20 Sep

I realized after making ketchup that we don’t really use much ketchup.  I guess maybe that’s a good thing, since it takes an awful lot of tomatoes to make the same amount of ketchup you could buy at the store for $1.99.

The Washington Post Food section had an article about making ketchup a few weeks ago (perfect timing).   Ketchup is an easy thing to make if you like to cook and have more tomatoes than you know what to do with.  It is not worth the trouble if you have to buy the tomatoes.  I made two batches – the first one yielded 2 pints of ketchup, plus about a 1/4 cup.  The second yielded 3 pints, plus 2 1/2 cups. (The 2 cups went into my barbecue pork) I used about 30 pounds of tomatoes.

Here’s the original recipe

Here’s my version: the ingredients are mostly the same, but the method is a little different.

Tomato Ketchup

I used half San Marzano tomatoes and half random regular tomatoes for the first batch, then all random tomatoes for the second batch.  Romas and San Marzanos have a lot less juice, so you’ll get a better yield, but regular tomatoes will work – they’ll just need to cook longer.  You’ll need a food mill and a food processor to get the right consistency.

  • 5 lbs Roma or San Marzano tomatoes (or 6-7 lbs regular tomatoes)
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 2 cloves
  • 3 allspice berries
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 large onion, preferably a sweeter variety, but any will work
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 sweet pepper, fresh or roasted, chopped
  • 1 1/2 T salt
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seed
  • 1/2 c apple cider vinegar
  • 6 T brown sugar

Trim stems and any bad spots from the tomatoes.  Cut them in half and place in a large pot. (The pot should be big enough that the tomatoes only fill it halfway to prevent splattering.)  Turn heat to medium high.  Combine the peppercorns, cloves, allspice, celery seed, bay leaves, star anise, and cinnamon in a piece of cheesecloth and tie to make a bag.  Add to the tomatoes along with the pepper, salt, paprikas, and mustard.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30- 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat.  Fit a food mill with a fine disc.  Remove the spice bag from the pot, then process the tomato mixture through the food mill.  Clean the pot, return the tomato mixture to the clean pot, and place over medium heat.

Add the vinegar and brown sugar and cook 30 minutes-1 hour until mixture is thick.  Then taste it!  Add salt or sugar if needed.  It may seem a little grainy – that’s why you need a food processor.  If you’re not sure about the thickness, put a little spoonful on a cold plate and put in the fridge for a few minutes.  If you can run your finger through it and leave a trail, its thick enough.   Cool slightly, then process in a food processor until smooth.

At this point you can reheat the ketchup in a clean pan to boiling, then fill pint-size canning jars and process in a water bath for 10 minutes.  Or, fill clean jars or squeeze bottles and store in the fridge up to a month.

One Response to “Ketchup”


  1. Sloppy Joes « an intermittent gourmet ~ real food, real life - February 2, 2011

    […] 1 c ketchup […]

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