Saturday, 23 January 2010

Sweet Tomato Ketchup

When shaking up the ketchup bottle
First none'll come, and then the lot'll.

Quite why ketchup is still sold in narrow necked bottles defeats me. Anyway, it's another reason for making your own - you can store it in pleasing, wide-necked jars that allow you to spoon onto your plate to your exact taste. There are other reasons; you get a better result, and you know what went into the mix, but I'm a romantic at heart, and for me it is the aesthetics that win the day.

On with the recipe. There are two phases to ketchup making:

1. Make a puree of your ingredients.
2. Make a ketchup of your puree.

Here is the detail, then.


Sharp kitchen knife
Chopping board
Garlic crusher
Mortar and pestle or Spice grinder
Half gallon saucepan with lid
Wooden spoon
Can opener
Coarse sieve, and second saucepan, or Hand-blender
Preserve funnel
4 x 1lb/450g Jam jars, sterilised.


6 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes.
3 x medium onions, finely chopped
90g soft brown sugar
250ml cider vinegar
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 stick cinnamon, or 1 tsp ground
1 tsp whole or ground allspice
1 tsp whole or ground cloves
1 tsp ground mace
1 tsp celery seeds
1 tsp black pepper, whole or ground
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 garlic clove


Phase 1.

Grind up your spices, and heat your saucepan. Let the spices dry-fry for a minute or so, to get the flavours fragrant. Add the chopped onions, stir to coat in the spices, and then the crushed garlic. Let them work in the heat for a bit, and then add your tomatoes. Then, just simmer with the occasional stir, on a medium heat, 'til the mixture has reduced by about a third. At this point, blend with your hand-blender, or manually press through a coarse sieve.

Phase 2.

Add the sugar, and vinegar, and simmer gently for about 10 to 15 mins, until it reaches the right consistency.

At the end of this process the texture is liable to be slightly coarser than shop-bought ketchup, but, frankly, I think that adds a character that is perfectly consistent with the objectives of this blog.

So, when you're satisfied, pour into sterile wide-necked jars and seal. Unopened, they should keep in a cool larder for 12 months. Opened, they store in the fridge for up to 14 days.

I find it costs about £4.00 to fill 4-5 450g jam jars, assuming the spices are already in the store cupboard. That's about £1.00p per lb jar, with a whole lot of self-satisfaction thrown in.

Best wishes, 2ndRateMind

Here's where to get jam jars:

Here's a word about sterilising:

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