If you asked a group of children to tell you their favourite condiment, the majority would scream ketchup! (and maybe one would yell truffle oil! and you’d die a little inside.) Ketchup is to childhood meals what Sriracha is to your adult ones – you put that shit on everything.
But as an adult, unless you’re eating fries, asking for ketchup can seem a bit juvenile. I bet many of you reading this don’t have ketchup in your fridge right now – but you have 8 types of hot sauce, 6 kinds of mustard, and fancy pickles (your inner child is crying.) But that’s okay – because store bought ketchup just doesn’t always cut it with our discriminating adult palettes.
Good news – ketchup is so easy to make at home. And having homemade ketchup really makes it seem like you know what you’re doing in the kitchen. Think about it – you realize you forgot to buy ketchup, but your friends are on their way over for some classic cheeseburgers. You don’t have time for the grocery store, but you also won’t risk the expiration dates at the corner store. So you pull out a few pantry ingredients, throw them into a pot and let it bubble away for a few minutes. You friends walk in at this very moment and see you funnelling homemade ketchup into an empty bottle. They are in awe. You play coy. No one has to know it’s because you have the memory of a 15-year old stoner.
This recipe makes a very basic ketchup, much tangier than the store bought kind, and let’s the tomatoes shine. This is also a great way to use up leftover bottled tomatoes (I use strained tomatoes, but tomato sauce works too!)I use red wine vinegar because I always have it on hand, but you can experiment with white wine or apple cider vinegar, balsamic (balsamic ketchup, you fancy huh?). Even plain, pickling white, the vinegar of my childhood, tastes great here. Feel free to experiment with adjusting the levels of sugar and salt, replacing the sugar with honey or agave or other hippie sugars you might have, and try adding some spices (especially cayenne) and make this your own.
And maybe – just maybe – you’ll end up like me, return to your youthful ways and put this shit on everything.
1 cup strained tomatoes (or tomato sauce)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vinegar (I used red wine vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and place over medium heat.
- Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently.
The mixture may start to bubble fairly intensely, in which case, lower the heat.
- The mixture will thicken slightly on the stove, but the ketchup will still seem quite runny immediately after cooking.
- Remove the ketchup from the heat and let cool at least 15 minutes. Once it’s cooled a bit, funnel the ketchup into an empty bottle.
- Store in the fridge. Ketchup will thicken as it cools.
The ketchup should last a while, probably 2 weeks, but I’ve never gotten that far.
♠ The final result won’t be as thick as regular bottled ketchup. If you want it to be thicker, stir in:
1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch, dissolved in 1 teaspoon of warm water.
Stir into mixture 5 minutes before you take it off the heat.
♠ Depending on the type of tomatoes used, you may need to adjust the sugar + salt (also based on your taste preference).