sunday recipe: homemade ketchup (or catsup, or whatever)

I've become what you might call a ketchup addict. I've always liked ketchup, but would do just as well with it as I would without. Well that's all changed because the thought of having a basket of fries sans that sweet and tangy tomato condiment seems ludicrous, even sacrilegious. I've never tried to make ketchup from scratch, but I've had a few homemade versions that make the bottled stuff seem quite bleh. With BBQ season right around the corner and burgers being one of my favorite food groups, I think it's about time I make my own batch. This recipe from Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It: And Other Cooking Projects seems exceptionally tempting.

Regular ol’ Tomato Ketchup (but better)

1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
5 whole cloves
5 cardamom pods (crushed) I used 1/2 t. ground cardamom
1 star anise
10 black peppercorns
1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes
1 large yellow onion, quartered
2 Tablespoons neutral vegetable oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon hungarian paprika
freshly ground black pepper

1. Using a piece of cheesecloth (or an empty tea bag), tie the cinnamon, bay, cloves, cardamom, anise, and peppercorns into a bundle. Set aside.

2. Pour tomatoes and their juice into a food processor or blender. Puree until totally smooth, and set aside all but 1/4 cup. To the remainder, add the onion and puree.

3. In a large dutch oven (this will splatter so use a large tall pot), heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion puree and the 2 teaspoons of salt and stir well. Cook for 8-10 minutes, letting the puree reduce and lightly brown. Add the tomato, sugar and vinegar, turn heat to a low simmer, and reduce for about 15 minutes uncovered, with an occasional stir. Add the spice bundle and reduce for 10 minutes more, with an occasional stir. When it’s done reducing, it should be a little thinner than commercial ketchup. Stir in paprika, taste for seasoning and add salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed.

4. Let ketchup cool and remove the spice bundle. Pour into a jar and chill overnight, or at least for 6 hours.

Will store in fridge for up to 2 months.
To can: ladle into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 headspace and process in a water-bath canner for 15 minutes (more at higher elevations).


  1. I am beyond impressed. I've never even thought about making my own ketchup.

  2. i put ketchup on a LOT of things, so obviously i'm so stoked to try this! thanks, dear :)

  3. This recipe sounds delicious and not too difficult either - yum!

  4. What a great thing to make, and it looks so tangy and delicious.... I've had great homemade ketchup before too and it just doesn't compare to the bottled stuff, so thanks for the recipe!

  5. Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It is such an awesome book. I have made a ton of recipes from it, and I think the best thing about it is that you make things that you always just figured you would buy - like ketchup or hot sauce, or even, beef jerky, or peppermint patties, marshmallows, or graham crackers.

  6. haha--to me, ketchup is like a food unto itself. i looooove ketchup (even better if it has a kick or some sweetness added).

  7. Oh dear, never ever ever move to Chicago, they'd cast you off into Lake Michigan - nooo one here likes ketchup, most places refuse to even serve it!

  8. I have this book and that's one of the recipes I was looking at yesterday to make. Everything I've made using that book has turned out super good. This afternoon I'm planning on making the chai tea from there.

  9. yes i meant to try making ketchup last summer. i already do my own mustard and bbq sauce, so i must add this to my rep this summer.

  10. I'm kind of amazed by all the ingredients that go into ketchup! cinnamon was a total surprise! I do love ketchup with fries, though I am slightly embarrassed to admit I usually go for ranch dressing or thousand island! but when it comes to McDonald's fries, it's ketchup all the way! :)

  11. Interesting! Sadly, we have a terrible addiction to Heinz specifically. As in, I can always tell at restaurants when they've refilled the Heinz bottles with generic ketchup and I'm horrified. As in, I don't like Heinz in other countries because the formula is slightly different and it freaks me out.

    Luckily, D and I share this issue, so I don't have to be embarrassed regularly by my pedestrian tastes.

  12. Wow, I've never thought to make my own ketchup, but it sounds way healthier than the processed store-bought version.

  13. you made my mouth water and I do not even like ketchup : ) you know who

  14. I always thought I loved ketchup more than anyone, until i met my boyfriend who eats insane amounts. literally insane. I have been meaning to make some from scratch for ages for him and this looks like a great recipe. Thanks for sharing!
    xo ashley

  15. I have a HUGE AMOUNT of green tomato's and am thinking about trying this recipe with fresh green tomato's any ideas? Has anyone tried this with freah green tomato's? I'm mostly concerned about it being a tad too tangy...I've never made ketchup/catsup myself either :-)

  16. I have a HUGE AMOUNT of green tomato's and am thinking about trying this recipe with fresh green tomato's any ideas? Has anyone tried this with freah green tomato's? I'm mostly concerned about it being a tad too tangy...I've never made ketchup/catsup myself either :-)


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