A Tomato Ketchup Recipe Anyone Can Make
How to Make Tomato Ketchup in a Crockpot
It’s nearing the end of tomato season. You learned how to care for tomato plants, tended them tirelessly, and now – if you’re like me – you’re getting tired of making tomato sauce from scratch. When those tomatoes come, they come quickly and in great abundance! This tomato ketchup recipe gives you something new to add to your arsenal of food preservation methods for tomatoes when you can’t do one more batch of sauce. It seems like one can never have too many options for what to do with those tomatoes when they are coming in by the basketful.
My husband loves ketchup. When I say love, I mean, when he’s at a restaurant and they offer those tiny condiment cups, he asks for a drinking cup and fills it with ketchup. Last year I went in search of a good recipe to try to make a fresh, healthy version of this most beloved condiment. The spicing in the tomato ketchup recipe I want to share with you is from one of my favorite cookbooks: Canning for a New Generation (Liana Krissoff, 2010). I highly recommend getting this book for your home library or even just getting it from the library to try a few recipes. Everything I have made from it has been wonderful.
The recipe in Canning for a New Generation produces a thicker, pulpier ketchup than what my family is used to eating – almost the consistency of applesauce. The flavor is wonderful, but for those young palettes that are so sensitive to texture, that might be enough to keep them from trying this homemade version of ketchup.
I want to share with you a new method I discovered this year for making the tomato ketchup recipe, which produces a condiment closer in consistency to what you buy at the store.
Good Ketchup: A Tomato Ketchup Recipe
In the original tomato ketchup recipe, you begin by cooking onion and garlic with a little oil then adding all your other ingredients and cooking until the tomatoes soften. Then you run everything through a food mill and cook down the resulting pulp.
Instead, this year, I began by putting my tomatoes, onion and garlic (all the solids in the recipe) through my juicer. This took about three minutes to do, as opposed to the 30+ minutes it took me to run all of my ketchup through my old food mill in small batches. When you put the tomatoes through the juicer, a thick foam forms on top, which you can scrape off with a spoon.
Once I had my base of tomato juice, I added the dry spices (paprika, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, cayenne and salt), sugar and vinegar. After stirring the mix, I poured the liquid into my crockpot and turned the temperature to high. I left it to reduce about 24 hours, stirring occasionally, until it had cooked down by about half. You can cook it for a longer or shorter time based on how thick you want it to be.
At this point, I stirred in about 2/3 cup of cornstarch and let it continue to cook until it reached the consistency I wanted. I recommend adding the cornstarch a little at a time and using a whisk to mix it so that it really breaks up well. Here again, you can play with the amount used to get the desired texture for your ketchup.
Now, if you use the original recipe, you begin with more pulp, since the food mill produces more of a puree and less juice, so you don’t have to add cornstarch. You simply cook it until it reaches the consistency you prefer. However, as I mentioned earlier, if you have picky eaters that are sensitive to texture, I highly recommend trying the juicing method because the final product is smoother, like store-bought ketchup.
- 11 pounds tomatoes
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 ½ onion
- ¾ cup apple cider vinegar (5% acidity)
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon kosher or canning salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¾ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground cayenne
- 2/3 cup cornstarch
- Juice your tomatoes, garlic and onion. Pour juice into a large crockpot.
- Add vinegar, sugar, salt and spices. Stir to mix. A whisk works well for this.
- Turn crockpot to high and leave ketchup to cook, uncovered, until it reduces by half. Stir occasionally.
- When ketchup has reduced, add cornstarch and stir to mix.
- Continue to cook until the ketchup reaches your desired texture.
- Eat right away, freeze, or process half-pint jars in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.
This homemade tomato ketchup recipe makes a flavor-packed topping for morning eggs, roasted potatoes, end-of-summer-barbecue burgers, or whatever else you might use store-bought ketchup on. As I tell my step-sons: It always tastes better if you make it yourself! Enjoy.
Do you have a favorite tomato ketchup recipe? Share with us in the comments below. We’d love to try it!