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July 2005 Issue
by J. Sinclair
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It's what makes burgers and fries the stuff of legends and has saved many a parent the dread of throwing away food. It's ketchup and it is a condiment that's found in many homes throughout the country.

While it's best known for elevating a burger and fries to an American tradition, ketchup has also been known to show up on everything from eggs to cottage cheese (Richard Nixon is rumored to like his smothered in it). While we recognize ketchup (or catsup ... both spellings are acceptable) as that tomato based sauce that tops our hot dogs, in the 18th and 19th centuries, the term was used to refer to any number of sauces that had vinegar as one of its ingredients.

Of course, in America, ketchup often means Heinz ... and with good reason. Over 50% of the ketchup sold in the United States is made by Heinz ... and they've recently introduced versions in green and purple! (Just in case you're wondering, the colored varieties are still basic tomato ketchup ... no cucumber or anchovy varieties like the 18th and 19th centuries!)

While I could easily get out of offering you recipes this month by recommending that you use ketchup to top your favorite burger or as a dip for those fries, I'm thinking that you would like a recipe for homemade ketchup and another treat that takes advantage of it as an ingredient: Grilled Sweet and Sour Shrimp. Enjoy!


Homemade Ketchup

  • 4 cups tomatoes -- chopped
  • 3/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups onion -- chopped
  • 1 green pepper -- chopped
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup malt vinegar
Combine the tomatoes, tomato paste, onion and green pepper in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to low and simmer the mixture for about 30 minutes.

Either blend the mixture in the saucepan using a stick blender or carefully transfer it to a blender to blend. If using a blender, return the mixture to the saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients to the saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring often, for 10 minutes.

Pour the mixture into hot sterilized 1-pint jars and seal. Process the jars for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.

  • Yields: About 3 pints
  • Preparation Time: 90 minutes

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