I’ve posted before about making ketchup. So, fair warning, this is not a recipe post. I’ll refer, as I have in the past, to the excellent Thane Prince cookbook, Jams, Jellies and Chutneys. It’s my go-to book for English style pickles and preserves. By now, I’ve made Thane’s ketchup recipe dozens of times. But I’m still finding out things she didn’t exactly warn me about. Perhaps these are techniques that experienced canners know, but neophytes such as myself would have appreciated these extra tips. So allow me to provide you with a much needed addendum. All respect to Thane, but I think she needed to step back six paces and address the novice. I guess that’s what I’m here for. And lest I scare you off with the unvarnished truth, you will need this recipe. If you are growing tomatoes, you need recipes that will allow you to process maximum amounts of harvest. Nothing demands bags of tomatoes like ketchup. So read on.
But first, did I mention that I think I’ve grown the biggest tomato ever?
This is NOT the kind of tomato you will be using to make ketchup. You must must must use only sauce tomatoes such as Principe Borghese or San Marzano. The little sauce tomatoes have a higher pulp to water ratio. Trust me on this. You are going to be boiling down 8 lbs into approximately 4 half pint jars. You want to start with as little water as possible.
For similar reasons, a Cuisinart is absolutely necessary. Before you start, bear in mind that you will be grinding everything through a food mill.
Oh, and the recipe also won’t make clear to you that everything in this recipe will be reduced and concentrated. So things you don’t want to taste MORE of you’ll want to eliminate. So for instance, only buy or use organic vegetables. You don’t want concentrated pesticides in your ketchup.
Remember I warned you about that food mill? You’ll be grinding that thing for more than half an hour. Do the initial cooking down of the vegetables for five times longer than Thane tells you to.
Now comes the second simmering down. You should just laugh at Thane’s suggestion that it will take “about 20 minutes” to get the desired consistency. If you want anything close to ketchup thickness, start blocking out hours.
By this time you will need to be fortified. I recommend Hitching Post Pinot Noir.
That’s my addendum of those extra tips the canning and preserving books won’t tell you. Now go get Thane Prince’s book. But heed my warnings.