Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Homemade Ketchup - for people with too much time - or too many tomatoes - on their hands

OK. So I reckon we don't eat that much processed food, and I'm taking part in the Tefal Fresh Week challenge which is about cooking from scratch every day for a week. 

One of the processed foods that does feature on our table is ketchup. If you look at the ingredients label of a reputable brand, there's not too much that makes me cringe in there.Then there's all the lycopene you get from processed tomatoes, which (anecdotally, at least) is supposed to be an anti-cancer agent. That's good enough for me, so ketchup makes it on to my own personal 'approved' list.

Still, the thought occurred to me that I could try and make my own. And fortuitously enough, the Husband returned from a night of back woods cooking with the scouts last week with nearly a kilo of tomatoes - the scouts apparently preferring to adorn their wood fire cooked pizza calzone with meat and cheese  rather than anything as damningly healthy as a slice of tomato.

The oven was on for shepherd's pie last night anyway, so I halved the tomatoes, drizzled them with a tablespoon or so of rapeseed oil and some fresh thyme in a roasting tin and bunged them in to roast for an hour.



Once out of the oven, and cooled for half an hour, I pushed the roasted tomatoes through a seive and into a pan. Fortunately, tomato seeds rate highly on the chickens' list of favourite things to eat, so there won't be any waste there.

I had about 300ml of sauce after I'd mushed it through the sieve (pitiful really! The recipe I was loosely following in Veg Everyday called for 1 litre...), to which I added 4 tsp of red wine vinegar and 3 tsp of soft brown sugar along with a pinch of mace and a pinch of ground allspice and a splash of Worcestershire sauce. The ketchup results from then bubbling this down gently to reduce it by half, before adding salt and pepper. And really, this is where it all gets a bit silly. Generally, if something's going to be on the stove top for a long time, I like to be able to bob back and forwards to it, doing other things, rather than be continually stirring. This is pretty high maintenance in that you need to keep stirring to stop it catching. For about 30 minutes. An excessively long time to be tied to the cooker - unless it's for making lemon curd, for which I am always happy to make an exception.

Check out the splatter
In addition, the low water content of the sauce (or something) means that it spits quite viciously. All the way up the kitchen wall. Now I'm not the most houseproud of people, but it really was quite annoying - probably because I was in one of those 'let's be a domestic goddess' moods, and tomato splattering up the walls was not part of that plan. It would never happen to Nigella...

I persisted though, and was rewarded with a pot - a whole 159g of pretty tasty tomato ketchup. 








The proof of course is in the eating, so I served it up to my harshest critic, for breakfast this morning, with eggy bread.


 
 

The all important finger test




And the verdict?

"Mmmm, yummy Mummy"


But does it taste like ketchup?

"Well not exactly Mummy, but it's very good."

And she ate it all up.


So there you have it. Homemade ketchup, splatter and all. Tastes pretty good, and overall Pink ranked it her second favourite type of ketchup (she's a connoisseur, you know), which is praise indeed.

Would I make it again? Well, you need a lot of tomatoes to make a decent batch. You could store it, as jam, in sterilised jars/bottles too, so perhaps, if the greenhouse yields bounteously on the tomato front, I might be persuaded to. But the greenhouse has never yet yielded tomatoes in such quantities. And then there's the time. And the stirring and splattering. And you know, there's something very pleasing about squirting ketchup out of a plastic bottle...


15 comments:

  1. Ha ha ha. I think we'll just stick with banning it for the week so the three year old can go cold turkey. Seeing as he views ketchup as food group it isn't going to be fun. I'll definitely add it to the list of things that life is too short to make at home.

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    1. yes - I don't think I'll necessarily be rushing to make it again!

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  2. WOW, I don't think I'll be making my own tomato ketchup any time soon. I admire your dedication to all things fresh though

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    1. :-) thanks - bear in mind the Husband had just flown off to Saudi so I was filling in time...

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  3. Good for you!! We also eat a ton of ketchup - I've never made my own though!
    Mary x

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    1. Perhaps just someting to make the once...

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  4. I doff my cap to you here RJ. It looks lovely but it sort of ranks up there with the homemade mayo doesn't it..

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    1. Oh yes - although possibly easier than the mayo!

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  5. Mighty impressed you made your own delicious looking ketchup - sounds messy and tedious and just the sort of thing I'd do too when I'm left on my own!! :)

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    1. :-) sad, isn't it! This evening, I've left the kitchen alone and surfed the sofa with a bar of chocolate...

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  6. This looks amazing! I've not tried making my own ketchup yet, but I have pinned this to my sauces board :) I followed you here from the UK Food Bloggers Association, by the way! I run a link party where people share their recipes each week & I would love it if you stopped by to share this with us! Here's the link: http://anyonitanibbles.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/tasty-tuesdays-10.html

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    1. Thanks Anyonita - I've added the post to the linky!

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  7. I used to make homemade ketchup when the boys were small. I used to make everything homemade as I was one of those mum's who was paranoid over salt and giving them the best start! I decided that life is too short and plus we never have enough tomatoes! However, I do alway make jars of tomato pasta sauce in the late summer and use them over the winter!

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  8. I had never thought about making homemade ketchup before - but it would be fun to give it a try. I am pinning right now! Thanks for sharing at Tasty Tuesdays, hope to see you this week. :)

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  9. I'm so glad you linked this up to Tasty Tuesday! :) Thanks so much! I've pinned it to my Tasty Tuesdays board & shared it with my followers! I hope you come back & share with us tomorrow!

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