Food · Recipe

Foodie Friday: Ketchup

UntitledI love ketchup. It just screams Summer to me when it’s slathered over a hot dog or hamburger fresh from the grill. With the surplus of tomatoes that I’ve had coming from my garden this year, I decided to try my hand at homemade ketchup. I already have various other tomato based sauces lingering in freezer bags and canning jars, but ketchup is something that I have never attempted before.

Historically, and surprisingly, the first ketchups were not tomato based. Tomatoes were actually considered back in the day to be poisonous since they were a member of the nightshade family. The original “ketchup” was a concoction of pickled fish and spices (called it kôe-chiap or kê-chiap) created by the Chinese. Later on, people in the United Kingdom began creating ketchup using mushrooms. Both preparations tended to create what we have only recently understood as the 5th taste, “umami” – sort of a savory, meaty taste.

Thank goodness we now use tomatoes for the majority of our ketchups. I’m not big on mushrooms.

Anyway. Most ketchup that you buy in the stores today is saturated with way too much sugar and high fructose corn syrup. So I made my homemade ketchup with neither. Instead, I used honey. Not a great heaping amount, but just enough to add a touch of sweetness while letting the tomatoes shine through. And they certainly shine through. If you are a fan of tomatoes, then you will enjoy this rich, tomatoey ketchup. Next time, I would like to add some jalapeno to it.

My homemade ketchup is much chunkier than store bought - the foam at the edges is just from me pouring it in the jar.
My homemade ketchup is much chunkier than store bought – the foam at the edges is just from me pouring it in the jar.

Recipe:

  • 2 lb. tomatoes with the skin on (I used a mixture of red, yellow, and striped tomatoes)
  • 1/2 c. of water
  • 1/2 c. + 1/8 c. of honey
  • 1/2 c. white distilled vinegar
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. celery seed
  • 1/8 tsp. mustard powder
  • 1/4 tsp, ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 dried bay leaves

Combine everything in a crockpot and cook 8-10 hours on low (I cooked it overnight). Let cool and blend in the blender until everything is combined (I probably should have removed the bay leaves at this point, but I forgot and just blended them in with everything else). It is a bit watery still at this point, so I let it sit overnight in the fridge. The next day, the mixture had separated – the top layer being thick and the bottom layer was all liquid. I ladled out the top layer into a glass pint jar that I stuck in the fridge. The rest of the mixture went into a freezer bag for use later on in stuffed peppers or a meatloaf. This should last several weeks in the fridge.

Another thing my mom likes to do with tomatoes is to top pizza crust with homemade bruschetta and grill it.
Another thing my mom likes to do with tomatoes is to top pizza crust with homemade bruschetta and grill it.
Gratuitous shot of Belle and I.
Gratuitous shot of Belle and I.
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Garden

Garden Update 6/2/15

I’ve been slacking off about keeping garden notes this year. It’s okay. I’ve still been taking pictures on a regular basis (even though I haven’t been posting them on the blog). Both gardens are looking really good. I’ve discovered that the Amish Paste do not grow well for us – they are plagued by blossom end rot. Worms are getting in to my tomatillos, so I’m having to pick those shortly before they are ready. Mom’s Bloody Butcher corn has started tasseling out this week (I was worried until I remembered that it needed a longer growing period than Robb’s sweet corn).

Here are some cell phone photos from yesterday.

