Spiced Tomato Ketchup

Adapted only very slightly from Hungry Tigress’ Sweet Tomato Ketchup

  • 4-5 lbs very ripe (home grown, heirloom) tomatoes in any colour you want, peeled and chopped.
  • 1 C raw sugar
  • 1  1/2 C white wine vinegar
  • 1 T sea salt
  • 1 head garlic, peeled & chopped fine
  • 2  1/2 T fresh ginger, peeled & chopped fine
  • 1-2 dried red chillies, pounded in mortar & pestle (or 1/2 – 3/4 t red pepper flakes)
  • 1/2 t  fennel seeds
  • 1/2 t cumin seeds
  • 1/2 t fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 t allspice berries
  • juice & zest of one lime

Place in 1/2 pint or smaller mason jars. Yield: approximately 2 pints

Blanch your tomatoes: Bring a large pot of water to a boil, drop the tomatoes into the water a few at a time for 30-45 seconds and then immediately place them in a ice bath. This makes the tomatoes incredibly easy to peel (and it’s incredibly difficult to peel tomatoes if you don’t blanch them first.)

While waiting for the water to boil, zest and juice the lime and prep the garlic and ginger. Process the garlic and ginger into a smooth paste in a food processor. You will probably have to add some water for it to form a smooth consistency.

Pound the spices in a mortar and pestle, or do what I did and put them in a plastic ziploc bag and pound on them with a heavy rolling pin. You want the spices to be bruised and release their flavour, but not ground or crushed too much. Even though they’re whole, with all the cooking we’re going to do to them, the spices will essentially melt into the sauce.

Place all ingredients in a large non-reactive pot. You want lots of space so that when it bubbles up when thick it doesn’t splotch all over the place.  Warm on low until the sugar dissolves and then bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 1 1/2 – 2 hours until desired thickness has been reached.

Wwhile the ketchup is simmering prepare jars & lids for hot water bath processing. Process full jars for 10 minutes.

While this recipes says this is a ketchup, I’d say it tastes more like a tomato chutney. Which means it’s still fantastic on all the things you might use ketchup on: potatoes of all kinds, eggs, burgers, hot dogs, etc. It’d also be a fantastic sauce for meats on the grill, especially chicken or pork.

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White Wine Vinegar Refrigerator Pickles

This is heavily based on a champagne vinegar pickles recipe from my friend Chandelle.

This will give you enough for a 1 quart jar. I usually make between 3 and 6 times this amount because of how much I love pickles.

1 1/2 lb small cucumbers, quartered or
1 1/2 lbs larger English cucumbers cut into spears, seeded if necessary
1 1/4 C water
3/4 C white wine vinegar
1 1/4 T white sugar
1 T kosher salt
3 whole garlic cloves
3 bay leaves
1 T mustard seed
3/4 T dill seeds
1 t peppercorns
2 sprigs of fresh dill

Make sure the cucumbers are clean of dirt and debris.
Combine the water, vinegar, honey, salt, garlic, and spices (except dill) in a small saucepan.
Clear the room and bring the brine to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
Turn off the heat and let the brine cool for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, pack the cucumber spears into a wide-mouth quart-size jar.
When the brine has cooled, pour it over the top of the pickles.
Tuck the dill sprigs into the jar.

Refrigerate.

The pickles will last for a month in the fridge and taste best after a week.

I also like to add in 1-2 seeded Anaheim peppers per jar for a nice subtle heat. I’ve also added in red and yellow banana peppers. Basically if I don’t have enough cucumbers, I add in whatever vegetables are ripe from the garden which are relatively soft and easy to pickle within a week (like peppers).

If making more than one batch at a time, once the liquid has cooled, remove the garlic and bay leaves with a slotted spoon and then place the correct amount into each jar. Add in about 3/4 of the necessary liquid to the cucumbers and then spoon the appropriate equal amount of spices into each jar, filling with the rest of the liquid. If you’re making a large batch, you could also do it all in a plastic pail. A sextuple (6x) batch will fit perfectly into a 5 quart (1 Imp gallon) pail, depending on the size and how well you packed in your cucumbers.