Making my own ketchup has been on my “To Do” list since my last bottle ran out over a year ago. (Clearly, ketchup is not much of a priority in the Terry-Stoler household.) Still, it’s a good condiment to have on hand, and I planned to consult with bloggers Danielle or RobJ who had already started making their own. What I didn’t realize was that just across the San Francisco Bay, my good friend Mark Peters had been making his own ketchup for ages, along with homemade mayo, homemade bread — sans bread machine — and much more. Sometimes I’m so quick to jump online for information I forget about the real life flesh and blood friends who are part of my life. SORRY GUYS! One of my New Years Resolutions is to spend more quality face time with the people I love. And this weekend, I started with Mark.
Yesterday afternoon, I went over to Mark’s house with a bag of tomatoes, an onion, and a willingness to learn. He’d already sterilized a few mason jars (to hold the finished product) and started a big pot of water boiling.
Here are the ingredients we used. Notice there are no BPA-lined cans involved:
- 4 pounds tomatoes
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 cup your choice of vinegar — Mark uses white vinegar. Whatever kind you buy, try to get vinegar in a glass bottle instead of plastic.
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 tsp. ground allspice
Drop tomatoes into a pot of boiling water for about a minute until their skins split.
Once skins have split, the peel will basically fall off. Peel and chop tomatoes.
Combine chopped tomatoes with chopped onions in a large saucepan. Make sure to catch all the juice. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
Next, transfer tomato/onion mixture in small batches to a blender with a glass pitcher (I don’t recommend putting hot foods into a plastic blender pitcher!) filling it only about half full each time. Puree each batch and pour into a bowl.
When finished pureeing, pour the entire batch back into the saucepan, making sure there are no more big chunks. Add vinegar, salt, cloves, and allspice, and stir.
Let the ketchup simmer slowly, uncovered, for several hours, stirring occasionally, until it is reduced about 50% or to the desired thickness. This ketchup ends up a brownish red color, not the artificially-enhanced red of many commercial ketchups. But believe me, it tastes fantastic.
Transfer ketchup to jars and let cool before refrigerating or freezing. It will keep for about four months in the refrigerator and indefinitely in the freezer. IMPORTANT: If you plan to freeze the ketchup, do not fill the jar all the way. Leave space at the top for expansion. Glass jars are fine in the freezer as long as they are not overfilled.
If I had planned ahead this summer, I could have used beautiful farmers market tomatoes. But I have to say, it was lovely to spend a winter afternoon just hanging out and chatting with my friend while the scent of cloves wafted through the air and the windows fogged up from the steam. I’m starting to think cooking is the most fun when done as a team sport.
Next up: Homemade Plastic-free Tater Tots — the best vehicle for homemade ketchup, no?
Homemade Chocolate Syrup (the best condiment of all)