Canning,  Food

Ketchup – Or What to Do With Your Green Tomatoes

So, I’m sitting out behind my house typing this and I hear a rustling behind me. I turn to see which of my cats is spying on me from around the corner and see a groundhog. Chilling out. “Git!” I say, “We’re not friends!” But, it just looks at me. When I got up to get a camera though, it wandered slowly away and is hidden in the hostas now.

OK, back to ketchup – I made some. I told my brother that I felt I had crossed a line from canning=thrifty and crafty into canning=total nutjob.  I mean, we spend like $10 a year on ketchup, so what sense is DIY ketchup? I don’t know. For a while I thought, ooh, this could be a nice gift! But then I realized that, no, ketchup is actually a pretty terrible gift.

Homemade Ketchup in Grolsch bottles

Last week I began taking down the roughest looking of our tomato plants and picked off all the tomatoes that were left on them. This sounds really industrious, but it was incredibly beautiful weather and I just needed an excuse to be outside. I ended up with a 3 gallon bucket full of red and green tomatoes.

So, ketchup. At first I researched whether there was any reason not to mix the green and red tomatoes to make ketchup (or anything else). I had seen tons of recipes for green tomato ketchup and they seemed pretty much the same as the red. Except, that the final product was green. That sounded pretty bad ass, so I decided to cook up the different colored tomatoes separately – and because I know you are wondering – the yellow tomatoes went into the green batch…

As a side note, I left the seeds in. Several recipes called for you to skin the maters and then get rid of the seeds and the liquid from the tomato and just use the meaty bits. I guess this would give you a thicker sauce, but I decided that the seeds/juice/skins had health value. Uh, fiber? Whatever, I’m lazy. If I had a food mill, I could run my ketchup through it and get rid of all the chunks, but I don’t! The food processor helped smooth the sauce out, and whatever. Let’s call it a salsa/ketchup hybrid.

Ok, so as I ketchupped, I was finishing off a jar of last year’s pickles, and decided to throw the pickled garlic and dill into the gallon-ish of lovely pale green tomato goo bubbling away on the stove. This was an awesome decision. According to a few of the 6 recipes I was looking at, I added some cinnamon, coriander (so important, this is the key ingredient!), brown sugar and sauteed sweet green peppers and onions and then set it to simmer for a couple hours. Unfortunately I then fell asleep, and even though Matt turned it off after it started to smell burnt, and the next morning it had boiled down to TWO CUPS of dense brown paste. I have labeled the jar “tomato relish” for lack of a better idea. It is delicious with nacho chips.

The red tomatoes I actually followed a recipe for, and did not burn. We nearly went through an 8 oz jar at my neighbors’ BBQ last night, which makes me think it turned out decent – better after I added the coriander. I have canned it in Grolsch style flip top beer bottles – it’s an experiment. You can’t get a normal canning seal on them, but when you put beer in them it doesn’t go bad… I boiled the beer bottles to sanitize them, instead of using bleach like when we bottle beer.

Now to scrub more pans.

Update: FYI, I’m keeping the ketchup refridgerated, and also, look, ketchup is cool and fancy now! 

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