Playing Ketchup

In normal years I make all my tomatoes into passata and guard it closely so that we can use it instead of commercial tinned tomatoes throughout the year. But this year is different. The huge numbers of tomatoes that I was able to buy cheaply last week mean that I can experiment with something different, namely.. ketchup.

IMGP6194The recipe I wanted to try out (from River Cottage) starts with a litre of roasted tomato passata, which I already have after the weekend’s activity. To that you add cider vinegar, lemon juice, pepper and various spices, plus some demerara sugar. I looked at the list of spices and decided to modify it a bit, I did use the suggested mustard powder, ground ginger and freshly ground pepper, but I omitted celery salt (Mr Snail does not like celery) and ground cloves (they make me think of toothache) and instead added some hot paprika.

In hot water

In hot water

Because of the vinegar, this concoction will apparently keep for a couple of months if you simply put it in a jar, but I want to be sure that my stored produce will last a good long time, so I decided to immerse the jars in a hot water bath for 20 minutes just to be sure. We do eat commercially-produced tomato ketchup and I will be very interested to see how this compares, because if we like it, that would be another processed food that I could cross off my list… and, in fact, there aren’t very many of them left that I still buy.

I’m interested to know whether anyone else makes tomato ketchup and, if so, what spices you put in it.

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  1. Can’t remember when I last had tomato sauce with anything! (we don’t call it ketchup here).

  2. Stevie-boy is quite the aficionado of “dead horse”. We buy it in 2 litre red plastic bottles and he tastefully screws the cap from a small squeeze bottle on the top. If I hadn’t been eaten out of house and home (and Sanctuary) by rats, I would have made some tomato sauce last season but I have BIG plans for saving the crop against the advancing, ravening hoards this year! A small aside…I just found a recipe for making jelly (that American word for clear jam) out of peach skins. What a clever way to use all of the fruit! 🙂

  3. The Husband feels that a pie cannot be consumed without tomato sauce, and as he gets pie regularly, we have a family sized container of it! I should probably follow your lead…

    • I have to say that I and the kitchen got even more tomato-splattered making this than doing the passata for some reason… perhaps the sugar is responsible or the volatile vinegar… anyway, be warned!!!

  4. Looks like you’re well on your way to having something you like. Other than the spices you mentioned, I also add allspice and a cinnamon stick while the mixture is cooking. Not keen on the cloves, either, but they seem to impart a darker flavor without being too clovey. I left out the celery seed, even though I like it, because it just seemed wrong, somehow…

    • I like the idea of a cinnamon stick. It’s years since I last used allspice so I don’t have any in the cupboard, I will have to buy some. I want to leave the flavours of the latest batch to develop a bit before tasting, but it will be interesting to discover what it comes out like.

  5. My son has always put ketchup on his ketchup. He buys huge bottles of it and it goes on everything. Me. I would never use it. But the passata, I have grown quite fond of. I first found it in an Italian deli outside of Los Angels where my son lived. I love the idea of tomato sauce not being in a can. The glass jars won me over. I bought a case and brought it to Oregon with me. I finally found more here last week. Until I finally have a garden and something growing in it, I will not be making my own but you never know what the future will hold. I’ve learned a lot here today. Thank you.

    • I think my home-made ketchup bears little resemblance to the the commercial stuff… time will tell, as I’m letting it mature a bit. Our local posh pub serves a fancy burger with home made ketchup that Mr Snail is very taken with – I hope I can compete!!

  6. Great blog post as usual, very interesting 🙂 I read somewhere (in Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions book, possibly) that ketchup used to be a fermented condiment (like saurkraut etc) …I am not sure if this is true but I find it an interesting idea…I wonder how that would taste. I will let you know how it turns out if I ever get around to making fermented tomato ketchup 🙂

    • Interesting… I guess that adding the vinegar mimics the fermentation to some extent. I’m not sure that I can face fermentation just at the moment (apart from the peach scrap vinegar that is bubbling gently in a corner of the limery), but maybe one day. I’d love to hear what it turns out like if you do ever decide to have a go!


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