Championship Tomato Ketchup

Championship Tomato Ketchup

I can still hear my father’s voice telling me that if I was ever going to be a good cook that I would have to learn a repertoire of recipes without the use of a cook book for reference. During my first 10 years learning to cook I refrained from using a book and found that hands on cooking with different chefs was the fastest way to learn popular recipes and pick up the appropriate tips. Very few relic chefs use a recipe to cook, but will read a cook book to polish up a favorite dish.

As I gained a good collection of recipes mentally, I became more academic in finding new ways to produce menu items that became my personal style of cooking. One of my first cook books that gave me great insight into the colonial style of preparing food was the first editions of The Boston Cooking School [1924] and the New Galt Cook Book [1840] was just fascinating reading on how the cooks of that century prepared family dinners and social affairs. The next book was my mother’s inspiration to explore new ideas; The Purity Cook Book [1950] jam packed with lots of unique retro recipes that were in fashion during the fifties. The cook book that most influenced my approach to cooking which I still use today is [Spices of The World Cook Book by McCormick [1964] which had in depth information about the proper use and care of your pantry cooking herbs and spices. Back at the turn of the 20th century the main spices were salt, pepper and sugar which cost a small fortune to obtain. Back then the most sought after ingredient that was used daily was and still is today, “Tomato Ketchup”. It definitely made all the game meats and fowl taste better. It was also a showing of culture if you served fresh ketchup at the dinner table to your guests. Soon after old HJ Heinz started producing ketchup for the masses some 25 years later, today it is still one of the most popular condiments used worldwide thanks to Mac Donald’s.

One thing that tells me the most about how good a chef and a restaurant are is by the type of condiments they serve with the chosen menu item. I remember dinning at an Irish pub in Gastown, The Heather. The food was very home comfort style and all the condiments from ketchup, mustard, relish and chili sauce was all in house hand made. The pleasing combination of condiments turned the burger into a very flavorous sandwich and the ketchup made the hand cut fries most appetizing. My mom made this ketchup for us kids to put on everything from hotdogs to pasta and grilled cheese. She would make this ketchup recipe whenever we had a surplus of beefsteak or field tomatoes during the summers end to can these over ripe tomatoes. She got the 0st. blue ribbon for this prize recipe back in 1950 at The Rockton’s World Fair which after 170 years is the oldest fair in Canada of its kind still running on Thanksgiving weekend in Rockton Ontario. Give this recipe a try and see how such a simple homemade condiment will take your morning eggs to a whole new level.

You will need:

  • 6 Cups fresh tasty ripe tomatoes chopped
  • 1 small Spanish onion chopped.
  • 1 clove garlic grated
  • 6 oz. cold water
  • 1/3 cup demerara or brown sugar adjusted to your liking
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ cup fresh apple cider vinegar add half and taste first
  • ¼ tsp of fresh grated cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp of fresh ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp of fresh ground fennel
  • ¼ tsp of fresh ground coriander
  • 1 tsp of fresh ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp of fresh ground white pepper

On a large lipped baking sheet place the chopped tomatoes, onion, garlic, dash of salt and pepper along with the water. Spread out evenly on the pan and place in a preheated 375 degree oven about an hour. Bake until the onions are mushy soft and the moisture has been reduced to a trickle, stir a few times and then remove and place into a stainless bowl and let cool.

In a food processor or blender add the tomato mixture and puree.

Place into a sauce pan and add the spices, sugar and vinegar and blend well.

Continue to simmer and reduce the ingredients until a wet consistency of the mixture like ketchup, is slightly lose and chill before serving. The mixture should be stored in a glass jar in the refrigerator or for longer storage follow a recipe for canning using sterilized canning jars.