Homemade ketchup tastes so much better than store bought
- 3 TBS celery seeds
- 4 tsp whole cloves
- 2 4″ cinnamon sticks broken in pieces
- 1 1/2 tsp whole allspice
- 3 cups cider vinegar
- 24 lbs tomatoes cored and quartered
- 3 cups chopped onions
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1/4 cup pickling or canning salt
- Tie the celery seeds, cloves, cinnamon sticks and allspice in a square of cheesecloth making a bag
- In a stainless steel saucepan, combine vinegar and spice bag. Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat and let stand for 25 minutes. Discard spice bag. (I just toss the spices in the vinegar and let it cook. I strain them all out when necessary with a fine strainer. I’ve never had a problem.)
- Meanwhile, in a large stainless steel stockpot combine tomatoes, onions and cayenne. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and boil gently for 20 minutes. Add infused vinegar (this is where I strain) and boil gently until vegetables are soft and mixture begins to thicken, about 30 minutes (I have found it takes a bit longer if you have juicy tomatoes. Like a couple of hours)
- Working in batches, transfer mixture to a sieve placed over a glass or stainless steel bowl and press with the back of a spoon to extract all the liquid. Or you can use a food mill. Discard solids. (I just put my immersion blender in there and let it rip. If you don’t mind seeds it’s faster and it thickens more quickly. Plus there are a lot of nutrients in the skin that you lose if you mill it all out.)
- Return liquid to saucepan (with my method it never left.) Add sugar and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until volume is reduced by half and mixture is almost the consistency of commercial ketchup, about 45 minutes. (Again, much longer depending on the juiciness of your tomatoes.)
- Meanwhile prepare canner, jars and lids.
- Ladle hot ketchup into hot jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if necessary by adding hot ketchup. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight.
- Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes. (20 minutes for over 3,000 ft) Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.
Cook time is not easy to determine. It’s going to be totally dependent on how juicy your tomatoes are and how thick you prefer your ketchup. On the good side, you can let it simmer on the stove and just check it periodically. The house will smell delightful while it is cooking.
Ketchup Hack: I just put my immersion blender in there and let it rip. If you don’t mind seeds it’s faster and it thickens more quickly. Plus there are a lot of nutrients in the skin that you lose if you mill it all out.
Keywords: ketchup, catsup, homemade ketchup, canning