When August gifted me with well over 100 pounds of tomatoes (all at once, mind you), I had to get serious about putting them up, and fast! I immediately headed to the library and checked out every post millennial book on food preservation not currently housed in my collection. Because food safety guidelines are constantly changing, anything written before 2000 is now considered out of date. **See note at the bottom of the post**
While flipping pages contemplating recipes, I came across one for catsup. I find ketchup (or catsup) to be a take it or leave it condiment. I’m just not a huge fan. In college, I dated a guy who put it on everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. Gross. Honestly, I find it to be too sweet and lacking in, oh, I don’t know, maybe TOMATO flavor! I thought the time had come for a little ketchup redemption, especially since the first listed ingredient would not be HFC!
1 cup white vinegar
1-1/2 inch stick of cinnamon, broken into pieces
1-1/2 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp celery seed
8 pounds of paste-type tomatoes
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1-1/2 cup packed brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sure jell cook-type
In a small saucepan combine vinegar, cinnamon stick, cloves, and celery seed. Bring to a boil, remove from heat; transfer to a bowl and set aside. Wash tomatoes. Remove stem ends and cores; cut the tomatoes into quarters and place into a colander to drain. You can discard the liquid or keep it for cooking purposes, which is what I did.
Place tomatoes in a large stainless steel pot, add onion and ground red pepper; bring to a boil, cook uncovered, stirring often for 15 minutes. Press tomato mixture through a food mill or sieve; discard seeds and skins. Return pureed tomato mixture to pot, stir in brown sugar. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Boil gently, uncovered, for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until reduced by half, stirring occasionally.
Strain vinegar mixture into tomato mixture; discard spices. Add lemon juice and salt. Simmer uncovered about 30 minutes or ’til desired consistency is achieved. After I did the final cook-down, my mixture was still too runny for ketchup. If I continued cooking, I would have ended up with one half-pint, so I added 1/4 cup cook-type sure jell. Because sure jell tends to clump when added without mixing with sugar, I used my immersion blender to blend everything into a smooth consistency. I continued cooking on med-low heat ’til the sure jell thickened, about 5 minutes.
Ladle ketchup into hot, sterile half-pint jars, leaving 1/8 headspace. Wipe rims; adjust two-piece lids to fingertip-tight and process in a boiling-water bath for 15 minutes. Remove jars from canner and cool on wire racks, undisturbed, for 12-24 hours. Yields 4 half-pints.
Rosemary & Garlic Potato Wedges
4 med potatoes, unpeeled
3 cloves of garlic, minced
large sprig of fresh rosemary, minced
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F. *KITCHEN SHORTCUT* Using an apple slicer/corer, cut potatoes into wedges, slice the “potato core” in half, lengthwise. Place potato wedges, garlic, and rosemary into a medium bowl and drizzle on a bit of olive oil. Using your hands, lightly toss to coat evenly; sprinkle on salt and pepper and gently toss again. Lightly grease a 4-sided baking sheet (or baking dish with olive oil), arrange potato wedges in a single-layer, and bake for one hour, turning half way through.
**The USDA/NCHFP’s guidelines are constantly evolving due to repetitive laboratory testing. What were once acceptable canning practices, like using flour as a thickening agent or adding dairy products to pre-canned recipes, are no longer considered safe. If you do use an older recipe, make sure all ingredients and directions are compatible with current acceptable canning procedures. If you are unsure or have a question, be sure to check with your local extension office. Remember, safety first!
Images and content copyright © 2009-2011 Danielle R Limoge. Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Garden Presents: America’s All Time Favorite Canning & Preserving Recipes.