Making Ketchup From Canned Tomatoes

Lovely red onions - had to take a photo before chopping them up

Lovely red onions – had to take a photo before chopping them up

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Like most people, I have always been a Heinz ketchup person. When I was young I can remember my Grandma buying IGA brand ketchup because it was cheaper – it did not taste anything like the spicy zip of Heinz. In recent years I switched to organic Heinz and another organic brand I found that tastes practically the same.
I had never considered making my own ketchup until we experienced the great green tomato glut in the autumn of 2012. Fried green tomatoes are good for a couple of dinners and you can make green tomato relish, but it’s not really my thing. I did come across a green tomato salsa recipe after that which I might try next year but in the end I decided to try green tomato ketchup.
I found a simple recipe on the internet with not too many ingredients and turned hundreds of tomatoes, otherwise headed for the compost bin, into a dozen jars of ketchup. The colour was a somewhat vile brownish-green, but it tasted just like red ketchup and this particular recipe fell into the same spice flavour profile as Heinz. Much rejoicing occurred. Sadly, we popped the lid on the final jar last week and I thought I might try to make more from some local-ish, organic canned tomatoes rather than buy some off the shelf. Since we had liked the taste of the green tomato recipe, I used is as a base for developing the below recipe.

Ketchup from canned tomatoes:
Based on the green tomato ketchup recipe I use:
Ketchup Vert – by Julian Armstrong 1990 A Taste Of Quebec

yield 12 cups (can easily third recipe to make 4 cups)

  • 3 – 28oz cans of tomatoes (I used organic whole and mashed them in the pot before adding the other ingredients, but you could buy crushed or diced
  • 3 lbs of onions (I used red), chopped
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt (I used kosher – as canned tomatoes usually have salt added don’t use more than this to start – there is an opportunity to add more salt near the end if you want to) – if you only have fine table salt use 2 teaspoons
  • 2 cups sugar (again, there is an opportunity to add more near the end but I wouldn’t start with more than this)
  • 2 1/2 cups white vinegar (I used pickling vinegar since I had a big jug)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 5 tablespoons pickling spices (could be wrapped in a cheesecloth bundle but not necessary since it will be sieved)

Put all the ingredients in a large pot, bring up to a boil stirring periodically. Lower temperature and simmer uncovered for an hour stirring periodically until the onions are very soft.
It will seem watery – this is expected. Remove it from the heat and let it cool a bit before you run it through a sieve a couple ladles worth at a time into another large pot to get a real smooth consistency. Put some muscle into it, you should be left with only the spices, tomato seeds and any pieces of skin that were left on the tomatoes in the sieve.
If planning to store your ketchup out of the fridge in jars, start to prepare your jars/lids/rings and get your water bath/jars going.

While your water bath is heating up, assess your ketchup. First, the consistency should be more watery than ketchup because canned tomatoes are packed in tomato juice and/or water. So turn on the heat to medium and cook it a while longer stirring frequently. Once you have reached a desired consistency, turn the heat to low do a taste test to see if it needs more sugar or salt to your taste. If so, add some a bit at a time, stirring and tasting until you’re happy. Then bring your ketchup back up to a boil (get your jars out of the water bath) and then turn off the heat and remove the pot of ketchup from the heat. Immediately fill your hot jars to 1/2 inch from the top, wipe the rims, put on the lids and screw the rings to finger tip tight before carefully placing in your water bath. Once the canner gets back up to boiling, process for 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and wait five minutes before removing your jars. Leave jars to cool, untouched for 24 hours. Remember to check that your jars sealed properly and refrigerate any that didn’t. Test with french fries. You’ll be surprised how good it tastes.

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About stanleycottagegarden

We garden, we cook, sometimes we blog.
Gallery | This entry was posted in Cooking, DIY, Preserving, Tomato and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Making Ketchup From Canned Tomatoes

  1. Can I use red wine vinegar instead? And can I use passata? Looking forward to making this!

  2. Laurie says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I will have to try this.

    • :) let me know how it turns out and go light on the salt at the beginning – I couldn’t believe how much salt is in canned tomatoes. Next time I’m going to make a one can batch and try adding more garlic and some hot peppers.

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