Introduction: Ketchup (Catsup) Recipe

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This super-easy ketchup (catsup) recipe with no HFCS is not only delicious, it puts you in control of how much sugar and sodium goes in.

With the ongoing battle against high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), people are beginning to realize just how ubiquitous it is - and recently the focus is on ketchup.  Kids (and adults) can eat a lot of ketchup!  And with that comes a surprising amount of HFCS.  It's time to take action.   This recipe kicks all corn syrup to the curb!

Use this recipe as a backdrop to create your own custom ketchup.  You can use substitutes in place of all of the sugar sources for a diabetic-friendly version.  Leave out the salt (and check the sodium content of your spices!) to keep down the sodium levels.  Add cayenne or hot sauce to kick it up! 

Step 1: Ingredients

While fresh tomatoes stewing for hours may give you the ketchupy goodness you prefer, using tomato paste both speeds up the process, and gives you an option when tomatoes aren't in season.  Of course, if you've still got loads of tomatoes that you canned last season, then you're all set!

My own personal recipe goes a little something like this:
(ok, it goes exactly like this)

  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 2 1/2 cups water
I used agave and molasses because I had them in my cupboard.  You could leave them out altogether, or swap one for the other.  Turns out agave nectar isn't all it's cracked up to be! (see comments below)  Just try out what you have in store.  Taste and adjust as you go along!

I would guess this recipe makes about 16oz.  Enough to fill the two vessels pictures in the intro.

Step 2: Cook

Throw everything in a pot and simmer over low heat for 2 hours, or until it reaches ketchup consistency.

Once it starts to bubble, you'll want to cover the pot.  Otherwise, you'll be cleaning up ketchup splotches from your stove, the floor, and possibly your own forehead.  That's right.

Step 3: Bottle

I found this uber-cute bottle at a tiny shop in SF.  It's not too practical for getting the ketchup out, but it serves its iconic purpose. 

You can jar the ketchup as you would anything else, and the heat creates a good seal.  I'm not sure how long this will stand up against the bad things that can invade canned goods.  I'm sure my educated audience will have some answers to this!

I keep in the fridge, and frankly, it's never around long enough for me to find out how long it lasts.  Seriously, this recipe is SO GOOD and SO EASY, that you'll never even think about going back to store bought.  

Have fun, and let me know what wacky creations you come up with!