Thursday, October 9, 2008
VEGAN MOFO: EASY, FRUIT-SWEETENED HOMEMADE KETCHUP!
Homemade ketchup? It's super-easy!
This is an old recipe of mine, slightly revised over about 15 years time, but it's never really been published anywhere. It's easily and quickly made from ingredients you probably have around the house. Okay, it's not made totally "from scratch", as it would be if you started with fresh tomatoes. But most of the year we don't have good fresh tomatoes, and if I can find them I just want to eat them, not make them into ketchup!
But you can tailor this recipe to your family's tastes, and to allergies that family members may have, as well. You can use supermarket ingredients, or organic ingredients. Judging by the price of organic tomato paste and organic frozen OJ (from my Web searches), this would be almost $1 cheaper per 24 oz. to make with organic ingredients than it would be to buy commercial organic ketchup, and it's nice to be in control, too! It also happens to taste great, too, and you can make it more tart, or more sweet, according to how YOU like it!
NOTE: You can turn this into your own gourmet ketchup by adding liquid smoke, chipotle chilies, curry, using gourmet vinegars,etc.
BRYANNA'S QUICK FRUIT-SWEETENED KETCHUP
Yield: about 1 quart
This recipe passed the teenage taste-test some years ago, carried out by three male members of my in-house Heinz ketchup cult of food-disguising (aka, my son and stepsons when they were teenagers), plus it has the approval of DH, who is a ketchup maniac!
1 1/4 cups water
2 small (5.5 oz.) cans tomato paste
1 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed (If you have no OJ concentrate, try using about 1/2 a cup of citrusy agave nectar, but you might need to add more vinegar after the mixture has cooked down.)
1/3 cup vinegar (any kind-- I prefer apple cider vinegar) OR lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dry basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic granules or powder
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
freshly-ground black pepper to taste, if desired
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup dark (amber) agave nectar, if you like it sweeter (add after simmering-- taste first)
In case of a citrus allergy, use apple, pear or pineapple juice concentrate instead of orange-- but you might need a tiny bit more vinegar to achieve the right tartness.
Whisk together the water, tomato paste, and orange juice concentrate in a medium bowl.
Whisk in the vinegar or lemon juice, along with the salt and seasonings (except the bay leaf). Pour the mixture into a large nonstick, cast iron, or stainless steel skillet. (The reason you use a skillet is that the wide surface makes the mixture cook down faster.)
NOTE: A plain stainless steel pan tends to have "hot spots," which makes food cook unevenly and stick and scorch. So, a layer of heat-conducting metal, such as aluminum, is often bonded to the bottom of the pan in order to conduct the heat evenly over the entire area and provide even cooking without hot spots. Or the pan can be made from two thin sheets of stainless with a middle layer of aluminum. If you use a stainless steel skillet, make sure it is made in one of the above two ways.
Add the bay leaf and bring to a boil, watching carefully, because it will spit! Immediately turn the heat down and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Stir from time to time.
Remove and discard the bay leaf. Taste the mixture and add the optional agave nectar, if you wish. Pour into clean jars or bottles. It will keep 2 months refrigerated. Otherwise, seal and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
Nutrition Facts (Nutrition Facts calculated with optional agave nectar added.)
Nutrition (per 2 tablespoons): 22.8 calories; 2% calories from fat; 0.1g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 89.4mg sodium; 153.2mg potassium; 5.7g carbohydrates; 0.5g fiber; 4.6g sugar; 5.2g net carbs; 0.6g protein; 0.4 points.