This Ketchup IS Worth the Effort.
I’ve wanted to make my own ketchup for a couple years, ever since I read that someone did it and couldn’t believe what a waste of time it was. I know than sounds weird, but when they said that, I thought, ‘it’s only a waste of time if it doesn’t turn out well.” It must be all about the recipe.
Personally, I find commercial ketchup very sweet. And it’s no wonder - when you read the ingredients on a store-bought ketchup bottle, it includes high-fructose corn syrup early on in the list.
Last week, I found and purchased a bottle of ‘Old Fashioned Ketchup Spice.’ Produced by W.H. Wildman Co. in Ohio, the list of ingredients reads like this. Contains: Cinnamon, Black Pepper, Allspice, Cloves, Cayenne Pepper. I decided this was not your average Ketchup Spice Blend! And there was even a recipe on the back of the bottle. Having a ready supply of tomatoes, I decided that now is the time. I even mentioned to a friend that I was going to make ketchup, and she said to me, “WHY?” I just laughed.
The final product bears very little resemblance to commercial ketchup, and is a hit in my house. The words ‘sublime,’ ‘real,’ ‘exciting’ and ’complex’ were muttered as it was devoured. It is spicier than I expected, but that’s OK. I ended up with 5 pints of sauce that will taste good on so many things. It could be part of a marinade for chicken or pork, and it is delicious on burgers. The recipe as written says it will yield 6-7 pints, but I may have let it cook a little longer than I should have. Hence, the extra spiciness. And it was definitely worth the effort.
Be sure to use a heavy bottomed kettle, and use a Foley food mill as a sieve. Even though the recipe didn’t call for it, I processed all the pints in a hot water bath for 20 minutes at the end.
Chop and cook 8 quarts (about 25) tomatoes until soft.
Strain into a sieve, pressing through as much pulp as possible.
Return pulp to kettle and add:
5 ½ TBL Wildmans’ Ketchup Spice
2 TBL salt
1 C sugar
2 C cider vinegar
Cook until thick or when pulp is reduced by half.
Store in sterilized pint or half-pint jars.