Gettin’ Down with Ketchup

Ketchup is amazing! It adds a nice zip to foods, it’s full of lycopene and is an excellent (and sneaky!) way to get an additional vegetable source into kids who may be resistant. Unfortunately, ketchup is also sneaky in the fact that the commercial brands contain high amounts of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and sodium. There are varieties that forgo the HFCS, or lower the sodium, however they are definitely more expensive. So, for a first shot at clearing out some of the excesses in the Scratch Living pantry and attempting to save some money as well, we are going to try and make ketchup from scratch.

For the first go, we went for the most simplistic recipe we could find, which can be found here:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Ketchup-Catsup-Recipe/

Note that this recipe is NOT our creation: all credit goes to the author of the recipe, Scoochmaroo; and Instructables, which is an awesome website in general. The only alterations we made were to use strictly agave syrup instead of half-molasses.

Anyway, Here is the finished creation… served with chicken burgers and tater tots, because what is the true measure of ketchup if not the way in which it enhances other foods.

You can see how dark it is compared to the supermarket variety
You can see how dark it is compared to the supermarket variety!

Personally, we were very pleased with the results. A caveat, however: this doesn’t taste exactly the same as store-bought ketchup. The consistency is slightly more in line with tomato sauce, the taste doesn’t linger in the same way as store-bought and the lesser amounts of salt and HFCS take a little getting used to. The upsides are that it tastes more like tomato, the slightly different consistency is delightful and it obviously allows for control of sweeteners and salt while costing less than a dollar to make a medium jar-full. The next step is using this for a base for thousand-island dressing and barbecue sauce, although I may wait until summer when we can use garden-fresh tomatoes for the base instead of tomato paste.

Next up is a slightly sacrilegious recipe for pierogies! Stay Tuned 🙂

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