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Fresh Tomato Ketchup

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Written by foodie pam   
Sunday, 05 August 2007
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ImageMy garden is now producing at least five pounds of tomatoes each week. It's great!  When the first tomatoes arrived I'd simply slice them and eat them, put them on salads,  make bruschetta, or toss them with some pasta.  But now that they have arrived en masse it's time to cook them.  First up this year -  homemade ketchup.  Homemade ketchup is so much better than store bought that once you've made it you'll crave more.  It is one of the reasons I grow as many tomato plants as I can fit in my garden!

I've made this particular ketchup recipe for the past three or four years but this year is the first year the consistency came out right.  In past years it has been watery and a bit pulpy but I've learned from my mistakes.  The "tricks" to getting proper ketchup consistency are:

  • Cut the tomatoes the evening before and let them drain overnight to release excess water.
  • Use a food mill and process the cooked tomatoes a couple of times with an increasingly finer blade to get a completely smooth puree before you begin reducing it.

ImageAfter doing this I not only got the right consistency but I got that consistency in exactly two hours - the time stated in the recipe.   Of course now I have to make something to use the ketchup on - hmmm sounds like dinner tonight is sausages on the grill with oven baked French fries and homemade ketchup - yum!

Fresh Tomato Ketchup

  • 5 lbs ripe red tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 medium red onions, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1 T black peppercorns
  • 1 T mustard seeds
  • 1 T allspice berries
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 2 tsp celery seeds
  • 1 thin slice fresh ginger
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ c packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • Large pinch cayenne

Quarter tomatoes the evening before, place in strainer and allow to drain over night to release excess water. 

Place tomatoes, onions, bell pepper and garlic in a large pot.  Bring to boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft about 30 minutes.  Pass through a food mill 2 or 3 times starting with a course blade and working to the finest blade until you have a very smooth puree. Alternatively, puree in a blender until smooth and pass through a fine strainer into a large bowl.  

Place peppercorns through bay leaves on a piece of cheesecloth and tie it up to form a bag.  Add to tomato mixture along with brown sugar, paprika, vinegar, salt and cayenne.  Simmer slowly stirring frequently until ketchup is very thick, at least 2 hours.  Remove cheesecloth bag.


next year...
Andrea (Unregistered) 2007-08-23 20:01:36

We had a small garden this year, but next year we'll have the raised beds set up and then hopefully will have enough tomatoes to try this!
pam (Publisher) 2007-08-23 20:07:55

Andrea - Hope the raised beds work out - homemade ketchup is well worth the effort!
Kate (Unregistered) 2010-07-21 23:09:22

what does "Place peppercorns through bay leaves on a piece of cheesecloth" mean?
pam (Publisher) 2010-07-22 10:26:55

Kate - It means to place the peppercorns, mustard seeds, allspice berries, whole cloves, celery seeds, thin slice fresh ginger, cinnamon stick, and bay leaves (ie peppercorns - bay leaves in the ingredients list) in a piece of cheesecloth and wrap them up to create a bouquet garni.
tiina (Unregistered) 2010-08-16 20:06:15

Question: How do you store your homemade ketchup and how long does it last...not that that's an issue with everyone in this household loving ketchup....but, still nice to know.

Looking forward to trying your recipe and if I can ever get back to this site and hear your response, I will let you know how it turned out.
pam (Publisher) 2010-08-18 11:57:44

Hi Tina,

I generally just keep it in the fridge and use it within 6 months, but if you make more or don't use it quickly enough canning would be necessary. I haven't tested the acidity of this recipe though so if you anticipate the need to can you should use a recipe developed for canning from a canning cookbook. I'm actually trying a new recipe out this year with the intent of canning and if I like it I'll let you know. It's from Canning for a New Generation.
Anonymous (Unregistered) 2010-09-01 08:01:34

love the recipe. im using it on some local beef burgers. absolutely delicious.
Donna (Unregistered) 2011-06-16 07:16:22

You say to bring the tomatoes, onions, bell pepper and garlic to a boil, do you put water in the pot to make it boil? Or is there still enough water in the tomatoes to boil on their own?
pam (Publisher) 2011-06-16 08:44:49

No need to add water. The tomatoes have more than enough water content.
norma.dougie (Registered) 2012-03-04 23:45:44

Anonymous (Unregistered) 2012-06-06 08:42:25

[Posted image
Kim (Unregistered) 2012-08-29 15:45:06

I found this recipe last year and gave it a try. When first tasting it, I thought it was too sweet and spicy; however, the next day all the flavors had combined to make the most delicious ketchup I have ever tasted. I didn't puree it to a smooth consistency; we like the "artisanal" look of the first pass through the food mill.

This summer, we've grown tomatoes with the intent of making all of our own ketchup. Thank you for this amazing recipe.
Kim (Unregistered) 2012-08-30 08:27:31

Do you drain the tomatoes overnight in the refrigerator?

For the simmering step, I use my crockpot. It takes a bit longer, but is less likely to scorch and doesn't require a constant eye.
pam (Publisher) 2012-08-30 08:50:54

Kim, I don't out them in the fridge. cold changes their texture. I haven't had any scorching issues.

Kim (Unregistered) 2012-10-27 08:27:32

Have you ever doubled the recipe? If so, do you recommend it?
pam (Publisher) 2012-10-27 10:17:53

No I haven't doubled it.
Husband and Ketchup Lover
Paul (Unregistered) 2012-11-06 17:30:08

My wife is going to try this next year, tomatoes are all gone for this year, usless we use store bought. Do you recommend a particular type of tomatoe. She love Roma and we were going to plant some Roma's next year, I was hoping we could kill two birds with one stone?????
pam (Publisher) 2012-11-06 18:05:21

Roma's and other sauce tomatoes work best as they have less juice so that's a great choice.
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