After I found a basic recipe online, I modified for our family's taste. We are not fond of sugary sweet catsup, so my recipe uses little sugar and relies on tomatoes' and peppers' natural sweetness. In 2011, I accidentally dumped some turmeric in the pot of bubbling tomato mixture and with a pleasant result, I incorporated that ingredient in subsequent batches. To up the ante for pepper flavor, I use a Thai red chile and a couple of sweet Jimmy Nardellos, a beautiful long red pepper that is identified as a member of the Slow Food USA's Ark of Taste. Foods included in this living catalog are deemed delicious, but face extinction. Easy to grow and an abundant producer, I recommend this pepper to gardeners who love sweet peppers.
|Jimmy Nardello peppers are deep red and sweet|
|Amish Paste tomato|
|San Marzano tomato|
Because it takes so long to reduce, I cook catsup for one day, refrigerate the mixture overnight and finish the following day. Yes, it is a two-day job. It is probably not necessary to use an immersion blender to finish this recipe, but if you like smooth catsup, I recommend this tool. For about twenty bucks, you will find many uses for this handy device, which makes whipping cream and blending soups a snap and is much easier to clean than a standard bar blender.
|Japanese Plum tomatoes are a heavy paste variety|
Sure, it takes time to make homemade catsup and industrial brands are probably more cost effective, but when you taste the fruits of labor, made with heirloom goodness, you, too, may decide the flavor is worth the effort.
Catsup (August 21, 2014)
Total Yield = 76 ounces
(Total weight for tomatoes should be about ten pounds)
12 San Marzano tomatoes
4 Japanese Plum tomatoes
18 Amish Paste tomaotes
2 Jimmy Nardello sweet peppers
1 Thai red chile pepper (remove seeds)
4 sweet onions
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
5 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground paprika pepper (I dry and grind these with a mortar and pestle)
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt (I use coarse Himalayan Pink)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Wash, trim ends and cut tomatoes in chunks before pureeing them in a food processor with peppers. Use a food mill to strain the puree and remove skins and seeds. Puree onions and stir into the tomato mixture in a large stainless steel pot. Cook and stir occasionally over low heat until the mixture reduces by about one third. (Note: This step took five hours.)
In a small pot, combine vinegar and other ingredients and simmer for about thirty minutes. Use a strainer to remove solids as you add about half the spiced vinegar to the tomato mixture. Continue cooking and reduce a bit more. Remove the pot from the heat and place in a deep sink. Use an immersion blender to smooth the catsup. Return to heat and cook until the mixture is the desired consistency.
Pour hot mixture into hot jars or bottles, leaving about 1/8 inch headspace. Use a boiling water bath to process jars for fifteen minutes. Remove jars from boiling water bath and immediately invert them for five minutes. Upright jars and cover with a heavy towel for 24 hours. Check to be sure lids sealed and refrigerate any that fail to do so.