Both store-bought and homemade ketchup contain lycopene, an antioxidant associated with decreased risk of chronic diseases. We found this rendition well worth making because it captures the vibrant flavor of summer tomatoes and has about half the sodium of regular ketchup. Serve with hamburgers, oven-baked fries, or with meat loaf.
Place mustard seeds, celery seeds, allspice, and peppercorns on a double layer of cheesecloth. Gather edges of cheesecloth together; tie securely.
Combine cheesecloth bag, garlic, tomatoes, and next 3 ingredients (through vinegar) in a large Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Remove cheesecloth bag, and set aside.
Place half of tomato mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Strain smooth mixture through a fine mesh sieve back into pan; discard solids. Repeat procedure with remaining cooked tomato mixture. Add cheesecloth bag, sugar, and salt to pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, until reduced to 1 cup (about 45 minutes).
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This is a great change from the store-bought bottled stuff with loads of HFCS. I didn't have fresh tomatoes on-hand so I used 2 cans of Muir Glen organic tomato sauce. Also, rather than steep whole spices I ground them up in a spice grinder and added them directly to the sauce. I ended up with a greater volume (2 1/2 c?) once it seemed cooked down sufficiently, but the flavor seemed about right. One additional tablespoon of sugar (granulated honey rather) made it perfect. I used some immediately in CL Plum Barbecue Sauce, and the rest I funneled it into two empty 8-oz. plastic soda bottles for my own "squeeze bottles". Burgers, fries...look out!
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