Homemade Tomato Ketchup
Ketchup is the king of condiments – perfect drizzled over a hot dog, for dipping your chips in or in a bacon butty. Find out how you can make it from scratch!
Cooking condiments from scratch
When you think of ketchup I bet you picture a plastic bottle, perched on top of a picnic table, filled with a bright red tomato sauce. It’s synonymous with chips, burgers, hot dogs, bacon butties, chicken dippers…the list goes on! As with most processed food, making your own from scratch is infinitely better and I am now obsessed with making homemade tomato ketchup. As I’m typing this recipe I’ve just had 7.5kg of tomatoes delivered so I can batch cook a load! Yes, you read that right, 7.5 kilograms… But what is it that makes homemade ketchup so damn delicious?
The best known brand in the UK lists it’s ingredients as follows: tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, salt, spices and herb extracts. It’s actually a pretty simple recipe with nothing too surprising. The difference between making it at home versus in a factory is you do away with the spice and herb “extracts” and use real herbs and spices instead. The result is a ketchup that is packed full of fresh and vibrant flavours. I also chuck in a few extra vegetables for an enhanced flavour. But, of course, tomatoes are still the star!
When choosing tomatoes for your ketchup I recommend, quite simply, getting the best you can. If you grow them in your garden, great! If not, then try to get some from a farmer’s market or high quality greengrocer. If you have to buy them from a supermarket make sure you pick tomatoes that are still on the vine as these usually have a lot more flavour! It might be the more expensive way of buying tomatoes but I promise you the final ketchup will be well worth the additional cost. My favourite place to buy tomatoes is The Tomato Stall – the home of Isle of White Tomatoes. I promise you, this isn’t an ad! I just think they are some of the best value, most delicious tomatoes currently on the market in the UK. You really can’t fault them.
But back to the ketchup recipe…if you’re hoping for something that is a copycat of the bright red ketchup you find in the supermarket then you’re about to be disappointed. This is a much more rustic recipe (it might not be quite as smooth and won’t be as glossy). But, it will taste ten times better! I’d love to know what you think of it in the comments.
Spiced Tomato Ketchup
- 500 millilitre glass bottle or jar
- 1 large red onion
- 1 large fennel bulb
- 2 sticks celery
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 0.5 tsp salt
- 2 inch piece root ginger
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp crushed chilli flakes
- 1 bunch fresh basil
- 1 kilogram tomatoes
- 250 millilitres water
- 3 tbsp tomato puree
- 150 millilitres red wine vinegar
- 50 grams light brown sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Dice the red onion, fennel and celery then add to a heavy bottomed sauce pan along with the olive oil and salt.
- Fry the vegetables on a medium until the begin to soften (roughly 15 minutes).
- Mince the ginger and garlic and add to the saucepan along with the crushed chilli flakes and the coriander seeds.
- Cook the vegetable and spice mix for another 5 minutes so that the spices release their flavour.
- Add the tomatoes to the pan and top up with roughly 250 millilitres of water.
- Bring the pan to a boil and simmer until the vegetables have softened and the liquid has reduced in half.
- Let the mixture cool before adding to a high powered blender along with the basil.
- Blitz the tomato mix until smooth.
- Transfer the smooth tomato sauce back to the sauce pan and place on a medium heat.
- Add the tomato puree, vinegar and sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved and all of the ingredients are combined.
- Let the sauce simmer, reducing down, until it is the consistency of tomato ketchup and season to taste and in the meantime, sterilise your bottles or jars.
- Transfer the ketchup while still hot into sterilised bottles or jars and allow it to cool (you will know the bottles and jars have sealed when you hear the lids "pop").
- The ketchup will keep in the fridge for up to 6 months (if you don't eat it in that time!)