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classic homemade ketchup

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classic homemade ketchup

Have you ever made something without saving the recipe, later realizing how wonderfully successful your efforts were? Sometimes re-finding a recipe in the depths of the internet is simple, and other times not-so-much. This story starts with a not-so-easy to find recipe. 

Last fall, my babe and I made a killer batch of ketchup. A week or so later, we had a whole bunch of friends over for dinner, asking them to bring something that would pair well with our ketchup (plus, who can resist the pun of a ketchup party to catch up with your friends!?!). The ketchup was a big hit, but I never thought to save that silly webpage when there was an abundance of it in the fridge. Of course. 

Fast forward to this summer, with homemade ketchup on my mind again. I spent a solid hour or two scouring the internet for that famed ketchup recipe, finally settling on what I was positive was the recipe we used. 100 % positive. The photos were exactly as I remembered them. 

Of course the second we looked at it together, babes was positive it was not the one... So we adventured our way through a new batch of ketchup, tasting and altering along the way. This process arrived us at the below recipe, ready for you! But hurry - there isn't much of the tomato season left! 

More on these fool-proof breakfast potatoes soon! 

This recipe made us 6 pints of ketchup, plenty to last through the winter! You can easily cut the recipe if you don't need quite so much! 


12 pounds tomatoes, quartered (use a variety good for sauce, like roma) 

1 large onion, diced 

1 red pepper, diced 

1 tsp cayenne pepper 

1 tsp celery salt

1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar 

1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces 

2 tsp whole cloves 

1 tsp peppercorns 

1 1/2 tsp whole allspice berries 

2 cloves garlic

1 cup turbinado sugar 

1/2 cup dark brown sugar 

2 Tbsp salt 

1/4 cup tomato paste (optional) 


  • Pour apple cider vinegar into a small pot and add cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, allspice, and garlic. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat, then remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, strain through a mesh sieve to remove spices. 
  • Put tomatoes into a large stockpot and crush them with a potato masher, or whatever you have (I used the smashing stick from our vitamix) to release some liquid. Add onions, peppers, cayenne, and celery salt. Cook over medium-high heat for about 30 minutes. 
  • Once the spices have steeped their 30 minutes, add vinegar to the tomatoes and simmer for another 30 minutes. 
  • Next, we need to make our ketchup super smooth. You can do this by running it in batches through a food mill (using the fine dish), or pureeing the mixture in a blender and then straining it through a sieve. If you use the blender method, you'll want to use a rubber spatula to press all the liquid through the sieve. You should just have some skins and seeds remaining to compost. 
  • Return the mixture to the stockpot and let the mixture gently boil for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. 
  • Blend the mixture with an immersion blender or in your regular blender to smooth it out once more, then add the sugars and salt and return it to the stove once again. 
  • From this point, it will take about an hour of simmering to get the ketchup to the right thickness. You want it to be just a bit thinner than you're hoping for the end product to be as it will thicken as it cools. Stir the ketchup occasionally to keep it from burning. 
  • As the ketchup nears finishing, prepare your water bath, jars, and lids. If you're not an experienced canner, there are plenty of resources to read up on the proper procedure. 
  • When the ketchup reaches your desired thickness, fill hot jars leaving half an inch of headspace, wipe the rims, put on the lids, and process in the water bath for 15 minutes (for pint or half-pint jars). 

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