Friday, September 27, 2013

A Reason to Make French Fries_ Spicy Ketchup

We are not consumers of large amounts of ketchup, but with heirloom tomato season at an end, making homemade ketchup seemed a fun idea. And since we are proponents of wanting to know what is in "and other ingredients" when you look at store bought items, it was even more compelling to give it a go.

What comes to mind when thinking of ketchup? French fries of course. Although this is another item we seldom eat, an excuse to have homemade pommes frites with spicy ketchup had us feeling warm and giggly.

Spicy Heirloom Tomato Ketchup from Diana's kitchen
(yield: 11 half pints)

8 pounds ripe heirloom tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped (2 cups)
3 large celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 to 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled, chopped (taste dependent)
5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 TB coriander seed
5 whole cloves
5 allspice berries
5 black peppercorns
1” piece cinnamon stick
3 bay leaves
2 large handfuls fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1 TB kosher or sea salt

1 large lemon, juiced
1/3 cup brown sugar
½ cup red wine vinegar

In a large Dutch oven add the oil and heat to medium. Add onions, celery, carrots and a pinch of salt and pepper; sauté for 5-7 minutes. Add ginger, garlic and cayenne, and sauté a few minutes more. Place the spices (coriander, clove, allspice berries, peppercorn, cinnamon) in a small cloth (cheesecloth) bag_ that is tied and easily removed after cooking. Add the tomatoes, bag of spices, bay leaf, basil, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer until it is reduced by at least a third_ approximately 1 to 2 hours. Stir frequently.

Set aside and allow to cool enough for handling. Remove the spice bag and bay leaves. Process the liquid through a food mill or fine sieve in order to remove seeds. Return liquid to the Dutch oven and reheat to simmer. Add the lemon juice, brown sugar and vinegar and continue cooking until reduced to desired consistency.

Taste and adjust any seasoning. Ladle into hot jars, leaving ½ head space. Wipe the rims, add lids and caps and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  (see note below on canning)

Note: We don’t use a lot of ketchup, so this was processed in half-pint jars_ yield 11.
There is a natural sweetness to the heirloom tomatoes, especially Cherokee Purple, one of our favorites, thus, little or no sugar is needed.

S. lycopersicum 'Cherokee Purple'

Important Note: If you are just starting out, first read about the basics of home canning. Here is a place to begin, a simple overview, and from the Culinary Arts College, a list of 50 websites for learning self-canning.