Introduction: How to Make Homemade Ketchup and Can It

Nothing is tastier than homemade ketchup. The flavours EXPLODE in your mouth leaving your taste buds watering for more. Sweet, tangy and mouth watering , you will never look at store bought ketchup again. This is a recipe I modified from a blog called Local Kitchen, I've been using it for over a year now and my husband and oldest daughter beg me every year to make More, more more. This is a long process, but I guarantee it will be worth all your hard work. 

Since I never seem to make enough ketchup for them & to give some as gifts, this year I got smart and grew 9 tomato plants, but apparently Mother Nature had other plans and I've only recieved 1 small tomato(see arrow below in pic). Luckily, I happened upon a fantastic deal. Now normally, I would reccomend buying  from a farmer's market or atleast local if you can't grow your own. But... I am also a bargin hunter and found a fantastic deal that I just couldn't pass up and it saved ketchup this year! I came upon, "Made in the US, pesticide free on the vine tomatoes" & at 79 cents a pound...  So I purchased 24 pounds costing me only around $20.00

**Please Note: During the canning process(step 7) pic backgrounds vary because I made 2 batches of ketchup, taking pics of what I forgot to take during the first batch. Canning is a fast paced process as you will learn. If you are confused by any pictures, please feel free to ask questions.

Step 1: Important Information on Canning

Before we start, there's a couple of things we should talk about for those of you who have never canned or maybe need a refresher.This recipe requires a bit of work & so,  I do not recommend this for a first time project, unless you are fearless. Please check out the link below if you are new to canning & this is your first time project. I will be going over every step throughly because it is very important to follow safe, santized, up-to-date methods. That being said, lots of people have different methods of preserving. Not all of them are safe and not all are up-to-date methods. If you find a recipe you'd like to try ALWAYS make sure to follow new standards to sanitize & seal the jars. Keep and use the 1st link below to follow new guidelines.
You may tinker with the seasonings, but DO NOT change the vinegar ratio or try & double this recipe. You could alter/lower the PH level and by doing so, allow botulism to grow. For more Information about PH levels, please click on link below.

National Center for Home Food Perservation

Step 2: Getting Started

This recipe is a two part step. Meaning you will start the process and then refrigerate it over night and finish it the next day. Do not try and rush the process, it may make your ketchup not turn out and that would be heart breaking.

As tempting as it may be, DO NOT double this recipe. Just tough it out and repeat the entire process if you are a serious ketchup lover like my husband & oldest daughter.  Besides, if you are new to canning, Practice makes perfect

This recipe will make approximately thirteen-1/2 pint jars.


What You Need:

- Water Bath Canner
- 13 half pint jars, lids and rings
-  2 large pots (atleast 8quarts)
- 12 lbs tomatos, quarted
- 2/3 Cup diced onion
- 3/4 Cup diced red bell pepper
- 1 tsp. Paprika (for a spicier flavor, add a tsp. of Cayenne pepper too)
- 1 tsp. Celery salt
- 1/2 tsp. Cumin
- 1/4 tsp. Ground Allspice
- 1 & 1/2 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1/2 Cinnamon Stick
- 1 & 1/2 tsp. Whole Cloves
- 4 whole Allspice
- 1 garlic clove, diced
- 2 Tbsp. Salt
- 1 Cup Raw All Natural Sugar
- 1/2 Cup packed, Dark Brown Sugar
- Ball Canning Kit(extremely useful & pretty inexpensive at Walmart)

Step 3: Chopping and Preparing

Step One:

- Rinse and quarter all 12 pounds of tomatoes, put in 8qt(or larger) pot
- Dice Onion and Red Bell Pepper, put in pot (you don't have to use a red onion, you may use whatever you prefer. It may change the flavor however)
- Add Paprika, Celery Salt, Cumin & Ground Allspice
- Crush the tomatoes slightly using a potato masher to create just enough liquid to completely cover the bottom of the pot. 
- Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the tomatoes are soft and falling apart. 30-45 min.

Step 4: Vinegar & Spices

Step Two: 

- In a small pot, add apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, whole cloves, whole allspice and diced garlic clove.
- Bring to a boil over high heat,  remove from heat and allow to stand & steep while waiting for the tomatoes from step 1 (20-25 min)

Step Three:

- Remove spices & garlic from vinegar
- Stir in the vinegar to the tomatoes.
- Simmer tomatoes, uncovered for another 30 minutes.

Step 5: Skins, Seeds, Puree'

Step Four:
You will need the 2nd pot for this step

- In batches, run tomato mixture through a blender or food processor then sieve. You can use a food mill( fine disk) if you have one
- Pour sieved tomato mixture back into your original pot
-  Bring to a boil, reduce heat & boil gently over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until  reduce by half. Texture should be like jar  tomato sauce. About 3 hrs
- Place on lid pot and refrigerate overnight.