My photo: Harvest from mom's garden (excluding a zucchini from the boyfriend's); what isn't shown is a handful of tomatillos, ground cherries, and some wonder berries.
My photo: Harvest from mom’s garden (excluding a zucchini from the boyfriend’s); what isn’t shown is a handful of tomatillos, ground cherries, and some wonder berries. We’ve grown more tomato varieties this year than we ever had before. I have all the varieties that are being grown written down somewhere. I think it ended up being close to 10 (maybe more) different types of tomatoes.
From my boyfriend: His harvest yesterday:
From my boyfriend: His harvest yesterday: sweet corn, the last of the onions, the last of the beans, jalapenos, crookneck squash, carrots, lots of Black Vernissage tomatoes among other tomatoes, and one single zucchini – I had stopped by his house on my way home from work to get an egg and took the other zucchini.
From my boyfriend: He picked the first peach off of our peach tree yesterday. This one was newly planted this Spring and had about 4 peaches total (something smoked both peach trees in mom's yard - I think that when they sprayed the crops on the other side of the woods, some hit our trees).
From my boyfriend: He picked the first peach off of our peach tree yesterday. This one was newly planted this Spring and had about 4 peaches total (something smoked both peach trees in mom’s yard – I think that when they sprayed the crops on the other side of the woods, some hit our trees).
From my boyfriend: He sprinkled some chicken coop shavings on top of the mounds of newly planted melons, pumpkins, and squash (we planted the seeds on Monday).
From my boyfriend: He sprinkled some chicken coop shavings on top of the mounds of newly planted melons, pumpkins, and squash (we planted the seeds on Monday). 6 Mounds – 3 Varieties of Pumpkins, 1 Melon, 1 Watermelon, and 1 Winter Squash (only because he wouldn’t let me plant more). The row nearest the tomatoes has another line of snap beans planted, the next row will have Brussels Sprouts planted today (Catskill variety from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds – the packet is on my desk since he is stopping by to get them) and the rest of the space next to the mounds will be okra, I think?
Garden

Garden Update 8/19

Can you believe that August is almost over? This year is flying by and I know that the cold weather will be here before we know it, or want it. I can already catch the barest wisps of a crisp Fall evening on the breeze at night. With the first Fall frost scheduled for November 15th (50/50 chance) for my region, that still gives me a little bit more growing time. Mom and I planted some seeds this past Thursday.

We planted kale, kohlrabi, summer squash, winter squash, cucumber, zucchini, beets, radishes, carrots, and garden beans. I feel like there is something missing, but I don’t feel like getting my garden journal.

I believe that our two apple trees are now past the point of redemption after years of suffering from Fire Blight so we are going to cut them down too. I hate it, but at this point, it’s really all that we can do. Going forward, we will be treating our new apple trees (looking for recommendations on types resistant to Fire Blight), as well as our pear tree on a yearly basis.

I’m going to make a conscious effort to blog more now that the growing season is starting to slow. Along with that, I’m working on my first serious attempt at a novel as well as trying to get my Etsy shop launched. More on that later.

Overview of the garden on a rainy day. You can see the various peppers, my sugar cane, and the asparagus ferns.
Overview of the garden on a rainy day. You can see the various peppers, my sugar cane, and the asparagus ferns.
Only days after planting them, mom noticed that her cucumber seeds have sprouted.
Only days after planting them, mom noticed that her cucumber seeds have sprouted.
I can't wait until these grapes are ready!
I can’t wait until these grapes are ready!
This mess is all the old tomato plants that mom ripped up from the garden.
This mess is all the old tomato plants that mom ripped up from the garden.
The second arrow I've shot in maybe 6 months and I hit the bull's eye. The next few were utter flops.
The second arrow I’ve shot in maybe 6 months and I hit the bull’s eye. The next few were utter flops.
Mom and I picked a bit of basil and some rosemary to try out our herb dryer.
Mom and I picked a bit of basil and some rosemary to try out our herb dryer.
For just $4, my mom and I made this awesome herb dryer using old wooden screens from the Habitat for Humanity store.
For just $4, my mom and I made this awesome herb dryer using old wooden screens from the Habitat for Humanity store.
These is the last big Summer harvest that we will have - banana pepper (only one so far), cherry tomatoes, tomatoes, green bell peppers, and jalapenos.
These is the last big Summer harvest that we will have – banana pepper (only one so far), cherry tomatoes, tomatoes, green bell peppers, and jalapenos.
The last of our garden tomatoes. I'm thinking of making a salsa with them.
The last of our garden tomatoes. I’m thinking of making a salsa with them.
I found out the hard way that these little cherry peppers were the HOT variety when I was pickling them.
I found out the hard way that these little cherry peppers were the HOT variety when I was pickling them.
One of my petsitting clients brought me back from tasty treats from their recent vacation to Maine.
One of my petsitting clients brought me back from tasty treats from their recent vacation to Maine.
I'm pretty sure that these HUGE carrots were past their prime, so they were given to whatever critters live in our woods.
I’m pretty sure that these HUGE carrots were past their prime, so they were given to whatever critters live in our woods.
Garden

Garden Update 7/9/14

How was your 4th of July? Good? I watched fireworks down at the waterfront, something that I haven’t done in years. I took some pictures of the fireworks, you’ll see. So I have good news, bad news, and better news. What would you like to hear first? Bad news? Okay.

