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