As we reach the height of summer here in Georgia, the tomatoes are turning from green to a beautiful bright red and childhood memories start pouring in. I set out to create this post as one of our bonus posts for subscribers only. As I tested recipes I realized it was much more than just bonus material. This post began to morph into three actual recipes. A basic ketchup recipe, a “fancy” ketchup recipe and a basic pizza sauce. The “fancy” recipe is a bit of a cross between ketchup and bbq sauce and the pizza sauce will have a bit more of a feature in September when we dedicate an entire post to pizza!
Now, the really funny part about this post being one that I created, is the fact that I really don’t like tomatoes. I like ketchup just okay, I’m pretty picky about pizza sauce, not really a fan of marinara, and I absolutely can not eat a tomato raw! My husband actually laughed when I told him my subject for this post. My dislike for tomatoes goes pretty far back into my childhood. I believe I was around 13 or 14 years old and though my parents had always planted a garden each year, this particular summer, my dad decided to plant 96 tomato plants. Yes, you read that correctly. 96 TOMATO PLANTS! My parents had four new dehydrators and they were playing around with the idea of slicing the tomatoes, dehydrating them for several days until they were dry and crispy, and then they would blend the dehydrated tomatoes in a food processor making a tomato powder. It was pretty ingenious as they were able to put up 800 tomatoes that summer in just 8 quart-size jars. My mom was then able to use that powder in soups, stews, re-hydrate with just a bit of water to make her own tomato paste and even added the tomato powder to tortilla and pasta dough. All of that was wonderful but to a teenage girl who already didn’t care for this particular piece of produce, the act of picking several 6 gallon buckets of tomatoes, slicing and laying them in the dehydrator just to repeat the entire process three days later was not my idea of a fun summer activity. With all that said, I actually enjoyed testing these recipes and I hope you enjoy them as well.
Before we dive into the process and actual recipes I will go ahead and tell you that ketchup has got to be the one food that is completely dependent on personal taste preference. My first day of testing actually became quite funny after a while with everyone’s opinions over the taste and all of a sudden another childhood memory jumped to the forefront of my mind. I had and still have a love for old classic musical films. In my opinion, High School Musical can not compare with classics like Breakfast At Tiffany’s, State Fair, Singin’ In The Rain and one of my all time favorites, Meet Me In St. Louis staring Judy Garland. If you decide to go down the road of making your own ketchup, I encourage you to watch the opening scene from this classic film so that you are fully prepared for the argument that will ensue over whether or not the ketchup is too sweet, has too much salt or too much vinegar and so on. (Click here to watch the opening scene and enjoy! Haha)
Okay, with our argument warning in place, let’s dive into the process I chose for making ketchup and the basic recipes.
I decided I wanted to roast my tomatoes to bring out as much of the natural sugars as I could. I found this enabled me to use less sweetener in the sauce.
Once the tomatoes were roasted and cooled slightly, I attached the meat mincer attachment to the Ankarsrum base with the berry strainer attachment on the end of the mincer house. (For a refresher on this attachment, click here.) Just like when we made Apple Butter last fall, you should run your tomatoes through the strainer attachment a couple of times to make sure you get every last drop of tomato juice.
Once I had juiced my tomatoes, I transferred the juice to a medium saucepan, added my sweetener and simmered until it began to thicken. I encourage you to play around with the flavor profile you prefer; whether it means adding more sweetener or using less and adding a splash of vinegar.
Now, on to the sauce base for the “fancy” ketchup and pizza sauce.
To the tomato wedges, I added some onion wedges (with the layers separated) as well as an entire bulb of garlic. Roasted garlic is SOOOO yummy and super easy to make yourself. By slicing off just the tip top of the garlic bulb, you can then rub it down with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and then place it open end up on the sheet pan and roast along with everything else. Once it is done roasting and cooled, you will be able to just squish the roasted cloves out of the bulb.
After running the tomatoes through the strainer attachment, I was able to add the garlic cloves and onion, along with the juice, into the blender and blend until smooth. Add a bit of fresh cracked pepper and basil and you have a basic pizza sauce. Add some optional spices and cook down a bit and you have a fancy ketchup. A quick note regarding the “fancy” ketchup. I felt it was too much of a tomato base to truly call it bbq sauce but it had too much depth of flavor to just be called ketchup. When tasting it, my 13 year old daughter said it tasted like a ketchup you would have at a fancy restaurant so…….Fancy Ketchup it is!
With this recipe coming just in time for July 4, we want to encourage you to check out last year’s post for making your own Hamburgers, as well as two great posts on making Hamburger Buns, including a Gluten Free version. Enjoy and HAPPY SUMMER!
1.5 lbs tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. brown sugar or sucanat (a dehydrated cane juice product)*
salt & pepper to taste (optional)
Yield: About 1.5 cups
Preheat oven to 450ºF. Place the tomato wedges in a large bowl and coat with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Toss well and place coated wedges on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast about 30 minutes until tomatoes are soft and skin is a bit blistered. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
Position the strainer attachment onto the mincer attachment and place on Ankarsrum base. Place a medium size bowl directly under the strainer and a small bowl or measuring cup under the spout to catch the skins and seeds. You may run the skin and seed mush through the strainer a second or even a third time to ensure the extraction of all the juice. Once strained, discard the skins and seeds and place juice into a medium saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the sweetener and simmer about 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly until juice has reduced slightly. Pour into a bottle or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
*Cook’s Note: Molasses or raw honey may also be used to sweeten this. Molasses will add a more rich flavor but it seems to mask the bright flavor of the tomato a bit. Raw honey is also an option but you will want to play around with the flavor a bit to make sure you don’t just taste honey.
1.5 lbs. tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/2 medium sweet onion, cut into wedges and layers separated
1 bulb garlic, cut just the top off – leave outer paper on
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 450ºF. Place the tomato wedges and onion layers in a large bowl and coat with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Toss well and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Cut the top off the bulb of garlic and generously rub with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt. Place the cut side up on the baking sheet along with the tomatoes and onion pieces. Roast about 30 minutes until tomatoes are soft and skin is a bit blistered. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
Run the tomatoes through the strainer the same as you would in the above ketchup recipe. Once that is complete, place the juice, onion, and roasted garlic cloves (be sure to push them out of the bulb) into the blender and blend until smooth. This will be your base for the pizza sauce as well as the fancy ketchup.
Yields: About 2 cups.
Basic Pizza Sauce:
4-5 basil leaves
salt & pepper to taste (optional)
Add to blender along with base ingredients and blend until smooth.
Yields: about 2 cups
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup brown sugar or Sucanat
1 Tbsp. Molasses
Blend with sauce base. Transfer to a medium saucepan and simmer on low for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Yields: About 1 3/4 cup
Mixer color featured in this post: Mineral White
Bottles and jar made by Bormioli Rocco
Thank you to the Farmhouse Fireman for the beautiful American Flag used in this post!