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On my personal blog I share a lot about my “city girl” background. It’s true that I was born in downtown Chicago and spent much of my young adult years at a country club pool with no clue to how food was produced.
But my mom also had a little Better Homes and Gardens influence, so gardening was actually a little (very little) piece of my youth as well.
My mom talks about the big garden she put into their first home in the suburbs, but sighs saying that multiplying children made her pump the brakes on this project. Instead, she planted tomatoes and herbs most summers right into the landscaping off the kitchen for easy access.
I also have memories of this time of year around my junior year of high school, when my mom gave canning a try.
It looked like such mess and so much work. I would leave for school and she was at the stove top. I would come back from school and she was still there…!
Maybe canning tips were in a recent Martha Stewart or it was something her mom had done. Maybe, in 2003, she started learning about the unnecessary ingredients in common food products and wanted to take more ownership of what she was feeding us.
But, my sixteen year old mind (and attitude) convinced me that she was officially a crazy lady.
But as fate would have it, a little over a decade later, I have become a crazy lady too.
… Funny how that always works out.
Today, I enjoy emulating the same things my mom canned that fall, but homemade ketchup will always make me think of her behind the stove top in my childhood home giving canning a try. It was so unique to make from scratch and its taste was so different than the ketchup I was used to.
It’s likely because the ketchup I was used to was straight off the shelves of the grocery store and packed with high fructose corn syrup.
By making ketchup at home you can control the ingredients and amount of sugar in a serving. Making ketchup from scratch also gives it an incredibly deep flavor with interesting ingredients like earthy cinnamon and spicy cayenne.
It’s perfect to slather all over your favorite comfort foods like meat loaf and homemade fries… and to use up the last of the garden’s tomatoes!
- 1 T extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 7 pounds tomatoes, chopped
- ½ c apple cider vinegar (organic)
- ¾ c honey
- 2 t sea salt
- 1 t paprika (organic, non-irradiated)
- 1 t cinnamon (organic, non-irradiated)
- ½ t allspice (organic, non-irradiated)
- 3 cloves (organic, non-irradiated)
- ½ t cayenne pepper (organic, non-irradiated)
- In a large 6-8 quart pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Saute until the onion is translucent and tender, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add all other remaining ingredients and cook, stirring occasionally, for about thirty minutes.
- Puree the mixture with an immersion blender (or in a blender in batches) and pass through a fine mesh sieve.
- In a clean pot, bring puree to a boil then simmer until thick. (This can take over two hours.)
- Prepare a water bath canner. Wash and sanitize jars.
- Ladle the hot ketchup into jars leaving a ¼ inch of headspace. Wipe the rims before placing a lid and ring on each jar. The ring should be just finger-tight.
- Place jars in the boiling water bath with at least 1 inch of water over the jars. Boil for 20 minutes to process.
- Remove jars and place on a cooling rack or folded towel to cool and do not disturb for 12 hours. After 1 hour make sure that all lids have sealed. If it did not seal, refrigerate and use immediately. Label sealed jars and store.