Refrigerating overnight is an important step, one I don't reccomend skipping. I have pushed through the entire process and the ketchup came out not as thick. Still yummy but not thick like it should be 

I always keep a container( like a used milk jug wtih the top cut off, leave the handle) next to the pot to dump all the skins and seeds in it. I like to give it to my chickens. They LOVE them!

Step 6: Prepare Water Bath, Jars and Lids

Before removing your tomato mixture from the fridge you will need to start preparing your surface area, the canner, the jars & lids

1. In empty dishwasher Place the following:(DO NOT put your dirty dishes in with these)

- All jars, lids and rings
- 2 to 3 Spatulas
- small pot for lids (to keep them on simmer) 

2. Run your dishwasher with your regular detergent, make sure to have your heat settings on or use your sanitize setting.

3. Clean your entire work surface/counters with a solution of bleach/water or using Clorox wipes, etc...

4.  Wash Canner & canning intruments  
(using brand new sponge or paper towels)

- In clean sink using hot soapy water wash the water bath canner, jar lifter, lid lifter, headspace/bubble remover tool and funnel
- Rinse all in hot water and allow to dry on clean paper towels

5. Fill your water bath canner, put on lid- no need to turn on heat yet
- Make sure you have enough water in the canner to cover jars by atleast 2 inches
I always like to add more water than I think I need. You can always remove some when its boiling, but it's hard to add water when it's ready to go.(You'd have to wait for it to boil again)

 Things to have on hand:
- hand sanitizer
- roll of paper towels

Step 7: Continue Ketchup Recipe

 You will need your 2nd pot again and the blender.

Step Six:

- Remove tomato mixture from fridge
- Blend mixture in a blender or food processor.
- Return to pot & add sugars and the salt
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally until mixture looks like commercial ketchup. Approx.1 hour 10 min

The last 30 min., turn on your canner to high heat & bring to a boil. 
Fill your small pot with water( for the canning lids) and bring to a simmer

Step 8: Canning the Ketchup

Please Note: During the canning process, pic backgrounds vary because I made 2 batches of ketchup, taking pics of what I forgot to take during the first batch. Canning is a fast paced process as you will learn. If you are confused by any pictures, please feel free to ask questions.

Step Seven:

- Wash hands
- Place clean, sterlized lids in simmering( Not boiling) small pot of water
- Remove hot sterilzed jars from dishwasher( DO NOT touch rims) jars and place on clean paper towels placed on sanitized work area
- Wash Hands
- Place funnel in 1st jar and pour ketchup, filling within 1/2-1/4inch of jar rim
- Repeat until all the jars are finished
- Wash hands
- Use clean, sterile bubble remover & place inside jar against the side, bring to the center, repeat around. Repeat doing this until all jars are done.
- With clean damp paper towel, clean all the rims of the jars(Do Not touch the rims with your fingertips) If you do by chance, use a clean paper towel dipped in water bath boiling water, re-wipe the rim. 
-Use lid remover a pull out 1 lid from simmering water, place on jar. Repeat.
- Screw on rings only "fingertip tight" without disturbing the lids

"Fingertip Tight" -Meaning that you use your fingers to tighten the rings then undo a quarter of an inch. If you put the lids on TIGHT they could break or not seal properly.

Step 9: Canning the Ketchup Continued...

Step Eight:

- With Clean jar lifter, carefully place jars one at a time in Canner leaving alittle space around each jar.(See note below)
-Process in boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes( If above sea level, see pic. below for additional time required)
- Carefully remove jars one at a time
- During removal you might hear some of the jars make a ping or popping noise. This is normal and a good sign. If you don't, have no fear, not all the jars will make that noise and it doesn't mean you did it incorrectly.
- Allow the jars to cool, undisturbed for 12 hrs. or overnight.
As tempting as it is, DO NOT touch your jars. Leave them undisturbed atleast overnight.

Note: This recipe makes 13 half pints jars. I was only able to get 11 jars in at one time leaving the space needed for each. I placed the other 2 jars in the fridge as they will keep for several months without processing them in the water bath. However, they will not last that long as already one was opened and half used.

Step 10: Checking the Seals...

As tempting as it is, DO NOT touch your jars. Leave them undisturbed atleast overnight.

- after 12 hrs or overnight, remove rings and check your lids to make sure they are sealed properly.
I usually lift the jar by the lid a few inches from the counter top. If the jars are properly sealed they will all hold.
- Use a damp paper towel or clean hand towel and clean the sides and tops of the jars( this will remove that powdery white stuff that is left when your water has lots of minerals in it)

- If your lid falls off or starts to come loose at any time, they ARE NOT properly sealed. These should be refrigerated and used up first.- Properly sealed jars should be labeled  stored in a cool sun light free area. Such as a cupboard in an air-conditioned area. Jars do not need to have the rings placed back on for storing.