Why on earth would a person want to make his own ketchup?My wife saw Jamie Oliver make ketchup on his TV show and told me about it. I had no intention of actually making ketchup, but I downloaded the recipe from the Food Network website, just in case.
[Yes, I know, I’ve just done two other posts involving Jamie Oliver. It’s just that he’s doing tomatoes right now and they’re in high season. Besides, his cooking is simple and good.]
Coincidentally, I bought a flat of San Marzano tomatoes from Mariquita Farm. My main goal was to make oven dried tomatoes, since we had run out. That didn’t take many tomatoes. Do you know how many tomatoes are in a flat? 20 pounds. At about 10 San Marzanos per pound, that’s 200 and some tomatoes. I might as well make some ketchup.Ketchup is cheap, why bother making it? Two pounds of San Marzano tomatoes cost $2.80 when bought by the flat, way more if you buy by the pound, not to mention the other ingredients. A 15 ounce bottle of Heinz costs $2.59. You think that’s cheap? A 24 ounce bottle of 365 Organic Ketchup at Whole Food costs a buck 99.Here’s what Jamie has to say:
“Bizarrely enough for a chef, I really do take my hat off to Heinz, who have become the global brand of quality in the ketchup world. It’s such an everyday cupboard product that you’ve probably never thought to make your own. But if you’re growing tomatoes in the garden, or you catch sight of some really beautiful ones at the market in summer, just think how much of a treat it would be to offer your family or guests homemade ketchup. It’s great fun to make. And you can make different colors of ketchup using just yellow, orange or green tomatoes – simply exchange [your red] tomatoes for the same amount of your chosen colored ones.”
A few years ago I was given a box of tomatoes by David Little of Little Family Farms, who is primarily known for his dry-farmed potatoes from West Marin. What to do with all those tomatoes I wondered. I decided to make ketchup!
The short version of this story is that it was WONDERFUL, spicy, deep red, the best ever…BUT it took all day to cook down to the correct consistency…literally more than 8 hours on the stove-top. And from a big box of tomatoes we ended up with only a few pints of the finished product. We canned it in those tiny jars that are so hard to find.
Someday, if ever given another box of tomatoes, will gladly make more!