Thursday, February 11, 2010

Veggie Might: Make Your Own Ketchup

Penned by the effervescent Leigh, Veggie Might is a weekly Thursday column about the wide world of Vegetarianism.

For most people, ketchup and French fries go together like peanut butter and jelly. For me, ketchup and jelly can both take a hike. French fries are better with malt vinegar or mayo, and peanut butter is just fine all by itself.

But I also hate bananas and strawberry ice cream, so what do I know?

It’s not that I hate ketchup, lest you think me the Andy Rooney of condiments, it’s just I find it bland and not really worth the effort. I’d rather have a little zing or richness with my fried potatoes.

I only buy ketchup to make BBQ sauce or my Dad’s BBQ slaw. Last week, I had flames on the sides of my face buying a bottle of bland ConAgra tomato sauce, chockfull of high fructose corn syrup and “natural flavors” just to make the BBQ sauce for the seitan bites.

Then it occurred to me that if I can make my own mustard, I could surely make my own ketchup. So I did.

I found several recipes on the InterWebs that looked promising: Homemade Ketchup from Epicurious, Homemade Ketchup from Kiss My Spatula—which was an adaptation of this recipe from Saveur, and this no-cook ketchup recipe from Hillbilly Housewife.

Between them, I came up with my own, and wow!

This ketchup has amazing flavor from the spices, tanginess from the cider vinegar, and just the right amount of sweetness from the carrot and molasses. You can substitute brown sugar—all the recipes called for brown sugar, but I swapped it out.

Homemade ketchup is not necessarily cheaper than store-bought, but it is certainly tastier, and in my opinion, worth the effort. I will never buy ketchup again. And, who knows, I may start eating it on French fries.

If you like this recipe, you might also dig

Emperor-worthy Tomato Ketchup
Yields 3 cups/48 1-tbsp servings

28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3–4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 rib of celery, finely chopped
1/2 large carrot, finely chopped
1/3 cup molasses
1 tsp sea salt
4 cloves
1 bay leaf
1 dried red chili
4 allspice berries
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp brown mustard seed

1) In a medium saucepan on medium heat, sauté chopped onion for 3 minutes. Add minced garlic, celery, and carrot. Continue to sauté until soft for another 3–5 minutes.

2) Add crushed tomatoes and stir. Then add tomato paste, vinegar, molasses, and salt, stirring well.

3) Make a spice sachet with a piece of cheesecloth. Place cinnamon, allspice berries, dried chili, bay leaf, cloves, and mustard seeds on the cheesecloth and tie tightly. Drop into pot of tomatoes.

4) Simmer for 1 hour or until desired consistency.

5) Remove from heat. Allow to cool for 10 – 15 minutes. Remove spice sachet and pour mixture into blender. Puree until smooth.

6) Chill for 2 hours to allow flavors to blend.

7) Serve as desired or eat with a spoon. Your choice.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, and Price per Serving
14.6 calories, .3g fat, .26g fiber, $.09

Commercial Ketchup: 15–20 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, $.06

28 oz can crushed tomatoes: 143.5 calories, 0g fat, 7g fiber, $2.49
1 tbsp tomato paste: 11.5 calories, 0g fat, .5g fiber, $.20
1/2 cup cider vinegar: 25 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, $.08
1 tbsp olive oil: 120 calories, 14g fat, 0g fiber, $0.08
1 medium onion: 40 calories, .2g fat, 3g fiber, $.50
4 cloves of garlic: 16.8 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, $.05
1 rib of celery: 5 calories, 0g fat, 1g fiber, $.025
1/2 large carrot: 15 calories, 0g fat, 1g fiber $.08
1/3 cup molasses: 325 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, $.75
1 tsp sea salt: negligible calories, fat, fiber, $.02
4 cloves: negligible calories, fat, fiber, $.02
1 bay leaf: negligible calories, fat, fiber, $.02
1 dried red chili: negligible calories, fat, fiber, $.02
4 allspice berries: negligible calories, fat, fiber, $.02
1 cinnamon stick: negligible calories, fat, fiber, $.02
1/4 tsp brown mustard seed: negligible calories, fat, fiber, $.02
TOTALS: 701 calories, 14.2g fat, 12.5g fiber, $4.21
PER SERVING (TOTALS/48): 14.6 calories, .3g fat, .26g fiber, $.09

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