This year is a bumper crop for tomatoes in the Pacific Northwest…which is unusual. Tomatoes are among the hardest fruit to grow up here because of the cool summers and short growing season, but this summer, they seem to be thriving and I have a lot of them! (That is what Global Climate Change does to us!)
Besides eating them still warm from the sun with a bit of salt and pepper, tossing them into salads (I especially like the yellow pear tomatoes for that!), I also make them into spaghetti sauce and tomato paste. But this year, the gkids and I decided to try to make our own catsup, ketchup,…or however you say it or spell it!
To make catsup you can start with tomato paste or make your own by cooking down your chopped tomatoes, adding a bit of onion, salt and pepper (perhaps a bit of oregano for an Italian flair!) and simmer them over medium heat until they have reduced by 1/2 – this takes a couple of hours on lowered heat. MMMM…very sweet and delicious all by itself!
This basic recipe is good for making spaghetti sauce or in Nana’s World Famous Chili! or to top off Nana’s Special Meatloaf! (see recipes page!)
But today we are making catsup! So after cooking the tomatoes down to half their volume, I put the cooled batch through a blender or food processor. When I am making catsup, I use tomatoes that have been peeled (Dunk them in boiling water for 2 minutes and the skins will come right off!) Once the mixture has been blended, return the pureed mixture back to the pot and add in the spices.
For 2 1/2 cups of Nana’s Spicy Ketchup you will need:
4 lbs. of tomatoes, peeled and diced. Add salt and pepper, and Italian seasoning if you wish and cook down to 4 cups. (1/2 the original volume). Puree in food processor and return to pan.
To the pan add:
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 – 4 T dark brown sugar
3 T apple cider vinegar
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 T salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup water
Juice of 1/2 lemon.
I like my Ketchup smoky…so I also add 1 tsp. ground cumin – this is optional.
Cook and simmer together for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, to again reduce the mixture by half. The Ketchup should be thick and creamy. If they are lumps, cool and puree again. When mixture is completely cool, add to sterilized jars with tight fitting lids. Stores in the refrigerator for up 3 months.
Now wouldn’t that taste good on a Summer Grilled Burger? Enjoy that taste of summer all year long!