Once you’ve tasted homemade ketchup, you’ll never want to go back to store bought! Homemade ketchup made with fresh, homegrown tomatoes is so much more delicious and flavorful than the pre-made stuff you buy in stores. Plus when we make ketchup, we have control over all the ingredients that go in it. That means we can use the raw honey harvested from our bee hives to sweeten it. We can even use our homemade apple cider vinegar to make it even more healthy and low cost!
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Two years ago I made my first small batch of homemade ketchup. It was tasty, but I had to buy a bunch of tomato paste at the store that I don’t normally have in the house and it was a bit time consuming. When all was said and done, it felt like I had so much time, energy and money into my first batch of homemade ketchup that it ended up costing me more than the store bought organic ketchup. Go figure! My rule of thumb when it comes to making homemade from scratch is that it needs to cost me less money to make it at home than it does to buy the equivalent organic option at the store. Needless to say there weren’t anymore batches of homemade ketchup that year!
Fast forward to last summer when we harvested over 300lbs of organic tomatoes from our garden. Now THAT’S a lot of tomatoes! I canned quite a few jars of homemade tomato sauce and pureed tomatoes but needed some more tomato recipes to preserve our harvest. Then I remembered the homemade ketchup experience from two years ago. I decided that instead of using store bought tomato paste to make it, we’d make it with our homegrown fresh tomatoes. We also planned to make a huge batch to preserve. That way we’d have a much more affordable homemade ketchup to use throughout the year.
We were going to can our homemade ketchup, but we ended up running out of time by the end of the day we made it. I didn’t have any room to put it in the refrigerator overnight to can the next day so we decided to freeze it instead. We froze it in jam and pint size jars. We had a dozen jars of frozen homemade ketchup in the freezer that lasted us for over six months. When we need a new jar of ketchup, we remove it from the freezer, let it thaw and use it. It is so delicious! Everytime we eat our homemade ketchup I smile and think how we grew these tomatoes in our garden. We made this stuff and here’s one less thing I have to buy at the grocery store!
Homemade Ketchup Recipe
-15lbs tomatoes, cored, with skins on
-2 medium onions
-3/4 cup apple cider vinegar (here’s how to make your own apple cider vinegar)
-8 TBS blackstrap molasses
-3 tsp salt
-3/4 tsp celery salt
-1 cinnamon stick
-1 tsp whole cloves
-3/4 tsp cayenne (optional- or add more if you want more spice!)
-6+ TBS raw honey
1. Chop onion and tomatoes in chunks. Bring the tomatoes and onions to a boil in a large stock pot. Reduce to a simmer. Simmer 30 minutes.
2. Puree the tomatoes and onions in the stock pot with an immersion blender (this is the one we have and love!)
3. Strain out the tomato seeds and any small bits of skins. I used to use a fine mesh sieve then I finally invested in one of these hand crank food strainers that strains out the seeds and skins much easier!
4. Once strained, bring to a boil again. Reduce heat to medium/high and cook some of the liquid off until it has the thicker consistency of ketchup.
5. In a separate small pan, boil the apple cider vinegar with the celery salt, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Once it boils, turn off the heat and let it infuse for thirty minutes. Strain out the herbs.
6. Add the herbed vinegar, molasses, salt and cayenne to the large pot of thick tomato onion puree. Turn the heat off.
7. Allow the ketchup to cool slightly. Then add the raw honey to desired sweetness. It is important not to add the honey when the ketchup is boiling hot since that may cook the honey and destroy the healthy goodness of the raw honey!
8. Ladle ketchup into glass jars and freeze to preserve them. This batch made about half a dozen pint size jars of ketchup.
I mentioned earlier we ran out of time to can our ketchup and froze it instead as a means of preserving it. If you want to try canning your homemade ketchup, check out this canning ketchup post from Urban Overalls or this one from Livin Lovin Farmin on how to can sugar free ketchup. Next time we make homemade ketchup, I’d like to try making a batch of this homemade fermented ketchup from Grow Forage Cook Ferment-yum!
Have you ever made homemade ketchup? Do you have any tips to share?