Homemade Ketchup with Canning Instructions #Unprocessed

One of the biggest challenges I've faced as I've made changes to my diet has been finding condiments that don't contain High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). Some condiments, like ketchup and sweet relish, have been next to impossible to find healthy replacements for. I could attempt to completely eliminate them from my diet, but I'm not sure I could live a life without ketchup covering my fries. I've been meaning to try my hand at making it myself, but fresh tomatoes are fairly expensive in my area so I've been putting off the project and buying an organic ketchup from Whole Foods. It's not quite as good and Heinz, but it gets the job done.

While I was out at the farmers' market a few weekends ago I stumbled across someone selling canning tomatoes for $0.99 per lb, which is the least expensive I've come across tomatoes all year. I quickly snapped up five pounds with the intention of making ketchup as soon as I got home. I pulled out my stock-pot so I could blanch the tomatoes and remove the skins, only to find out our gas was off. A few phone calls and 1 repair man later I was ready to go, it turns out the gas company had decided to upgrade our meter while I was out shopping and shut off the gas pending an inspection. When I questioned why they didn't call me to make an appointment I was told they just assumed people would be home on a Saturday. Guys that is about the stupidest thing anyone has said to me in a long time. 

Anyway, back to the ketchup.

As soon as our repair man left I boiled my water, blanched my tomatoes, and proceeded to spend a lot of time running them through a food mill. I've never used a food mill before, it's really quite the workout, but in the end the effort was worth it. This is some tasty ketchup, although it's not quite the consistency of commercial ketchup, it's a bit on the chunky side. I wasn't sure how I felt about that at first, but the texture has grown on me. We've already run through 3 of the 4 quarter pint jars I've put up. As soon as I have some free time I'll definitely be making more, although I'm curious to see if I can skip a few steps and work with tomato paste instead so I can save some time and mess.

Ketchup.jpg

Homemade Ketchup
makes 4 quarter pints

Ingredients

5 pounds tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ medium sized yellow onion, diced
⅔ cup apple cider vinegar (see notes)
¼ cup white sugar or turbinado sugar (see notes)
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon allspice, ground
½ teaspoon cloves, ground
½ teaspoon peppercorns, whole
½ teaspoon cinnamon, ground
⅛ teaspoon cayenne, ground
⅛ teaspoon ginger, ground

Equipment

food mill
water-bath canner or stock pot with lifter
4 quarter pint jars, 2 half pint jars, or 1 pint jar with lids and rings
jar grabber
magnetic lid lifter
funnel
butter knife
ladle
clean dish towels and cloths 

Directions

  • Boil a large pot of water. Working in small batches, score the bottom of the tomatoes with an X and cook for 30 - 45 seconds. Transfer blanched tomatoes to a bowl of ice water and the skins will come right off.
  • Remove the cores and skins, then cut into large chunks and place in a non-reactive stock pot. 
  • Add diced onions and minced garlic, then cook on high for 10 - 15 minutes to allow the juices to release.
  • Remove tomatoes from the heat and allow them to cool slightly, then pass the everything through a food mill. If you have several sized screens you'll want to use the smallest so the seeds don't pass through.
  • Return the pulp to your stock-pot, add apple cider vinegar, sugar, and salt. Place your spices in a tea bag or piece of cheese cloth, then continue to boil the tomatoes until they have reduces to the desired consistency. This can take 2 hours or more depending on how much liquid you tomatoes produced.
  • Store finished ketchup in the refrigerator for up to a month, or processes using a waterbath (see instructions below) for storage up to a year.

Canning Instructions

  • Before canning sterilize your canning jars, rings, and any other equipment that will come into contact with the ketchup. You can do this easily by putting everything in the dishwasher and running it. Just don't put your equipment in with dirty dishes.
  • While your jars are sterilizing fill your stock pot with water and let it boil. It takes awhile for a large pot of water to boil, so keep this in mind. You don't want to fill your jars before your water is ready.
  • Once you're ready to fill your jars, place a sauce pan on the stove. Add your canning lids and fill pan with several inches of water. Bring the water to a simmer and allow the sealing wax on the lids to soften for several minutes.
  • Fill sterilized jars with hot ketchup leaving 1/4 inch head space at the top. Remove air bubbles with a knife, wipe the rims with a clean damp rag, place lids on top and fasten ring until fingertip tight.
  • Place sealed jars on a rack in the canner or stock pot. Make sure jars are covered with water and that the waterline is about an inch over the top of the jars, then cover pot with lid.

