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September 1998 Issue
Sauces Supreme
by Philip R. Gantt
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Tomato Catsup

Here is an excellent recipe for homemade tomato catsup which cannot compare with the store bought varieties. Making this catsup is an excellent way for the home gardener to use the surplus of fresh homegrown tomatoes when in season. After trying this recipe, you may even want to buy a case or two of tomatoes in season, when the prices are low, to make and can your own catsup for use during the rest of the year. This catsup makes an excellent base for a cocktail or barbecue sauce. Warning.... the store bought tomato catsup will seem tasteless after trying this homemade variety!
  • 1½ tsp. whole cloves
  • 1½ tsp. stick cinnamon, broken
  • 1 tsp. celery seed
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 8 lbs. quartered tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp. salt
Combine the cloves, cinnamon, celery seed and vinegar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and let this tea stand until needed.

In a large pot, combine the tomatoes, onion and pepper. Bring to a simmer for 15 minutes. Drain the liquid and sieve, discarding the peelings and seeds. Return the sauce to the pot, add the sugar and salt and bring the mixture to a boil. When the mixture begins to boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cook for approximately 2 hours or until the volume has reduced by half. Now strain the tea into the tomato sauce, discarding the cloves, cinnamon and celery seed. Stir and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.

This catsup may be canned using a boiling water bath for 5 minutes. In a pinch, you can even use canned tomato sauce as a basis for this catsup instead of the fresh tomatoes. Merely heat the tomato sauce and flavorings with the vinegar tea. If desired, add a little tomato paste to the catsup for thickening prior to canning.

  • Yields: 12 servings
  • Preparation Time: 3 hours
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