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Homemade Ketchup

October 20th, 2009

In our efforts to eat healthier and more locally I’ve been learning to make more and more things here at home instead of buying them at the store. Usually they’re very easy to make and most of the time they taste better than their store-bought counterpart and they’re much cheaper as well. My latest make my own efforts involved ketchup.
Homemade_KetchupMaking ketchup is actually much easier than it sounds. I used the recipe from Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It: And Other Cooking Projects
Of course since I lack the ability to follow a recipe to a T, I changed the recipe a bit. I used roasted tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes and I used olive oil and ground cardamom since I didn’t have whole pods.

Regular ol’ Tomato Ketchup (but better)
from: Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It: And Other Cooking Projects

1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
5 whole cloves
5 cardamom pods (crushed) I used 1/2 t. ground cardamom
1 star anise
10 black peppercorns
1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes (I used roasted homegrown tomatoes)
1 large yellow onion, quartered
2 Tablespoons neutral vegetable oil (I used olive)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/3 cup packed brown sugar (I used organic evaporated cane juice and organic molasses)
1/2 cup champagne vinegar (I used organic white balsamic)
1 teaspoon hungarian paprika (I used smoked paprika)
freshly ground black pepper

1. Using a piece of cheesecloth (or an empty tea bag), tie the cinnamon, bay, cloves, cardamom, anise, and peppercorns into a bundle. Set aside.

2. Pour tomatoes and their juice into a food processor or blender (or put roasted tomatoes through food mill). Puree until totally smooth, and set aside all but 1/4 cup. To the remainder, add the onion and puree.

3. In a large dutch oven (this will splatter so use a large tall pot), heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion puree and the 2 teaspoons of salt and stir well. Cook for 8-10 minutes, letting the puree reduce and lightly brown. Add the tomato, sugar and vinegar, turn heat to a low simmer, and reduce for about 15 minutes uncovered, with an occasional stir (cooking time is reduced if using roasted tomatoes since they’re already reduced). Add the spice bundle and reduce for 10 minutes more, with an occasional stir (I added the spice packet when I added the tomatoes). When it’s done reducing, it should be a little thinner than commercial ketchup. Stir in paprika, taste for seasoning and add salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed.

4. Let ketchup cool and remove the spice bundle. Pour into a jar and chill overnight, or at least for 6 hours.

Will store in fridge for up to 2 months.
To can: ladle into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 headspace and process in a water-bath canner for 15 minutes (more at higher elevations).

I must admit, this is a great recipe. I’ve had homemade ketchup before and I’ve never really liked it; this is a different story. This ketchup has that perfect sweet tanginess that I love, it might even be better with some heat added (perhaps some of those cayennes I’ve dried). Of course if you’re expecting the texture of the stuff from the grocery you’ll be dissappointed, but in flavor this is by far better than store bought. I’ll still be keeping some regular ketchup in my cabinet, but this will become a regular at our table for sure. I used some of this ketchup to make sloppy joes and they were fantastic! I would highly recommend this recipe to anyone interested in making some homemade ketchup.

Have you ever tried making something at home that you usually buy at the store?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.