You do not want the jars coming into contact with the bottom of the canner or stock pot because they will bounce around and likely break.

  • Process quarter pints, half pints, and pints for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude if necessary. Time starts once the water has come to a complete boil again. You may need to add boiling water to keep the water level up as the jars are processing.
  • Remove jars from canner, set on a clean dish towel and let them rest for several hours until cool. You should hear a popping sound as the lids seal. 
  • To check the seals of your jars, once cool you can press the center gently with your finger. If it moves up and down the jar is not sealed. You can either reprocess using a new lid never reuse an old lid or once the jar is cool, eat the applesauce. You know you want to and you deserve the treat after such hard work!
  • Label with detailed contents and date, then store in a cool, dark, and dry place.

Notes

While I did not test this recipe with turbinado sugar you should have no problem substituting it for the white sugar called for in the recipe. You'll still use ¼ cup of sugar, or less if you desire a slightly less sweet ketchup.

If you don't have apple cider vinegar you can use white vinegar, but the ketchup will be less sweet.

Vanilla Bean Peach Butter

I know I say this every year, but where in the world has summer gone? It seems like yesterday I was spending my days working on my tan, or what passes for a tan in Wisconsin, while my son spent his day swimming in his wading pool. Those days are behind me for now, fall has made an early appearance and the past few weeks have been down right chilly for the tail end of summer. As much as I'm sad to see my lazy days outside come to an end, I do look forward to the flavors that fall brings. I love all things pumpkin and spice, but I'm not quite ready to embrace them yet. I still have several pounds of juicy summer peaches to put up, so I've been taking advantage of the cooler weather to make fruit butter. Several weeks ago I made a small batch of No Fuss Crock-Pot Apricot Butter. It turned out so well that I've decided that my remaining peaches are destined to become fruit butter as well. I've put up about 6 pints over the last few weeks which means this winter I can pull out a jar and enjoy a little taste of summer when things are looking cold and dreary. With our high temperatures hovering in the low 50s I have a feeling it's going to be a long cold winter this year. I'm going to need all the reminders of summer that I can get! 

PeachButter.jpg

Peach Butter
makes 5 half pints

Ingredients

5lbs peaches
1 vanilla bean
1 cup white sugar 

Equipment

immersion blender (optional)
water-bath canner or stock pot with lifter
7 half pint canning jars with lids and rings
jar grabber
magnetic lid lifter
funnel
butter knife
ladle
clean dish towels and cloths 

Directions

  • Remove the skins from the peaches. Boil a large pot of water, add peaches, and blanch for 1 minute, or until skins start to crack. Depending on the size of your pot you may need to work in batches. 
  • Transfer blanched peaches to cold water and once cool the skins should easily peel off. Remove pits and skins, then place in crock pot. 
  • Open vanilla bean pod with a knife and scrape the insides into the crockpot. Once insides are removed, toss the entire pod in with the peaches.
  • Cook on low for 8 - 10 hours. Make sure to leave the lid off to allow the steam to escape. 
  • After 8 hours the contents of the crock pot should have reduced roughly in half, if they have not you can continue to cook the peaches down until they have reached the desired consistency. 
  • Remove vanilla bean pod, add sugar, then stir until well incorporated.
  • Fill hot canning jars and process using the water bath canning directions below.

Processing times for this recipe

are 15 minutes for elevations of 0-1,000 ft and 20 minutes for elevations of 1,001-6,000 ft. These times are for quarter-pints, half-pints and pints only.

