My latest creative pursuit involved making ketchup. Oddly enough, we're not big ketchup eaters at our house but what can't be made better when homemade? I had tomatoes, I already made marinara, (yum!) so I thought I'd try my hand at ketchup. Now of course, being one who can't do things the way they have always been done, I had to put my own twist on it. We now have enough ketchup for about the next ten years but it turned out mighty fine.
24-25 pounds of ripened tomatoes (weigh whole tomatoes before beginning)
3 cups of chopped sweet onions
1 tsp. of cayenne pepper
3 cups wine based vinegar (red or white)
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks (about 3" each)
1-1/2 tsp. whole allspice
3 Tbsp. celery seeds
1-1/2 cups sugar
12 ounces of tomato paste
Yield approximately 15 half pints*
Miscellaneous seasonings to create a variety of ketchup flavors. I used the following amounts per 1/2 pint jar:
Curry Ketchup: 1/8 tsp. curry
Peppercorn Ketchup: 1/4 tsp. whole black peppercorns
Herbed Ketchup: 1 large bay leaf
Plain ketchup requires no further additions.
*Following is the ketchup-making procedure that I used. It does not get into the details of canning, preparing your equipment and jars for canning or processing info. That is better left to the experts. Process as directed by the USDA, your local agricultural extension service or canning reference books.
Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for about a minute or until the skins begin to split. Immediately plunge the tomatoes into ice water to cool so that they can be handled.
Core and peel the tomatoes then cut into quarters and place in a large stock pot. Mine is 16 qt. and allows room for stirring. Add onions and cayenne pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for twenty minutes.
While waiting for the tomato mixture to reach a boil, place the vinegar and spices (not the salt, sugar or tomato paste) in a separate pot. Bring the vinegar to a boil then cover and turn off the heat. Allow the spices to steep in the vinegar until the tomato mixture is ready.
When the tomato mixture has simmered for 20 minutes strain the spiced vinegar into the stock pot. Allow this seasoned mixture to boil for another half hour.
Working in small batches, carefully puree the mixture in a blender. This is hot! do not over fill the blender and place a kitchen towel over it to trap splatters. Strain the blended mixture through a sieve to remove the seeds. Press any pulp through the holes. I use a cone-shaped sieve with a wooden pestle but a screen-colander and spoon would do.
Return the strained puree to the stock pot along with the sugar and salt and boil gently stirring often until the mixture is reduced at least by half and perhaps a bit more so that it is the desired consistency for ketchup.
Add the tomato paste and stir until well combined.
Prepare the jars as directed in your chosen canning reference guide. Place the desired flavorings in each jar. Fill the jars as directed in the canning materials.
Remember to make a map when placing each flavor in your canner so that you are able to label the jars correctly after they have been processed.
FYI, When canning using a pressure canner I use my All American canner seen here. I received it last year as a Christmas present (some of us like appliances as gifts) and I absolutely love it. It also works for the water bath canning method.