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Anyone have a relatively easy catsup recipe?

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Help, I have too many tomatoes!

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    8 qts ripe tomatoes
    2 cups finely chopped onions
    1 cup chopped sweet red peppers
    1 clove garlic, finely chopped
    1 tablespoon salt
    1 tablespoon celery seed
    1 tablesppon whole allspice
    1 tablespoon whole cloves
    1 tablespoon peppercorns
    2 teaspoons mustard seed
    1 bay leaf
    3/4 cup brown sugar
    2 cups cider vinegar

    Wash tomatoes and cut small. No need to peel, but save juice. Simmer tomates, onions, peppers, garlic and salt in a heavy kettle until soft, about 25 minutes. Put through food mill to remove seeds and skin. Tie spices in cheesecloth and add along with brown sugar to milled tomatoes. Cook at medium boil until reduced by half, stirring frequently (about 1 hour). Remove spice bag, add vinegar, simmer another 15 minutes stirring often. Pour into half-pint jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Makes 6 pints.

    I never made this, but I guilted my mother into once. I never liked catsup but couldn't figure out why. It's just thickened tomato sauce, right? Figuring homemade would be a far superior product, I suggested this once when she had an overabundance of tomatoes.

    Truth in advertising: She said it made a mess of her kitchen. Perhaps she didn't use a large enough pot, but she said that during the boiling down there was tomato sauce popping all over the place. If you try this, do use a good sized pot. I also thought it a bit too sweet. Maybe cut down on the brown sugar? The end result was much better than anything I'd ever bought in a store, but I decided I'm still not all that crazy about catsup.

    2 Replies
    1. re: JoanN

      Thanks Joan. I have had that popping all over the place problem when making sauce in a small cast iron skillet. I didn't understand the last part of the recipe. What does process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes mean? Oh and should I heat the jars (fill w hot water?) in some way before pouring in the catsup?

      1. re: chocolatetartguy

        Processing the jars in a boiling water bath is a standard procedure to ensure the safety and keeping quality of foods that will be stored for a length of time in the pantry. The usual procedure is to sterilize the jars in boiling water for 15 minutes. I put them in a stock pot with water to cover and bring to a boil, then fish them out with tongs and set them to drain upside down on a clean kitchen towel until ready to use. The lids and rubber gaskets can just be covered with boiling water and set aside until needed.

        Once the jar has been filled to within about half inch of the top, screw the caps on. You'll need a pot large enough to hold all six jars if you want to process them in a single batch. Again, I use the stock pot. I also put a folded kitchen towel in the bottom of the pot to keep the jars from knocking around to much. Fill the pot with water so that the jars are covered by at least two or three inches (trying to make sure the jars don't touch each other or the sides of the pot), bring the water to a full boil over high heat, and boil for the time given.

        I feel it's taking me longer to write this than it does to do it. It's really not at all complicated or difficult, and I just love having home-canned goodies around to pull out of the pantry all winter long.

        I'm sure you could find detailed canning instructions by Googling if you want more detail or specifics.

    2. I would just chop and can them. I did a bushel a couple weekends ago.
      You can also make tomato paste. It's way better than store bought.

      DT

      1 Reply
      1. re: Davwud

        That's an idea. I could just make big batches of tomato comfit and freeze.

      2. How about oven dried or sun dried tomatoes? They're so good and useful.

        1. There is a catsup recipe in the New Basics Cookbook (Lukins and Rosso) that cooks in the microwave. I made this many many years ago and thought it tasted great and it was very easy.