  • Before canning sterilize your canning jars, rings, potato masher, and any other equipment that will come into contact with the apricot butter. You can do this easily by putting everything in the dishwasher and running it. Just don't put your equipment in with dirty dishes.
  • While your jars are sterilizing fill your stock pot with water and let it boil. It takes awhile for a large pot of water to boil, so keep this in mind. You don't want to fill your jars before your water is ready.
  • Once you're ready to fill your jars, place a sauce pan on the stove. Add your canning lids and fill pan with several inches of water. Bring the water to a simmer and allow the sealing wax on the lids to soften for several minutes.
  • Fill sterilized jars with hot apricot butter leaving 1/2 inch head space at the top. Remove air bubbles with a knife, wipe the rims with a clean damp rag, place lids on top and fasten ring until finger tight.
  • Place sealed jars on a rack in the canner or stock pot. Make sure jars are covered with water and that the waterline is about an inch over the top of the jars, then cover pot with lid.

You do not want the jars coming into contact with the bottom of the canner or stock pot because they will bounce around and likely break.

  • Process half pints and pints for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Time starts once the water has come to a complete boil again. You may need to add boiling water to keep the water level up as the jars are processing.

 

  • Remove jars from canner, set on a clean dish towel, and let them rest for several hours until cool. You should hear a popping sound as the lids seal. 
  • To check the seals of your jars press the center gently with your finger. If it moves up and down the jar is not sealed. You can either reprocess using a new lid never reuse an old lid or once the jar is cool, eat the apricot butter. You know you want to and you deserve the treat after such hard work!
  • Label with detailed contents and date, then store in a cool, dark, and dry place.

Other Notes

If you aren't happy with the texture of your butter try using an immersion blender to create a smoother texture. I don't mind the chunky texture so I generally skip the blender.

Vanilla Bean Pear Sauce + a Giveaway from OXO Tot #FirstBites

Even though we have a wonderful bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables available at the summer farmers' market I don't typically start canning until the weather cools off. Our home is at the point where all of the appliances need repaired or preferably replaced and the air conditioner is just barely working. Most days I don't bother with it at all, well, unless the flowers are blooming and my allergies can't tolerate the fresh air (I am apparently allergic to anything green.) Thankfully allergy season has passed and we've had an unusually cool summer this year. I've been taking advantage of the chilly nights to replenish our stock of applesauce. My son can put it away like no other food and with several months to go before I typically start canning it I was surprised to find out I was down to my last case. It amazes me how much food an active two year old boy can put away, I wonder some days if he has a hollow leg like his great uncle.

Last week I shared his favorite recipe for Spiced Blueberry Applesauce and the Healthy mini-popsicles I've been making to enjoy during the hot days of summer. This week since pears were on sale I thought I would whip up a batch of my favorite vanilla bean pear sauce. If you happen to have any vanilla beans that you've waited a little too long to use or perhaps someone left the package open on the counter and didn't notice for several weeks (not that I would ever do that) you'll find the beans will quickly dry out and become impossible to work with. Rather than waste these expensive treasures I've found that the best way to rehydrate them is to toss them in the crock-pot on top of some pears or apples. After about an hour you'll find that the pods have rehydrated enough to easily cut and the whole house smells divine. Who needs air fresheners when you've got a batch of vanilla bean pear sauce to make the house smell good!

Because there are so few ingredients in this recipe it's perfect for even the tiniest of tots so in addition to canning instructions I've included small batch freezing instructions. If you've stopped by for my last few posts you may have noticed that I'm working together with OXO Tot as part of their blogger outreach program. They have sent me a wonderful assortment of tools to help make preparing food for my son just a little bit easier, but no other compensation has been given for this post. Today (Friday July 25th) is the last day to enter their giveaway for your own OXO Tots #FirstBites set and Seedling High Chair so check out the giveaway details below.

