Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Garden Tomato Ketchup

I made ketchup.  I MADE KETCHUP!!  I have often thought of doing this and I finally did!  And it was good!  I followed a baseline recipe from my Ball Blue Book of Preserving and modified it a bit, cuz that's what I do.  HAHA  It's not Heinz, but it's good.  I love the fresh taste and there is only 1 cup of sugar** in the whole batch.  I got 4 and a 1/2 pints so that's minimal sugar per serving.  Excited!!  I may work to get it closer to tasting like Heinz, because then my husband will no longer have to buy it.  He has a thing for Heinz - he loves it, but he did say he likes my ketchup, so I'm gonna chalk this recipe up as a success.  Simmer this A LONG TIME.  I simmered mine for 3 hours.  I wanted THICK ketchup because I wanted it comparable to store-bought ketchup. 

See the ** at the bottom of the recipe for a paleo and clean eating option for this recipe.

Garden Tomato Ketchup

8 pounds tomatoes, blanched, peeled and cut into quarters (weigh after blanching and peeling)
1 medium onion, chopped finely (to equal 1 cup)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup vinegar
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 6-ounce can no salt added tomato paste
In a cheesecloth bag or spice bag combine the following 4 ingredients:
1 stick cinnamon, broken
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon celery seed

I have a handy little kitchen scale with a top that has raised edges, so I weighed my tomatoes out after I blanched, peeled and cut them.  In a large pot or Dutch oven put your tomatoes, chopped onion and cayenne pepper and simmer until soft, stirring occasionally.  In a very small saucepan bring vinegar with spice bag of cinnamon, cloves, mustard seed and celery seed to a boil.  After tomatoes have broken up a bit from cooking blend the tomatoes.  This can be done 1 of two ways.  I used my immersion blender which allowed me to blend my tomato mixture up in my pot without emptying out the tomatoes.  You can also blend the tomatoes a batch at a time in a blender until it's all smooth.  After tomatoes have been blended until smooth, add the spiced vinegar, sugar, tomato paste and spice bag.  Stir until sugar is dissolved and tomato paste is blended.  Make sure your stove top is set on a low or simmer setting, stirring occasionally, and just leave the lid off the pot to simmer until it reaches your desired thickness.  Like I said, I simmered about 3 hours.  You will notice it reducing and it will reduce by half before it's thick enough.  To test the thickness for myself, I put a small about in a small bowl in the fridge and tested it's thickness with a chip just to make sure it held together like ketchup should. 

Now comes the canning.  For those of you who have done this before, there's really no need for you to read further unless you wanna see my SUPER EASY canning tip.  Be sure your jars are cleaned and you have your seals softened in boiling or boiled water.  Pack your jars with the ketchup leaving about 1/2 inch head space.  Clean rims, place seals and screw on caps.  Process in a hot water bath canner for 10 minutes.  OR, here comes the super easy canning tip - preheat your oven to 350.  After your jars are packed, place the jars in a 9x13 pan (basically just for easier insertion and removal of the jars from your oven), put the pan in your oven and shut off your oven.  Let the jars sit inside your oven overnight or about 8 hours.  After you take them out they should all be sealed.  I have had really excellent luck with this.  If you happen to have a jar or two that doesn't seal, then you would have 24 hours to process them in a water bath canner to seal them up or just put the jar in your fridge and use!

I hope you enjoy - I would love to hear your reviews!!!!

**If you would like to try this as a paleo or clean eating ketchup substitute the 1 cup sugar for 1/2 cup of honey and let me know how it goes for you.  I will be trying it too!