Monday, 26 September 2011


8 days of blogging? This must be some sort of record! After a week of chutneys & relishes, here's something a bit different. Well not that different, as it's still preserving. Today it's all about ketchup!
Ketchup has been around since the 1690's, but was very different to the red gloop we're so fond of today. It was made in China out of pickled fish & known as kê-tsiap (meaning 'carp juice'. Yum). The sauce made its way to Malaysia where it was known as kechap & by 1740 British explorers had cottoned on to it, and started calling it ketchup. It wasn't until the early 1800's that it was made with tomatoes (and a lot of salt). Prior to that, most ketchups were made with mushrooms, oysters or walnuts, and were similar to soy sauce in consistency.

I know it seems a bit odd to make something yourself that is so cheap & readily available, but I love making my own ketchup. It's not just that I like making it out of yellow or green tomatoes & alarming friends & relatives with weird coloured ketchup (okay, so maybe it's a little bit of that) but the flavour is so much better than shop bought ketchup, and you can really mess around with your ingredients. I like to make a spicy red tomato ketchup with Mexican flavourings like cumin, oregano & a few minced up pickled chipotle chillis. Yellow tomato ketchup gets yellow mustard powder & ground ginger. So do whatever flavours you like.

The basic tomato ketchup recipe requires 1 litre of passata. My favourite way of making passata is to roast around 2kg of tomatoes, halved & arranged in a tray with whatever herbs you fancy (oregano or rosemary work well) in the oven at 180C until softened. Leave to cool & rub through a nylon sieve with a wooden spoon to get rid of all the seeds & skins. You should end up with about 1 litre of the tastiest pasta sauce you'll ever eat.

If you don't have a glut of tomatoes to use, you can still make ketchup with other fruits. Tomatillos make excellent ketchup (replace the lemon juice with lime & add a couple of green chillis for a spicy kick), as does rhubarb (2kg of rhubarb baked in the oven until tender & pushed through a sieve will make enough puree for this recipe, though I'd recommend leaving out the lemon juice as rhubarb is pretty tart). Elderberries, pineapple, mango, plums, bananas & gooseberries all make delicious ketchups too.


1 litre of passata
100ml red wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar if using yellow or green tomatoes)
100g sugar (or you can use honey)
juice of 2 lemons (about 50ml)2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt1 tsp oregano1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper

Put all the ingredients into a pan & bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring regularly, until the sauce reaches & thick but pourable consistency (remember it will get a little thicker when cool). Pour into sterilised bottles & seal tightly. It sounds like an odd thing to do, but turn the bottles upside down & leave to stand for a few minutes (this is to sterilise the tops of the bottles & give them a longer shelf life). Use within 6 months & store in the fridge once opened.


Shaheen said...

wow, no kidding - by my reckoning it is a record.

I didn't know the background to ketchup so found your post most interesting, also loving the three shades of ketchup.

littleblackfox said...

Hehe, I hope to do more blogging now the garden doesn't need so much attention. I should really do some herb posts.

Glad you like the ketchups, they're red tomato & herbs, yellow tomato & mustard & tomatillo & serrano chilli. I've been thinking about making carrot or beetroot ketchup, but worry that such a thing would be madness (they said I was mad to make a beetroot ketchup. Mad! Bua-ha-haaa! etc)

Shaheen said...

I can see carrot ketchup, not sure about beetroot - would be worth trying though - if it fails, call it betroot relish.

Lady Chutney said...

I'm so glad I know about your blog now. This sounds delicious and I am definately going to make it very soon. I have made ketchup before (a Jamie Oliver recipe) and it is so much nicer that the bought kind.