'Fancy' because if you've never had homemade ketchup, it doesn't necessarily taste the same as the Heinz you're used to. But let me tell you, if there's one store-bought food product we should all fear…it's ketchup.
Remember when you were a kid and you found out that a certain number of bugs were "allowed" and "common" to be in your store-bought ketchup? That realization rocked my world. I've never quite looked at a bottle of my favorite condiment the same. And seriously, for no reason whatsoever, a shitload of high fructose corn syrup is included in each bottle you grab off the grocery store's shelf. Oh yeah, there actually is a reason it's in there…because the Big Ag companies want to maximize profits on the unnecessary loads of corn planted all over the country (and subsidized by the tax payers, thanks to the Big Ag lobbyists).
OK, not all ketchups have high fructose corn syrup in it. Trader Joe's organic ketchup does not. I've checked. I'm sure there are others. But most do contain HFCS as one of the first 2 ingredients – right after tomatoes.
But you know which one doesn't? MINE! So let's get to it!
First, I want to acknowledge Julia from What Julia Ate, whose slow cooker ketchup inspired me. Oh, and of course Julia was inspired by Marisa of Food in Jars, who made an awesome slow cooker blueberry butter back in June. And we all swooned at the genius of using the slow cooker for our canning recipes.
The ketchup I made here was inspired by both Julia's ketchup, referenced above, and Tomato Ketchup in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.
A warning before you embark on this recipe…this is a get up early and do it all day adventure. The whole process takes around 12 hours. Tomato season is not for the faint of heart.
Without further adieu…
Fancy Ketchup for Adults
(makes seven 8-oz jars of ketchup)
8 cups of pureed tomatoes (appx 6 pounds of tomatoes)
1 yellow onion, diced
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 6-inch cinammon stick broken in half
1 bay leaf
3 tsp salt (to taste)
1/2 tsp peppercorns
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp oregano
To get your 8 cups of tomato puree: blanch tomatoes, remove skins, cut into quarters and drain via a sieve. Once drained, throw the tomatoes into a cuisanart. Add the onions and garlic as well, and puree.
Add the tomato/onion/garlic puree to the slow cooker. Heat on low for 10 hours with the lid off. That's right…ten hours! I spelled it out and wrote the number, so you know I am not mis-typing. Tomatoes have lots of water in them, requiring time to cook down and achieve the consistency people look for in a ketchup.
Meanwhile, add the following spices to a spice bag: cinammon stick (broken up), peppercorns, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, and celery seed.
After ten hours, turn the slow cooker to high and mix in the following: sugar, vinegar, salt, oregano, allspice.
Mix well and add the spice bag.
It will take about one more hour before the ketchup reaches the desired consistency.
I chose to can this recipe in 8-oz jars because ketchup is not something people usually plow through, and most canned foods should be consumed within 3-4 weeks once opened and refrigerated.
Ladle hot ketchup into prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
Use a butter knife or similar to run along the sides of the jar, removing air bubbles.
Wipe rim, center lid on jar, and add screw band to fingertip tight.
Process 8-ounce jars in a canner bath for 15 minutes at sea level, more depending on altitude or larger size of jar.
Remove canner lid and let jars rest for 5 minutes before removing from the water.
Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them. Cool overnight. Once the jars have cooled, ensure they are sealed. Press down gently in the center of the lid. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. Put the jar in the refrigerator and enjoy it for the next 3 – 4 weeks. If the lid remains taut, you've got a good seal.