Wednesday, October 15, 2014

You Can Never Have Too Much Ketchup

One of my favorite condiments to make is tomato ketchup.  I don't slather it on everything, but the homemade stuff tastes so much better than any of the commercial brands I've tried (even the fancy pants organic ones) that I can't help but use it up.  Not only is it great for dabbing on burgers or dipping fries into, it's also great to add to other things to make Thousand Island Dressing or fancy dipping sauces for homemade chicken fingers, fish cakes, or fried up shrimp.

Not that I would ever eat those things, oh no, not me.  I do eat the occasional fried stuff, but mostly, it's ketchup on burgers or in other stuff (like my favorite hamburger soup) for me.

Basically, I follow the recipe in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving for ingredients and processing time, but what actually goes into my homemade ketchup varies a bit.  I start with homegrown tomatoes, which were frozen whole, then boiled down in a bit of water and cranked through my food mill to remove the skins and seeds.  I put all that watery pulpy liquid into my crockpot, add 3 to 4 cups of cider vinegar (it depends on how much pulp I wind up with), add about a cup of sugar and a tablespoon or two of salt, and then comes the spices.  This last batch, I used my mortar & pestle and ground up onions and garlic that I had dehydrated earlier in the year, and then added the powder to the crock pot.  I use a vintage large tea ball to hold my spices of choice: a broken-up cinnamon stick, three whole allspice berries, four whole cloves, and a large whole star anise.  That gets plonked into the crock pot, and then they simmer down on low-to-warm for hours and hours and hours.

This last batch took 42 hours to cook down.  It was very watery, but smells and tastes incredibly fresh and robust now that it has thickened up to the perfect consistency.

Once everything is ready, I heat up my sterilized jars, pop on a lid, and process the finished ketchup for 15 minutes in a hot water bath.  I usually put my ketchup in half-pint jars, as I tend to use ketchup slowly and if I put it in a bigger jar, sometimes it goes moldy on me before I can finish it up.

If you have a stash of homegrown tomatoes, I recommend using some to make your own ketchup.  It's worth the effort, trust me!

1 comment:

  1. I try to make it every year. It makes wonderful homemade sloppy joes too.


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