Homemade Ketchup

3 Jun 2013

Ketchup gets a bad rap.  One could be reprimanded from using this condiment on the “wrong” dish.  Chicagoans for example think it’s egregious to put ketchup in a hot dog.  I personally like the acidity and the sweetness that ketchup adds- to roast chicken, fries, burgers, and yes, the occasional hot dog.  But the truth is the homemade version is a condiment incomparable to what has become the norm with the commercially bottled brands.It is a complex condiment- a medley of tomatoes, cut, reduced and strained multiple times with spiced vinegar and a bit of sugar.  The result is a tangy, slightly sweet condiment that makes a great foil to rich and greasy dishes.

Homemade ketchup isn’t a complicated canning project.  It requires 45-60 minutes of active work and several hours of simmering and reducing.  It is a good lazy weekend project.   You may be surprised by how so many ingredients could produce so little, but the results are well worth all the effort.  The flavor is intensely surprising- and deeply satisfying.


Homemade Tomato Ketchup

makes 3 half-pints



  • 25 ripe tomatoes, peeled, quartered, deseeded and juiced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. To peel tomatoes, prepare a pot of boiling water and an ice bath; score the skin on underside of the tomato with a paring knife; submerge the tomatoes for 10 seconds in the boiling water;  transfer straight from the pot to the ice bath and let cool; once cool- skins should peel off easily; discard tomato skins
  2. Quarter each tomato, then remove seed and juice into a separate bowl
  3. After all the tomato juice and seeds have been collected, strain the juice and discard the seeds
  4. In a large pot, combine quartered tomatoes, tomato juice and diced onion and let simmer until onions are translucent (approximately 30 minutes)
  5. In a separate small pot, combine cider vinegar, garlic, whole cloves and cinnamon sticks and let simmer for 30 minutes; discard solids afterwards
  6. Once the onions are translucent in the tomato mixture, place in food processor or blender and puree
  7. Strain pureed tomato mixture, place back into pot and simmer for 1-2 hours
  8. Once tomato mixture has reduced to half of its amount, mix in spiced vinegar and the rest of the ingredients and stir frequently for 30 minutes
  9. Take off from heat and can immediately  (please follow safe canning practices– please let me know if you need me to expand on this)
  10. Enjoy!
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2 Responses on "Homemade Ketchup"

  1. Alexandra says:

    Funny coincidence… I *just* made homemade ketchup! It’s hard to go back to the store bought version though 😉

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