Making Ketchup

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.

RB Ketchup
  • 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
  • 1/4c. salt
  • 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; 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 either a cone-shaped sieve with a wooden pestle or a screen-colander and wooden pestle or spoon.

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. I received it 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.


  1. I love that you are combining your creative loves in this endeavor. Decorating and sewing are #2 & #3 on my list, with painting first and foremost. Can't wait to hear your take on these. Making ketchup? Not on my list. KD

  2. Rebecca,
    It sounds delicious - maybe you should set up part of your booth at NET with a tasting section! I am sure that Bobby can find a way to incorporate selling it with the flat wine bottle or one of the pattered trays for olives or cherries.

  3. Klaudia,

    I'll be sure and add your creative loves to my to do list. I haven't sewn recently but designed and made most of the clothes for our daughters when they were younger. I hope to have some quilting fabrics soon (its in the works) so I am sure that will spur me to create something.

  4. Janet,

    I love the foodie booth idea but somehow doubt the convention center would go for it. I'll have to stick with sharing the recipes. Since I cook everyday I have to be selective on what to post. I just made dough for hamburger rolls so we can use some of that yummy ketchup!

  5. The recipe looks yummy. I have a juicer that I use to juice tomatoes for making pizza sauce. I may try that to cut out the whole boiling and peeling step. I will give this a whirl if my tomatoes hold.

  6. I'd love to know how that turns out. I've not tried using my juicer.

    A friend told me her family made ketchup when she was a child and they just set it in the fridge overnight. The water separated off and could be removed before canning.


Back to Top