PearSauce.jpg

Crock-Pot Vanilla Bean Pear Sauce
makes roughly 8 half pints or 4 pints

Ingredients

for canning

8-10 large pears (approximately 5lbs)
1 vanilla bean

This recipe can be scaled to produce a smaller amount that can be frozen for baby

2 large pears
¼ vanilla bean

Equipment

Crock-pot
potato masher, food mill, or food processor

If freezing for baby food:

Ice cube tray or freezer containers
ziploc storage bags 

If canning for the whole family:

water-bath canner or stock pot with lifter
8 - 10 half pint canning jars with lids and rings
jar grabber
magnetic lid lifter
funnel
butter knife
ladle
clean dish towels and cloths 

Directions

  • Thoroughly wash all fruit before beginning, cut away any brown areas, then slice and peel pears. 
  • Open vanilla bean pod with a knife and scrape the insides into the applesauce. Once insides are removed, toss the entire pod in with the apples.
  • Combine all ingredients in the Crock-Pot and cook on high for 3 - 4 hours, or until pears mash easily. You can also puree the pear sauce in with a food mill, blender, or food processor for a finer sauce.If you have scaled this recipe down to freeze, check sauce after 1 hour to see if it has cooked down far enough to mash or run through a food mill. Cooking time for the smaller amount varies widely depending on the size of the crock pot, if it is not ready after 1 hour continue to check ever 30 minutes so the sauce does not overcook.

Boiling Water Canning, including instructions for canning food for baby

North Dakota State University - Fargo Extension Service has a great PDF file for home canning fruit and fruit products. It even supplies processing times for fruit-based baby foods which require a longer processing time than standard fruit sauce recipes. Keep in mind that not all fruits and vegetables are safe for canning when making purees for babies. With the exception of apple and pears sauces it is recommended you not puree the food before canning because processing times have not been determined for safe canning of these items. 

Processing times for this recipe when canning for baby

are 20 minutes for elevations of 0-1,000 ft and 25 minutes for elevations of 1,001-6,000 ft. If you are not canning this recipe with the intention of making baby food the processing times are 15 minutes for elevations of 0-2,001 and 20 minutes for elevations of 2,000 ft. 4,000 ft. These times are for half-pints and pints only.

  • While waiting for pear sauce to cook, sterilize your canning jars, rings, potato masher, and any other equipment that will come into contact with the pear sauce. You can do this easily by putting everything in the dishwasher and running it. Just don't put your equipment in with dirty dishes.
  • While your jars are sterilizing fill your stock pot with water and let it boil. It takes awhile for a large pot of water to boil, so keep this in mind. You don't want to fill your jars before your water is ready.
  • Once you're ready to fill your jars, place a sauce pan on the stove. Add your canning lids and fill pan with several inches of water. Bring the water to a simmer and allow the sealing wax on the lids to soften for several minutes.
  • Fill sterilized jars with hot pear sauce leaving 1/2 inch head space at the top. Remove air bubbles with a knife, wipe the rims with a clean damp rag, place lids on top and fasten ring until fingertip tight.
  • Place sealed jars on a rack in the canner or stock pot. Make sure jars are covered with water and that the waterline is about an inch over the top of the jars, then cover pot with lid.

You do not want the jars coming into contact with the bottom of the canner or stock pot because they will bounce around and likely break.

  • Process half pints and pints for 15 minutes, quarts for 20 minutes, adjusting for altitude. See above for processing times for baby food, they are different than standard canning processing times. Time starts once the water has come to a complete boil again. You may need to add boiling water to keep the water level up as the jars are processing.
  • Remove jars from canner, set on a clean dish towel and let them rest for several hours until cool. You should hear a popping sound as the lids seal. 
  • To check the seals of your jars press the center gently with your finger. If it moves up and down the jar is not sealed. You can either reprocess using a new lid never reuse an old lid or once the jar is cool, eat the pear sauce. You know you want to and you deserve the treat after such hard work!
  • Label with detailed contents and date, then store in a cool, dark, and dry place.

Freezing for Baby

  • Once you have pureed your pear sauce, spoon it into an ice cube tray and cover with plastic wrap then place trays into the freezer. 
  • If using ice cube trays transfer frozen cubes to a ziplock bag once they have frozen solid. This will ensure more sanitary storage and help prevent freezer burn.
  • Your frozen baby food will remain fresh for up to 3 months.

Other Notes

Make sure to experiment with the flavors different types of pears will produce. I used d'Anjou because they were on sale last week, but I've also had excellent results with Bartlett pears.

Disclosure

This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.