Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Homemade ketchup

We tend to buy good ole Heinz ketchup. It's the kind I always have had and it just tastes like it is supposed to. I can tell when we go to restaurants if they use a different kind. It just isn't the same.

Well, I got my last issue of MaryJane's Farm magazine and it included some homemade condiment recipes. I made mustard last month and it turned out pretty good but a little too spicy for me. It's a belly-burner! That might be because of the crushed brown mustard seeds I used, though.

I decided I wanted to try making homemade ketchup for a couple reasons. First, Heinz has high-fructose corn syrup in it. Second, I had some old, frozen tomatoes waiting to be used up. So, I borrowed a food mill from my dad and went for it. Today. And boy, did I make a mess!

But, it turned out pretty darn tasty! Logan claimed he didn't like it, but I am wondering if I put it in a ketchup bottle if maybe he would like it (as in, if he wasn't told it was the homemade stuff.) It doesn't taste exactly like Heinz, but it's good. It only keeps a few weeks, though.

Anyway, here's the recipe, if you're interested in trying it. I, as usual, didn't measure anything. I just added approximations and adjusted sugar and vinegar and salt to taste.

3 lbs ripe tomatoes, chopped (I used thawed, frozen, chopped tomatoes)
1 med. onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed (I didn't have any so just used garlic powder)
1 T black peppercorns
1/4 t dry mustard (didn't have any. used whole mustard seeds)
1/2 t ground allspice (didn't have any)
2 whole cloves
2 t celery seeds
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 t paprika
1/4 t cayenne (didn't have any. used blackened seasoning)
1/3 c light brown sugar
1/3 c apple cider vinegar
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 t sea salt

Place tomatoes, onion, garlic and spices into a stockpot and simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring regularly until about 1/3 of the juices have evaporated. (Whatever. Mine cooked for maybe 20 minutes. I kind of "lost" some of the juice all over my fridge as the tomatoes were thawing, though.) Let sit for 30 min. to cool. Remove cinnamon stick.

Put tomato mixture in a blender and process on highest speed for a minute.

Run mixture through a food mill using finest mesh screen. Return to a clean sauce pan. Bring to a simmer and add the sugar, vinegar, lemon juice and salt. Adjust to taste.

Simmer an hour or so to thicken. Allow to cool to room temp. Store in fridge in a jar for up to 3 weeks. Or, you can freeze it in plastic canning jars. When ready to use, thaw and simmer 15-20 min to allow extra water to evaporate.

So, yeah, it was pretty easy. It says if you're using frozen tomatoes, to thaw and drain in colander, and since there will be less volume, reduce sugar and vinegar to 1/4 cup each and the salt to 1/2 t, and then when thickening simmer for only 30 min.

Me? I just added this and that, coming close-ish to the recipe, and simmered until it looked and tasted done, and it turned out great.