Real tomato ketchup, Eddie? Oh, nothing but the best for this Tomato Tuesday. When I was a child, my mother made and canned homemade ketchup. I hated it. It wasn’t the taste, it was the look. I wanted smooth, shiny and bright red — in other words, I wanted store-bought. Thankfully my tastes have matured and I have developed an appreciation for things that don’t come in plastic squeeze bottles. This ketchup doesn’t look store-bought and, luckily, it doesn’t taste like it either. It has a sweet, tangy flavor with a vinegary kick at the end. A bit more sophisticated than the bright red concoction from Pittsburgh.
This recipe, Rory O’Connell’s Tomato Ketchup, is from Darina Allen’s Forgotten Skills of Cooking. I like this first because of flavor, second because it makes a small, manageable amount — it only calls for 3 1/2 pounds of tomatoes (about 6 medium to large) versus the ketchup recipe from Ball which calls for 24 pounds of tomatoes.
Rory O’Connell’s Tomato Ketchup
Makes 6 x 8 fluid ounce bottles
3 1/2 lb tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 lb eating apples**, peeled, cored and chopped (weigh after peeling and coring)
1 lb onions, chopped
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups cider vinegar
1 level tablespoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
6 black peppercorns
6 allspice/ pimento berries
Place all the ingredients in a stainless-steel saucepan. Bring to a boil and summer for about 1 hour, stirring regularly to avoid sticking, until it has the consistency of ketchup.
Leave to cool for 4-5 minutes, then blend to a smooth puree. If the consistency is a bit thin, return to the saucepan and cook to reduce further. Remember: it will thicken as it cools. Pour into sterilized glass bottles and store in a cool, dry place, for 3 months or more.*
*Allen says you can just pour the hot ketchup into sterilized glass bottles then store on the shelf. Now, I know that between the vinegar and the tomatoes the acidity rate is pretty high but I still just can’t bring myself to let this sit on the shelve without a bit of insurance. I canned the ketchup — also known as boiling-water heat processing — allowing the ketchup to process in the boiling water for 15 minutes.
Tomato Ketchup Tips
- I let the ketchup cook down, on low, for about 30 minutes after I pureed it. Mainly because I was busy preparing the jars and for the canning process.
- Allen recommends Cox’s orange pippin apples — I have no idea what these are, I used Gala apples. Why add apples – perhaps it’s the natural pectin, perhaps it adds sweetness?
- Peeling tomatoes – you can poach the tomatoes briefly in hot water to loosen the skin, since I only had 6 tomatoes to peel, I just used a vegetable peeler.