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Make Your Own Ketchup

If you’re participating in October Unprocessed this month or are just looking to cut some processed foods out of your diet, you might be wondering how to replace some of your favorite store-bought condiments.  One condiment that I had never made myself was ketchup, so I decided to give it a try with a little help from a fellow food blogger.

For me, ketchup has always meant Heinz.  I grew up dipping my french fries in it and have always had a bottle stored in the door of my refrigerator.  I don’t use ketchup that often, but I do like it on burgers, fries, and in homemade barbecue sauces.  I’ve also been known to dip grilled cheese sandwiches in it, but that habit is reserved for diners where I occasionally break down and order a grilled cheese on white bread with American cheese. Don’t knock it ’til you try it!

For the last several months, I haven’t been eating ketchup at all due to the sugar content (actually high fructose corn syrup, in the case of original Heinz).  But now that I’m adding small amounts of certain sweeteners back in, I decided it would be fun to make my own ketchup that includes ingredients I’m comfortable with.

I searched through several different recipes before deciding on this Spicy Ketchup from What’s Gaby Cooking.  I had the pleasure of hanging out with Gaby in Portland recently, so I thought it would be fun to try one of her recipes and pass it on to the rest of you.

This ketchup couldn’t be simpler to make since it starts with canned tomato puree.  For October Unprocessed, I’m allowing good-quality canned tomato products, but it would be easy enough to cook down some whole tomatoes to make your own puree if you have the time and inclination.  One change I did make for October Unprocessed was to use Muscovado sugar in place of standard brown sugar.  Muscovado is much less processed than brown sugar and has a deep molasses flavor that I thought would work well in the ketchup.  It worked perfectly.  Other than that one small change, I followed Gaby’s recipe to the letter and I loved it.

True to the name of the recipe, this is a very spicy ketchup.  If you’re making this for kids or you want something that’s a bit more all-purpose, I would stick with this recipe, but leave out the cayenne pepper and reduce the amount of crushed red pepper.  It’s much easier to add heat at the end than it is to take it away.  The same goes for the sugar – this is definitely a sweet ketchup (which, if you’re a Heinz lover like me, you’ll appreciate).  If you want something less sweet, just start with less sugar.  This is what’s great about making things from scratch – you can and should adjust for your own taste.  Make it your own!

Now head over to What’s Gaby Cooking to learn how to make your own ketchup.  And if you’d like a cute bottle to keep it in, I got mine at Sur La Table.

Spicy Ketchup Recipe at What’s Gaby Cooking
More info about October Unprocessed
at Eating Rules

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