Bad news – I’ve been a very, very bad blogger and haven’t been keeping tabs on what mom and I have harvested lately.
Good news – I have new internet, which is more reliable, so hopefully I will be a better blogger in the future (and Netflix. I got Netflix back which is awesomeeee).
Better news – My garden is doing wonderfully AND I’ve been keeping my real garden journal updated on a regular basis.

Anyway. Here are a few pictures from this week and last week.

The best picture of fireworks that I've gotten in years. One day I will get a good one.
The best picture of fireworks that I’ve gotten in years. One day I will get a good one.
Pulled my shallots last weekend and am working on drying them - on the left are Picasso, on the right are Yellow Moon.
Pulled my shallots last weekend and am working on drying them – on the left are Picasso, on the right are Yellow Moon.
After drying her onions, mom hung most up under the shed (we froze about half).
After drying her onions, mom hung most up under the shed (we froze about half).
I finally got around to starting my Lemon Verbena honey this weekend - lemon verbena from my backyard and the honey is from a local woman.
I finally got around to starting my Lemon Verbena honey this weekend – lemon verbena from my backyard and the honey is from a local woman.
What I harvested just yesterday - breaded and fried one of the squash for supper, so tasty.
What I harvested just yesterday – breaded and fried one of the squash for supper, so tasty.
I picked a basketful of juicy, white peaches today. When I knocked them over, I thought I could get an artsy shot!
I picked a basketful of juicy, white peaches today. When I knocked them over, I thought I could get a artsy shot!
I planted 7 Crimson Sweet watermelon seeds on July 4th (I heard that they will still be ready to harvest by the first frost) and notice that 3 have already popped up!
I planted 7 Crimson Sweet watermelon seeds on July 4th (I heard that they will still be ready to harvest by the first frost) and notice that 3 have already popped up!
Another artsy photo - this one is of the 6+ feet tall sunflower that is overlooking our tomato patch.
Another artsy photo – this one is of the 6+ feet tall sunflower that is overlooking our tomato patch.
Today's harvest! I couldn't believe that I had another huge squash to pull today. So many tomatoes, I can get another basketful tomorrow morning as well!
Today’s harvest! I couldn’t believe that I had another huge squash to pull today. So many tomatoes, I can get another basketful tomorrow morning as well!
Garden

Weekly Garden and Harvest Update 6/2-6/9

Okay. I’ve been a bad garden blogger the past month (and I haven’t even kept the journal up either). I’ve just gotten busy and on top of that, I was sick one week *excuses, excuses*. But! I’m back now and ready to roll. We’ve been picking a few May Peas everyday the last few weeks, but I think that the harvest is over for that. Mom picked some small yellow crookneck squash last week which we ate for supper this past Sunday (cooked with bacon grease and onions – yum). Other than that, I’ve been trying to take weekly pictures of the garden so mom and I can look back at the end of the season. I won’t bore you with that. Instead, I’ll just start back with this past week.

Harvested:

– 5 small crookneck squash
– Small Tupperware bowl of blueberries
– 2 jalapenos
– Handful of May Peas

IMG_3136 (640x427)

Mom cleared the old strawberry bed today, leaving plenty of room for my sugarcane to grow. We'll be planting some more squash, cucumbers, and zucchini soon.
Mom cleared the old strawberry bed today, leaving plenty of room for my sugarcane to grow. We’ll be planting some more squash, cucumbers, and zucchini soon.
This was supposed to have been a cherry tomato plant, according to its label. Guess not!
This was supposed to have been a cherry tomato plant, according to its label. Guess not!
Already our cucumbers are doing better than they did last year.
Already our cucumbers are doing better than they did last year.
Ziggy is so glad that I have let the asparagus go to fern - it is his little hiding spot!
Ziggy is so glad that I have let the asparagus go to fern – it is his little hiding spot!
Our yard is full of gorgeous daisies in a whole range of colors, like this pink one.
Our yard is full of gorgeous daisies in a whole range of colors, like this pink one.

This upcoming Thursday, I’m going to have a photo recap post for the month of May so that you can check out what else I’ve been doing in my blogging absence.