide and deep pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil.  Place tomatoes in a single layer into the post.  Scald for one to two minutes. Let them cool on a baking sheet until you can handle them.  Skin and core them.  Slit them down the sides and ease the liquid and seeds out of them. Place in large kettle.  Once you have about a quarter of the tomatoes done, place the pot on the stove on a low flame and begin to boil them while you finish cutting up the rest.

Watch them, especially in the beginning until there is enough juice so they will not burn.

Add in the vinegar, salt, Lea and Perrins sauce, spices and onion.  Let this cook for a long time.  Like 4 to six hours.  You want to cook it down until its about half the amount as when you started.  Let cool enough for you to handle as you will place it in a blender next.  Puree in batches and return to large pot.

Place on stove and add in the sugar. Let cook some more until it thickens even more, about another hour or two. Get canning pot ready with water and heat on stove.

Add in tomato paste to ketchup mixture. Correct the seasoning with salt, pepper, sugar and Lea & Perrins Sauce.  Let it go back to a simmer.  Turn off heat.  Using a measuring cup, pour the liquid into canning jars leaving a 1/4 head space.  Put lids and rings on and tighten to finger tight.  Place in hot water bath.

Fill canner with water to at least 1 inch above tops of jars.  Once the water starts to boil, this is called processing, process for 30 minutes.

Turn off flame, remove lid of canner and wait five minutes.

Use the tongs to remove the jars and lids one at a time from the canner.  Listen for a ping as the ketchup cools and the lid pops into place. You dont have to be there to hear the ping but it is a gratifying sound.  It means the lids have sealed.  Beofre you store them you do want to check to make sure the lid is depressed.  This means they are sealed properly.  If the lid is not depressed store in refrigerator and eat. Let the jars rest 24 hours.

Store in a dark place. My yield was 6 quarts and one pint, with about a cup left for eating right away! Yum.

My friend gave me this beautiful bouquet for my birthday.  Thank you.  They are so lovely.


LittleRed said...

I hope you had a lovely birthday. making ketchup has been on my to do list for years!! I have bookmarked a recipe from fine cooking from years ago but never tried it. Now I have left over tomatoes from green tomato chow chow and mincemeat...which are now red. Although they are not Roma...I may just give this a try. Thanks for sharing:)

Colette Joseph said...

Love the idea of homemade ketchup, Lori. You know what goes into it and can feel good about sharing it w people you love.

Lovely flowers, too. Happy belated bday!

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