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This Ketchup IS Worth the Effort.

Pressing tomatoes through the Foley mill
Ketchup cooking

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. 

Ketchup Recipe:
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.