Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Mrs. Wages Ketchup My Way

It would be a cliché to quote Frank Sinatra in his song, "I Did It My Way".  But I can't help but have that song rolling over and over again in my brain as I write this post. 

I don't say "my way" because I am thinking I am awesome.  I say "my way" so that next time when I go to can ketchup I know exactly what I did.

I don't know about you but I am often put off by the strong flavors of homemade ketchup.  Sometimes I like it, on certain things.  Like a burger, when it compliments the flavors.  There are time when I don't like it.  Like on French Fries, because for me, the ketchup should taste a certain way.

Finding the right ketchup, that tastes that certain way, without going to the store to buy it, is a bit of a challenge.  I think I have found a solution.  It might be temporary though.

Mrs. Wages are premixed "spice packs" that you can add to your canning process.  There are other things in the mix.  Since I try to stay away from packaged things as much as possible, and really that is a big part of why I can fruits and vegetables, I hate my reliance on it.  But it will do until I find the perfect combination of spices and such.

On the Mrs. Wages package it says, 6 pounds of tomatoes.  I used 7 and I did it a different way so I am going to rewrite the recipe like I did it.  Of course, you are still adding that package of Mrs. Wages.

Adding that pound with yield more ketchup.  But it will also tone down the spices into more of what I like about commercial ketchup.

Mrs. Wages Ketchup, My Way

7 pounds fresh Roma tomatoes (weighed after coring them)
1 cup white vinegar
1 6 ouncs can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 pouch Mrs. Wages Ketchup Mix

Start with pretty ripe Roma's.  You want them to be at their peak.  They will be sweeter and meatier.

Wash the tomatoes. Cut of bad spot and cores.  Squeeze them with your hand into the pot.  The package directions say to mash it with a tomato masher.  I am here to tell you friends, your hands are much faster and effective.  But do make sure they are clean first.

Start the flame on low just so nothing burns.  Turn to medium high after the tomatoes start to release more of their juices. Reduce to simmer and let cook at least for a half an hour. You want some of the liquids to evaporate.  This will yield a thicker ketchup.

Turn off the heat.  Place about 3 cups of the mixture into the blender.  I place a towel over the top because sometimes the hot liquid can rise and force the top open a little.  Let me tell you, that hurts.  I also start the blender on 'stir' to get things going and then I move it up to 'liquefy'. 

Pour the liquid through a strainer.  You will need to run a spoon around the bottom of the strainer.  You are basically forcing the small solids through.  You want these small solids.  Again, it will add to the thickness. Once you have forced as much through as possible, then you tap the strainer edge on the side of the pot you are straining into.  A couple times do this,  This will force the rest of the solids through. Pretty soon there will be a ball of tomato skin and seed bouncing in the strainer.  That is when you know You have forced as much of the mush tomato through as possible.  Discard those solids or better yet, compost them.

Now that you have cooked and strained as much of it through as possible, you can proceed with the recipe as it is written.

"Combine juice, tomato paste and vinegar into a large pot and bring to a boil.  Stir frequently.  Slowly add sugar and Ketchup Mix to hot juice until evenly dispersed.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.  Ketchup is ready." (Mrs. Wages Ketchup package directions).

The only thing I would add is that I used a whisk to mix in the Ketchup Mix.  It clumps very easy.  You could also take some of the hot liquid out and mix it with the powder in a separate container and then pour it back in. 

You can freeze it or can it.  If you can it.  You will need to process it for 40 minutes.  What does that mean? Process?  Bring a large pot of water, preferably a canner, to a boil.  Pour liquid into canning jars, place lids on top and screw down with a jar ring tightly.  Place hot jars into hot water.  Bring to a boil in the canner.  Once the water in the canner has reached boiling, Let boil for 40 minutes.  Remove with a jar remover and place on towel on counter to cool.  You want to make sure you hear that ping.  This lets you know it has properly sealed.  After 24 hours, push down on lids, if they spring back, they are not sealed.  They need to be refrigerated and used. To learn more about canning please consult a Ball Canning Book or go to this site and learn more about safe canning practices.

If you are anything like me, you will ask what is in this list of ingredients on the Mrs. Wages package.  Here yah go: salt, food starch, evaporated can sugar, beet powder, onion, natural flavor, xanthan gum,citric acid, paprika spice, garlic.

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