Homemade Tomato Ketchup
To be quite honest, I’ve never given it much thought really. The ketchup, I mean. It was just one of those things that grew on the supermarket shelves. It came in a myriad of different shapes, sizes and varieties and always seemed to be in season. The world seemed to be obsessed with it, so I figured it was a good thing that this red gooey stuff grew in abundance.
My college roommate dumped huge amounts of tomato ketchup on almost everyting she ate. She came up with some pretty weird flavor combinations, I tell you. For me, it was just something to dip my fries in, as well as a dangerous liquid that left blood red stains on my clothes. Maybe I missed something, like a Cosmo article listing 100 things you must love about tomato ketchup. I don’t know.
My significant other, on the other hand, enjoys his dollop of ketchup quite religiously. He has acquired a certain taste for the saucy stuff over time and is the self-proclaimed ketchup expert in our household. That basically means that picking out the right brand and flavor intensity is his responsibility. I stay out of it and let him be.
Then one day I saw one of Jamie Oliver’s shows. I can’t remember which one, but then again, he’s made so many of them that even he probably has trouble remembering them all. Don’t get me wrong, I actually like Jamie. He has this incredible spontaneity about him that I love. But he’s a hazard in the kitchen. I always feel sorry for the guy that has to clean up after him. Anyway, he made tomato ketchup. Up until that moment, the thought of making ketchup at home has never crossed my mind. A homemade tomato ketchup… Brilliant!
Not long after that, I got a huge bag full of homegrown heirloom tomatoes from a friend. I knew exactly what to do with them. I didn’t use Jamie’s recipe, though. I combined couple of recipes I found on the web and adjusted the spices to our (well, his) tastes. I must say, I would happily buy and eat a ketchup that tastes like that. That’s some good stuff there, and so much better than any store bought variety I’ve tried so far. The first tomato ketchup I’m not indifferent about. Who would have known?
So, if you’re growing your own tomatoes and are feeling a bit overwhelmed with the quantity of those sweet smelling red gems, go ahead and make this tomato ketchup. You’ll love it, I promise. Devour it with fries, hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches… For a lighter meal, make some oven baked zucchini fries or roasted root vegetables.
Homemade Tomato Ketchup
1 medium sized red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red chili pepper, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon corriander seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 cinnamon stick
70g brown sugar
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon aceto balsamico
juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon sea salt
Strain the tomato mixture through a sieve into a sauce pan, making sure you have extracted as much juice as possible from the pulp. Place on medium heat and add brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, balsamic, lemon juice and salt. Allow to simmer for about 10-15 minutes. The longer it simmers, the thicker your ketchup will be, so adjust the timing to your own preferences.
Pour the hot ketchup into sterilized jars or bottles and twist on the lids. Lay a kitchen towel on the bottom of a large pot and arrange the jars in the pot, making sure they're not touching each other or the sides of the pot. Pour boiling water over the jars so that they are completely immersed in water and cook them on medium heat for 20 minutes. Remove the jars from water bath and allow them to cool to room temperature. Store in a cool, dark place for up to one year.
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