I made pickles Friday and yesterday I made some other condiments – ketchup and mustard. A few years ago I made some ketchup and it was legendary…at least to me. I loved it much more than commercial ketchup. The only negative that I noticed about making and preserving ketchup is that it turned off-color pretty quickly in the jars so this time I didn’t make as much of it and didn’t preserve it. I just put it in a jar in the refrigerator. I found out that I can freeze it so I might try that instead of water-bath canning it.
Even though I didn’t make my usual amount, I do understand why people make big batches because both recipes are time consuming — I’m not going to lie. However, I am always intrigued by recipes that are “institutionalized” and I like to know how to make them. So now I do. And if we are ever under a Zombie attack and everyone is out of their favorite condiments, come to my house, we will have ketchup and mustard. We may not have anything to put them on, but we will have the condiments.
Here is the recipe in case you have a whole day to spend making ketchup instead of running to the grocery store for a $1.99 bottle. Time is money, I know, but sometimes making something interesting and new justifies the time. Ketchup is near and dear to my heart because one of my earliest food memories is of me sitting in the kitchen and dipping some chicken in ketchup. I’ve been eating (and wearing) ketchup for a long time.
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens You Can Can: A Guide to Canning Preserving and Pickling
8 pounds tomatoes (about 24)
1 medium onion (about 1/2 cup chopped)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 cup sugar (or less to preference)
3/4 cup white vinegar
1 1/2 inches stick cinnamon, broken
1 1/2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 tablespoon salt
Core and quarter tomatoes; drain. In a 10-quart pot combine tomatoes, onion, and cayenne pepper. Heat to boiling. Cook, covered for 15 minutes, stirring often. Press tomato mixture through a food mill or sieve. Discard seeds and skins. Return tomato mixture to kettle; stir in sugar. Heat to boiling; reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 2 hours or more until reduced by half, stirring occasionally. In a small saucepan combine vinegar, cinnamon, cloves, and celery seeds. Heat to boiling. Remove from heat. Strain vinegar mixture into tomato mixture; discard spices. Add salt. Simmer uncovered about 30 minutes or to desired consistency; stirring often. To can, ladle hot ketchup into hot, sterilized jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims, adjust l ids. Process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes. Remove jars from canner; cool on wire racks. Or freeze in half-pint freezer containers leaving 1/2 inch head space.
The spices smelled good simmering in spite of vinegar overtones. I guess some people like a vinegar smell but it’s not my favorite.
And then you simmer and stir ad infinitum (look at me using my classical education) until you get the ketchup juuuuust right.
Ketchup is done and now on to mustard. I have many jars of mustard in my refrigerator already so I thought I would try a unique variety instead of plain old yellow mustard.
Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving by Kingry and Devine
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup coarsely grated peeled gingerroot (about 1 4-inch root)
2 tablespoons chopped garlic (about 4 cloves)
1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
1/2 cup yellow mustard seeds
1/4 cup brown mustard seeds
1 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/3 cup dry mustard
1/4 cup granulated sugar
In a medium saucepan combine water, gingerroot, garlic and peppercorns. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and boil gently for 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to a sieve placed over a bowl and press with the back of a spoon to extract the liquid. Discard residue and return liquid to saucepan. Add yellow and brown mustard seeds. Cover and let stand at room temperature until seeds have absorbed most of the water, about 2 hours. In a blender or food processor, combine marinated mustard seeds with dry mustard. Process until coarsely chopped. (Mine never chopped and just whirled happily around the food processor as though the mustard seeds were enjoying the Tilt-a-Whirl at the county fair. I finally used a mortar and pestle to grind up a few of the seeds and then just dumped the rest back in the pan.) Return to a sauce pan and add vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly. Reduce to low heat and boil gently, stirring frequently until volume is reduced by a third, about 15 minutes (mine took 25 vinegar and mustard fume choking minutes, whew!) You can process in hot water bath for 10 minutes. Leave 1/4 inch headspace. I chose not to preserve this batch and just keep it in the refrigerator for consumption in the near future.
Making mustard is quite the aromatic process. Olivia called it pungent and Davis called it sickening. In fact, we had to make late night brownies just to replace the smell with something better. I can imagine what my mom endured as my grandma made a mustard plaster for her when she was sick. Glad we had moved on to more modern medicine my youth of the 70’s.
Speaking of my youth…when did I make the transition from Ellie Mae to Granny? One minute I’m with my critters and have long flowy hair like Ellie Mae…
and then, POOF!….The next minute I’ve become Granny Clampett with my hair pulled back making mustard poultices and canning in my big vat on the stove.
Someone please stop me before I start making lye soap out by the cement pond!