Making your own homemade tomato ketchup is a must have especially if you are a gardener or have access to a local farmer’s market.
At our house, ketchup is always in the refrigerator. It is a favorite condiment, which makes it a must have. For us, it almost has its own food group.
Ketchup that Tastes like Store-Bought Ketchup
The first requirement in our recipe is that it must taste like store-bout ketchup. Heinz Ketchup is a popular brand, and we strive to have ours taste like the one we are familiar with.
This ketchup tastes just like ketchup should and better yet, I know exactly what goes into it. Even the pickiest eater at our house gobbles it up just like the stuff from the store.
We had to taste test on a batch of our homemade French fries.
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Finding the Perfect Homemade Ketchup Recipe
When I was growing up, my mom made homemade ketchup. She canned a whole bunch of it before the rest of the family tasted it. My siblings and I drowned everything in ketchup growing up. So, it had to be up to our tastebud standards.
Well, we had to eat this terrible homemade ketchup the whole winter! That was a tough winter for us children.
Therefore, when there was a ketchup shortage a few months ago, I wanted to try my hand at making this delicious condiment. However, it had to be good. So, I set out to try a few different recipes. This version is the one I like the best. However, this recipe is easily customizable.
Homemade Tomato Ketchup Canning Recipe
Canning your own homemade ketchup at home can be a great way to enjoy one of the most popular condiments without having to buy it from the store.
Whether you’re an experienced food preserver or just getting started with preserving foods, this easy-to-follow ketchup canning recipe will have you on your way in no time.
This old fashioned ketchup is preservative and additive free. It does not use high fructose corn syrup like popular brands do in the grocery store. Rather, it uses granulated sugar, onions, garlic, vinegar, celery seeds, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, mustard powder, salt, and pepper. Most of all fresh tomatoes, which can be a variety of tomatoes from red ripe tomatoes fresh off the vine or canned tomatoes. About 24 pounds or 48 cups.
How to Select the Best Whole Tomatoes
When choosing tomatoes look at the appearance, smell, and feel.
Supermarkets now days offer many varieties of tomatoes from heirloom, vine-ripened, beefsteak, Roma, Campari, cherry, grape, to yellow types.
Appearance. Tomatoes should have a deep red color or bright color if using the yellow and heirloom varieties. Check for any black spots, bruising, and blemishes. This could mean that the fruit is already beginning to spoil.
Smell. Hold the tomato to your nose and take a deep breath in. It should smell earthy and sweet. Also, no smell most likely equals poor tasting tomatoes that are rather bland.
Feel. When you pick up the tomato, it should feel a little heavy. Give it a gentle squeeze to see if there is a little resistance. Too much, and it is over ripe, too little and it is under ripe. A perfect tomato will have slight resistance and not feel hard.
How Long Does Homemade Tomato Ketchup Last?
Fresh made tomato ketchup will last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks. It can be frozen for up to six months. And homemade ketchup that is canned will last 1 to 2 years on the shelf. Once opened, refrigerate for up to 6 weeks of this fresh tasting condiment.
What are the secret spices in ketchup?
Most recipes call for vinegar, onions, and sometimes garlic. Spices can vary, but there is always some kind of sweetener such as sugar, honey, agave, corn syrup, or high fructose corn syrup. Other seasonings used to ramp up the flavor can be mustard powder, cumin, allspice, cinnamon, salt, and pepper.
Homemade Tomato Ketchup Canning Recipe
- 24 Pounds Tomatoes cored and seeded, about 72 medium or about 48 cups, can use canned tomatoes
- 3 Cups Onions chopped, about 4 medium
- 2 Tablespoons Garlic diced
- 1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
- 3 Cups Cider Vinegar or White Vinegar
- 2 Teaspoons Celery Seeds
- 4 Teaspoons Whole Cloves
- 2 Cinnamon Sticks Broken into pieces
- 1 1/2 Teaspoon Mustard Powder
- 1/4 Cup Pickling and Preserving Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- Using a piece of cheesecloth, add the celery seeds, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and mustard powder. Pull the edges of the cheesecloth together and tie to create a spice bag.
- In a stainless steel saucepan, add the vinegar with the spice bag. Bring to a boil using high heat. Remove from the heat and let cool for 25 minutes. Remove the spice bag and discard.
- In a large stainless steel kettle or a water bath canner, combine the prepared fresh tomatoes, onions, and garlic. Over high heat, bring to a boil stirring frequently.
- Reduce heat and continue boiling gently for 20 minutes. Add the spice infused vinegar and boil gently for about 30 minutes. Until the vegetables are soft, and mixture begins to thicken.
- If you removed all the seeds, you could skip this next step. Otherwise, working in batches, transfer the tomato mixture to a sieve placed over a glass or stainless steel bowl, this makes a fine mesh strainer. Press with the back of a wooden spoon to extract all the liquid. If you have a food mill, this is a good way to remove the solids as well.
- Discard the solids and return liquid tomato sauce to the large pot.
- Next add the rest of the ingredients, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Once boiling, reduce heat and continue boiling gently, stirring often, until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of store-bought ketchup. The mixture will reduce by half within about 45 minutes, and it should be thickened.
- Clean jars in hot soapy water. Then sterilize the 7 pint glass jars for preserving with lids and bands; (16 oz each). You can use 14 half pints if you prefer to can smaller jars. To sterilize, in a large canning kettle, add water and heat on high bringing the water to a simmer. Heat until ready to use.
- Ladle the thickened hot ketchup into the hot jars leaving ½ inch headspace from the top of the jar. Remove any air bubbles and wipe jar rims. Center the lid on the jar and screw bands on until just fingertip tight. Place the filled jar in the water canner with water boiling.
- Repeat this process for the next 6 pints.
- Process the jars for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand 5 minutes.
- Remove the jars from the hot water. Place jars on the counter on a kitchen towel. Let sit and cool untouched for 24 hours. After that, check the lids for sealing. When the center is pressed, the lid should not flex up and down or make a popping noise.
- Label and Date the jar. Store jars in a cool dark place.
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You can find Victoria crocheting, quilting, and creating recipes. She has worked in restaurants for many years. Her many crochet patterns and quilt patterns are enjoyed by many. In her professional career, she has worked in management in a wide variety of businesses including higher education as a dean of a division. All the while attending college part-time to achieve her doctorate in higher education with an emphasis in e-learning.