How to Make and Can Ketchup

How to Make and Can Ketchup

One of the many tasks on my list of creating a processed free kitchen for our family was to replace many of the condiments we use with homemade versions. It has not been easy, I will just say that. There are many things that the professionals do better, mayonnaise being one that I have yet to master. The consistency is never right, or perhaps its the type of oil that I use. I feel like my versions always turn out bitter. It’s the worst! But ketchup, that was one that I decided to master over the summer when we had roma tomatoes in abundance on the farm. Now we have many gallon bags of them frozen whole for me to can when things settle down in the winter.

Holy cow. Homemade ketchup is so much better than the store bought version. The depth of flavor alone is unmatched! I love the thick and pasty consistency, the brilliant and sour flavor of our homegrown tomatoes, even the spiciness of the cloves and cinnamon. If you have considered attempting making your own ketchup, I can assure you that this recipe does not disappoint!

Ingredients + Recipe |

Makes about 7 pint jars - original recipe from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

  • 3 tbsp celery seeds

  • 4 tsp whole cloves

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • 1.5 tsp whole allspice

  • 3 cups apple cider vinegar

  • 24 lbs tomatoes, cored and quartered

  • 3 cups onions, chopped

  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

  • 1 1/5 cups sugar

  • 1/4 cup pickling or kosher salt

  1. Using a small spice bag or piece of cheesecloth, fill with celery seeds, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, and allspice. Tie up and place in a small saucepan. Cover with the apple cider vinegar and bring to a hard boil. Remove from heat and let steep uncovered for 25 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes and bring them to a boil over high heat. Continue adding tomatoes and eventually the onion and cayenne pepper, too. You may find it easier to crush the tomatoes with a potato masher as you go along and use a really big stainless steel pot - this is an insane amount of tomatoes! Once everything is boiling, reduce to a low boil (above a simmer) for 20 minutes. Add the infused vinegar (remove the spice bag) and boil gently for 30 minutes until everything is softened and begins to thicken.

  3. Working in batches, send the tomato mixture through a fine mesh sieve or food mill. Collect the juice in a stainless steel or glass bowl. Discard the skins and seeds.

  4. Return the juice to your pot and bring up a boil. Keep it at a low to medium boil and stir frequently, until the ketchup thickens and comes to a consistency similar to that of commercial ketchup. The book says about 45 minutes, but mine took almost two hours. I think it depends on your tomatoes as well as your preferences to consistency. I wanted a more pasty ketchup! The amount should be reduced by half.

  5. While this is happening, prepare your canner and jars.

  6. Once the ketchup is ready, fill the hot jars with hot ketchup. Leace 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe rim, apply lids and bands.

  7. Process in the hot water bath for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and take off canner lid. Let sit for 5 minutes. Remove from the water, cool, and store.

Canning the ketchup makes the amount you need to produce even better! I came out with a lot of stock in the end - 7 pints! I thought that was pretty great. Once opened, it lasts in the fridge for a few weeks so be sure to use it up. Remember, this isn’t like commercial ketchup with preservatives to last for months on end in the refrigerator. It makes you wonder what they put in there! The nice thing about this recipe, too, is that it’s really not a sugary ketchup. It has sour and deeply spiced flavors that make up for that. I think you’ll really enjoy it. Happy canning!

xoxo Kayla

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