The season of outdoor grilling is finally upon us, so we decided it was time to attempt some homemade ketchup!
We scoured the internet for recipes, looking for one that would be similar in texture to a bottled ketchup. Let's face it: Heinz knows what they're doing. In fact, the always excellent New Yorker did a piece several years back which details why Heinz's ketchup is our taste buds' wet dream. It his all five of our fundamental tastes, including that elusive little minx known as umami. So while it seems strange to aspire to Heinz, that ketchup is boss.
The recipe we found that seemed most like what we wanted was over at Serious Eats. Their recipe called for tomato puree, but we only found crushed tomatoes at our little local market. We knew we were going to whip it all up in a food processor anyway, so we decided to proceed. When we tasted our finished product, we were a little wowed by the sweetness. But we were tasting the ketchup straight up, without the usual implement of a salty French fry. When we did a taste test with Heinz's organic ketchup, we were surprised to find out that the Heinz was just as sweet. (Oh, so that is why my toddler wants to spoon it straight into her mouth.)
If I were to make it again, I'd reduce the amount of sugar, even if just by a bit (and if you are concerned about sugar content, I'd urge you to do the same). Sweetness aside, the homemade ketchup was brighter and zestier than the Heinz, while the Heinz had a stronger tomato paste taste. In our version, you could really taste the different spices, while it is a bit of a muddle in the Heinz. There's nothing like the convenience of having that bottle of Heinz in the back of your fridge (which seemingly lasts forever - yipes!) but homemade ketchup is a super tasty and lasts a month -- lasting through more than a few backyard get-togethers.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped medium
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1. Heat oil in sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add in garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, bring to boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer until thick, stirring occasionally, for 45 to 60 minutes.
2. Puree in food processor until smooth.
3. Wash and dry saucepan, then place a fine mesh strainer over top. Pour ketchup in the strainer and, using a spatula, force through all of the ketchup.
4. Taste ketchup and adjust seasonings if necessary. Pour ketchup into a jar, seal, and store in the refrigerator for up to a month.