You probably have a variety of condiments in your refrigerator right now. At the very least, there are probably a few jars of mustard, a few bottles of sriracha or other hot sauces and some ketchup. Condiments like these are not items that we usually think of making from scratch, but it is possible to make each and every one of them – and the homemade versions are delicious. Homemade Ketchup is something that you should try making at least once (and you’ll probably be hooked after that) before the summer grilling season starts. Making ketchup from scratch allows you to really get a feel for the ingredients and spices that go into the sauce, and lets you customize it to suit your own tastes perfectly.
My homemade ketchup recipe starts with whole peeled tomatoes. You can use any brand that you like, but I have good results with San Marzano tomatoes in this recipe. I add brown and white sugars to the tomatoes, along with both white and balsamic vinegars and a variety of spices. The spices for ketchup include onion powder, garlic powder, celery salt, allspice, salt and black pepper. You can use chopped onions and garlic, cooking them down until they are tender enough to be pureed with the tomatoes, but I find that dried spices give me consistent results every time and yield a slightly smoother finished product.
The tomato mixture is cooked down until the tomatoes are tender, then the mixture needs to be pureed and strained. The key to getting your ketchup as close to the bottled ketchup is the pureeing and straining process. I do this in two phases, first pureeing the mixture in the food processor until it is as smooth as possible, then pressing it through a fine sieve to remove all the seeds and large pieces of tomato that didn’t break down during cooking. You can repeat the straining processes through an extra-fine sieve after cooking, if you really want to make it as smooth as possible. Conversely, you can leave a little texture in your ketchup if like it a little bit “rustic.”
The finished ketchup is thick and flavorful, perfect for dipping french fries or squeezing onto a grilled hot dog. You can pick up squeeze bottles at kitchen supply stores and fill them up, making it easy to serve your ketchup, or simply serve it from a small bowl with a spoon. Once you’ve mastered the basic recipe, you can play around with the spices to make different varieties of ketchup, adding more garlic for garlic-lovers or some chili flakes for a hot and spicy version.
1 28-oz Can Peeled Tomatoes
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp brown sugar, packed
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp mustard powder
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
In a large saucepan, combine all the ingredients and cook until the tomatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Puree mixture in the food processor – working in batches if necessary – until very smooth. Press the mixture through a fine sieve with a spatula, removing the seeds, and return to the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat for about 40-45 minutes, until thickened. Stir regularly with a spatula to prevent the mixture from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Press through a finer sieve, if desired, for an even smoother texture.
Allow to cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Ketchup can be stored for approximately 1 week.
Makes about 2 cups.