Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Homemade Ketchup

I know I've probably just lumped myself firmly into the "granola" camp with the title of this post alone, but you need to hear me out. We don't go through much ketchup in this house (our condiment of choice, even for the kids, is barbecue sauce--aahh.... the food of the gods, especially Sticky Fingers sauce. Mmmmm....on fries, baked potatoes, hamburgers, chicken, pork chops, and, of course, pulled pork. But I digress).

I was whipping up Crock-Pot Stuffed Peppers one morning and realized to my chagrin that we were out of ketchup (this is after I've already assembled the entire thing)! We only buy little bottles as it is, but this was a tragedy! Crock pot meals are supposed to be easy, thrown together in the morning, and done with for the day. Thankfully, I remembered seeing this recipe on the web at one point--you know what they say: necessity is the mother of invention. So, undaunted, I decided I would whip it up. Better than nothing, right?

I might be truly converted to homemade ketchup. This was a SNAP to make, and I nearly always have these ingredients on hand. Way more complex tasting than storebought ketchup (and certainly cheaper). It reminded me of a really good meatloaf glaze/topping. I'm going to tweak the spices and sugar--it's a touch sweet for my tastes and my "pinches" were a little generous; however, it's incredibly yummy and makes the store bought stuff taste very fake. You must try it! Ketchup freezes fine, so you could even whip up a bigger batch and just freeze some.

The recipe and all accompanying information below are copied from Hillbilly Housewife (a great resource; click here for the recipe link).
  • 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup tap water (depending on desired consistency, I like it with 1/3 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch cloves
  • 1 pinch allspice
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

This is simplicity itself. In a medium bowl combine all of the ingredients with a wire whisk. Blend well. Scrape the mixture into a pint-sized, resealable container. Chill overnight, to blend the flavors. Use wherever ketchup is desired.

To reduce the sodium content simply omit the salt.

To reduce the sugar content replace the brown sugar with 1-teaspoon molasses and 1/4 cup granulated Splenda.

Regular ketchup is chock full of sugar, salt, preservatives and all sorts of things you probably don't want to think much about. Low Sugar and Low Salt ketchups cost $3 for a small bottle. With this recipe you can make 12 ounces for less than 50¢. It tastes best after the seasonings have a chance to blend, but it can be used right away in a pinch. It tastes very good too, similar to regular ketchup only fresher tasting, and not so cloying and oversweet.

This recipe, created by me personally [the Hillbilly Housewife], has become quite popular on the web. Folks have copied it, altered it slightly, usually using 1/4 cup water instead of 1/3 cup, and many cooks have discovered just how tasty it is. One of the nice things about creating a popular recipe is that when you release it on the net, it grows wings and develops a life of it's own.

Makes 12 ounces.

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