Sunday, August 10, 2008

Catsup, Ketchup, or Catchup? What's in a name? And in the bottle?

I've been using tomatoes. This time making catsup, which is what one of my grandmothers used to call it, ketchup, which is what branded varieties are called, or Catchup, which I find is an older version. Making this condiment takes lots of tomatoes and it is so much better than the bottled versions that are laced with high fructose corn syrup and who knows what else. I think I'll start calling it Catchup since it enabled me to rid my table of tomatoes. Look here and here for more information.

To make Catchup, cut about 2 gallons of tomatoes (about 50). The recipe in the Ball Blue Book says to chop them, but I don't find all that chopping necessary. I do chop the onions and bell pepper. Onion and pepper take longer to soften so I don't skip that step.

Once you cook all this until soft you run it through a food mill to get all the skin, seeds and big hunks out. You really only want pulp.

Add a spice bag, some sugar, salt and paprika and cook until the flavors begin to meld together. Add the vinegar and cook until thick.

Here's the recipe before I steer you wrong.
Tomato Catsup
4 quarts chopped, peeled, cored tomatoes
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 tsp whole allspice
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 stick cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 cups vinegar

Cook tomatoes, onion and pepper until soft. Press through a sieve or food mill. Cook pulp rapidly until thick and reduced by one-half, about 1 hour. Tie whole spices in a spice bag. Add spice bag, sugar, salt, and paprika to tomato mixture. Cook gently about 25 minutes, stirring frequently. Add vinegar; cook until thick. As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Remove spice bag. Ladle hot catsup into hot jars, leaving 1/4" head space. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner. Yield: about 3 pints. Ball Blue Book

I doubled the recipe. I get a little freaky when my tomatoes go from 12 qts to 4 pints. Even after finishing it, I still have oodles and oodles of tomatoes.


ZILLA said...

I tend to spell it "catsup" even when I buy Hunts or Heinz. It's a "cat" thing, you know.

I would give my eyeteeth to try your homemade "catchup" -- your word is so appropriate for the busy home-harvester. The inclusion of a cinnamon stick is intriguing!

Have you ever read Iola Fuller's The Loon Feather? It was written in 1940 -- one of those rare gems nobody ever heard of that Grandma kept on the shelf at the summer place because of its regional significance. I got bored with her UFO magazines one summer and picked it up. Beautiful, and easily read; appropriate for anyone reading at fifth grade level or above.

I believe it was in this book that I learned that the Victorians considered tomatoes an ornamental plant, and that tomatoes were believed at one time to be poisonous, if you can imagine that!

Remembering the ornamental quality of tomatoes, and considering my limited space here and watching the sun's path all summer, I've been considering installing raised beds for vegetables in the FRONT of the house, lining the driveway and path to the front door. Within the city limits, in a neighborhood with a rather suburban flavor, this would be an unconventional situation where aesthetics would matter. I'm still weighing the options, the materials I could use to construct 75 - 100 feet of 3- or 4-ft attractive beds being a major consideration and the bulk of the investment.

I don't want to leave the city, but I sure do miss homegrown and knowing exactly what's been put into my food.

So nice to be on a more wholesome topic, Wisteria. Thank you for the break from myself :-)

Wisteria said...

Barbara will have an ordinance written within the season.

I'll send you a jar!

Frankie said...

I wish I had your skills. I bet it is delicious.

Angela said...

You have me intrigued as well, although the family nixed the idea as loyal "Heinz" fans. The list of additives did not deter them in their loyalty, but they have agreed to eating homemade salsa and tomato gravy, so I must give. My expected excess was trashed in the hail storm yesterday, so I don't know how much of either I will have to put up this year :(

Lisa Anne said...

If my tomatoes ever ripen I will try this recipe, although we don't eat anything that one would normally put catchup on. It just looks tasty! We have had such cool nights, around 55 degrees, I am not sure if they will ripen, the plants are getting blight too because of the cool, damp nights. Last year we lost all our tomatoes to hail, I am beginning to think they are an ill-fated crop in our little valley.
Nice to "catch up" with all you have been doing.

JoVE said...

We made ketchup last year too. Got the recipe from Keeping Food Fresh (which you might like; French preserving recipes translated into American measures). It was amazing how once it started to warm up with the spices in it smelled exactly as one would expect. That cinnamon surprised us, too.

Our tomatoes are late this year because of the cooler wetter summer but they are starting to ripen now so there is hope. We have plans that involve fleece and/or polythene to guard from frost and extend the season.

JoVE said...

Oh, and related to Zilla's comment... it is not surprising that they were considered poisonous. They are in the same family as deadly nightshade. And I think the fruit of potato plants (also in the same family; and looking suspiciously like small tomatoes) are also poisonous to humans.

Kate in NJ said...

I am going to try this...we have
lost sight of our table already this year. ;-)

Angela..maybe we'll need to meet in the middle for a tomato/zucchini