Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Ketchup Challenge

This Sunday, I am away, visiting the Midwest.  I'm spending this Sunday in Oklahoma City, becoming a godfather to Stephen George, the son of my long-time friends Stephen and Geni.  Later today, we're heading up to Kansas to visit the in-laws.  Sorry Winfield friends, I'm going straight to Topeka this time.  Nonetheless, as I am in the Midwest, there's nothing more Midwestern than Ketchup. 

Making Ketchup from scratch actually first came up about a month ago.  Every Monday, I volunteer at the George Street Co-op.  One Monday, I was cashiering, and there was a lull.  Several of us were sitting around bantering, and somehow, making Ketchup came up.  "How hard could it be?" we wondered.  One of us grabbed a bottle off the shelves to see what was in it.  Then, we started talking about what it would take to start from tomatoes and make Ketchup.  Thus, my challenge.  I decided I would learn to make Ketchup.

The next day, I was in my office, and I mentioned this to my secretary, Nancy.  Lo and behold, she actually had a recipe to make sugar-free Ketchup.  A few days later, she brought me the recipe.  Using the basic ideas, I modified it to start from tomatoes, use a natural sugar and different spices.

I will say that I have never been a huge fan of Ketchup.  I've never hated it; it has just never been my condiment of choice.  When I was a kid, my dad mentioned that his grandmother used to make it from scratch, and it was totally different than what you get from a bottle.  After having tried it, I can tell you the difference is astounding.  This ketchup has a tart, zingy, sweet flavor.  It's really pretty amazing, if I do say so myself.

I will admit, though, that it isn't as ketchupy as you might expect - which is probably why I like it.  As I've had others try it, some say they really like it, others say it's too sweet, and others would like it more salty or sour.  I may tweak this recipe as I go along and do an update.  But, it was a fun challenge, either way.


3 lbs. very ripe Tomatoes

1/2 small yellow Onion

2 cloves Garlic

1/2 c. Sucanat
*Also known as Panella or Papelón sold in granular form.  If you can't find it, you can use Brown Sugar.

1/2 c. Red Wine Vinegar

1 t. Paprika

1/2 t. Tumeric

1/4 t. Chives

1 fg. of the following:

1.  Wash the tomatoes, and cut any of the green parts off the top as well as any bad spots.  Squeeze the seeds out.

2.  Combine all the ingredients in a blender.  This may take two rounds, depending on the volume.  Blend on liquefy for at least a full minute, so that there are no chunks remaining.

3.  Put into a Crock Pot and cook on high without the lid for 5-6 hours.  Stir occasionally, scraping the sides.  Cook until it reaches the desired consistency

4.  When finished, pour into a Mason jar while Ketchup is still hot, and seal the lid on it.

Now all I need are French Fries

1 comment:

  1. Similarly, my husband has made homemade mayonnaise, and the taste is very different than Kraft or Hellman's or whatever. :)