Forget about buying this American staple—homemade is so much better and an inspired way to use up those extra tomatoes.
- 4 quarts (about 24) ripe tomatoes, peeled, cored, and chopped
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
- 1 ½ teaspoons celery seed
- 1 teaspoon mustard seed
- 1 teaspoon whole allspice
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 ½ cups cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon paprika
In a large, nonreactive saucepan over moderate heat, combine the tomatoes, onion, and red bell pepper, and cook until the vegetables are soft. Using a food mill or a sieve, press the vegetables through to make a puree. Return the vegetable puree to the saucepan.
Over high heat, cook the vegetable puree rapidly until it is thick and the volume is reduced by about half, about 1 hour.
Cut a 4-inch square of cheesecloth. Place the celery seed, mustard seed, allspice, and cinnamon stick in the center, gather up the corners to form a bag, and secure with kitchen string. Add the spice bag, brown sugar, and salt to the tomato mixture. Over low heat, cook the mixture gently for 25 minutes, stirring frequently.
Stir in the cider vinegar and paprika. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thick.
Spoon the ketchup into 3 hot, sterilized pint jars, leaving a 1/2-inch space between the top of the ketchup and the rim of the jar. Wipe the rims, cover, and immerse the jars for 10 minutes in water brought slowly to a boil. Cool and test for airtight seals by gently pressing the center of the lid; if the depression in the center holds, the seal is good. If it does not, store in the refrigerator and use immediately. Makes 3 pints.
Label, date, and store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year; the ketchup will be ready to eat in 1 week. Once a jar has been opened, store the ketchup in the refrigerator.