I’ve been asked to post our ketchup recipe and even tho we’re a little past canning season here it is now, and I’ll link back to it next year at the appropriate time. It’s a conglomeration of recipes from several cookbooks; I was looking for a certain blend of flavors.
This needs a long cooking time, so plan on spending a day making it, or start it one day and finish it the next. It may not get quite as thick as the commercial variety, and you may also find the texture to be slightly different. What it does have is fabulous flavor surpassing the supermarket version by far. To supplement my homemade supply I've tried organic brands which seem to have mastered a ketchupy color- they tend to be nice and red. But, sadly lacking in flavor. Do take note: if you want to go to the trouble, its entirely possible to dump storebought ketchup (the organic variety) into a non-reactive heavy bottomed kettle, put some ketchup spices in (see recipe), and slow cook it until the flavors are infused. If only they would get it right in the first place!
makes 7 - 8 pints
Tie into a square of cheesecloth to make a spice bag:
3 tsps fennel seeds
1 tsp whole allspice
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp celery seeds
optional: 2 cinnamon sticks broken into pieces
Place into a heavy non-reactive saucepan along with the spice bag:
3 cups cider vinegar
Bring the vinegar and spices to a full boil and boil for a minute or two, then remove the kettle from the heat and let stand for 30 minutes. Discard the spice bag.
Combine in a large, heavy, non-reactive saucepan:
6 quarts tomatoes, chopped (its ok to throw some green ones in with the reds)
4 large onions, finely chopped
1 cup of honey
2 tsps tabasco sauce
3 tsps salt
2 tsps ground black pepper
Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Place a lid on the saucepan, lower the heat and boil gently for 15- to 20 minutes, until the tomatoes and onions are cooked. Optional: if you like smooth ketchup, puree in a blender working carefully and in batches. After blending, pour the ketchup back into the saucepan.
Add the spiced vinegar to the tomato mixture and stir. Simmer gently on low heat, stirring occasionally until reduced by about half. This can take several hours. Cook until it is the thickness you want. Taste test and adjust for salt, pepper, and tabasco sauce if needed.
Ladle the hot ketchup into hot pint jars leaving 1/2 inch head space. Wipe the jar rims, and seal. Process in a *steam canner or hot water bath for 15 minutes. Remove to a towel covered countertop and let sit for 12 hours. Place into cool storage and use within a year.
*Note: a steam canner is quicker and more efficient than the water bath method. More on steam canning here. -jmm