I was standing at our local farmer’s market last week talking to David from Riversong Farms and lamenting about my glut of tomatoes and my lack of storage space for the dozens of quarts I had already put up when he made the most wonderful suggestion.
“Make ketchup,” he said. ”It’s really good and pretty easy to make.”
It was the most wonderful idea I had ever heard. Why didn’t I think of that?! My grandmother used to make it and even my great-grandmother used to make it, surely it couldn’t be that difficult. So, I went home and pulled out all of my canning books, new and old, in order to study the best way to make ketchup. What I found was that the recipe for this legendary concoction was pretty much the same no matter where you looked. The order of events was the only thing that was any different in them. Which lead me to believe that, in fact, the order of events didn’t matter at all!
As of now, my husband and I have both made a batch of ketchup, each with a different order of events and both have come out very tasty. We also tried the homemade ketchup out on hamburgers with rave reviews from our ketchup connoisseur, my seven year old daughter. I cannot wait to give this a whirl on top of meatloaf or homemade fries. And I hope that you at home try this out, too! We spend so much time creating the perfect burger, maybe we should also spend a little time creating the perfect condiment.
- 1 cup 5% strength Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 ½ t. whole cloves
- 1 stick cinnamon broken into pieces
- ½ t. whole allspice
- 1 t. celery seed
- 8 lbs ripe tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped onions
- ¼ t cayenne pepper
- ½ cup sugar
- 4 tsp pickling salt
- In a small saucepan combine vinegar, cloves, cinnamon, allspice and celery seed. Bring to a boil over high heat, then remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- (This step is optional but I recommend it if you don’t have a food mill) - cut a small “X” into the bottom of each tomato and dip them into boiling water to loosen the skins. Transfer to an ice water bath, then peel and core and quarter the tomatoes.
- Place the cored and quartered tomatoes, onions and cayenne pepper into a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Put the tomato mixture through a fine mesh sieve or a food mill, reserving the juice and discarding the solids. Return the juice to the pot. Strain the vinegar mixture through a mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth (or a coffee filter if you don’t have cheesecloth) and add it to the tomato mixture. Boil the sauce for 1- 1 ½ hours or until the sauce has reduced down to a very thick ketchup – consistency.
- Ladle into 2 hot pint jars and process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath or keep in the fridge and use within a month.