Sweet tomato ketchup

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Remember this? after two long weeks in LIC i got back to my little plot of heaven up in the berkshires only to find an onslaught of these:

the way i saw it, there were only two choices; me or them.it was brutal.


sweet tomato ketchup (R.I.P)

4 pounds very ripe tomatoes, peeled & chopped
1 cup sugar (i use raw)
1 & 1/2 cups white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 head garlic, peeled & chopped fine
2 & 1/2 tablespoons ginger, peeled & chopped fine
1-2 dried red chiles, pounded in mortar & pestle (or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon flakes)
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
juice & zest of one lime
1/2 pint or smaller mason jars

yield: approximately 2 pints

1. if you have ever tried to peel a raw tomato before then you know what i’m saying when i tell you to boil a pot of water, and drop them in whole. take them out after 30-60 seconds, just until their skins split and drop them in a waiting bowl of ice water. peel. if this is the first you’ve ever heard of this, you’re welcome.

2. while you’re waiting for the water to boil, zest and juice the lime. chop the garlic and ginger, if you have a wet/dry spice grinder, or a small food processor with which to make a smooth garlic-ginger paste use it here.

3. prepare the whole dried chiles in the mortar & pestle if using. i like to bruise whole spices to bring out the flavor; toss in the cumin, fennel and fenugreek seeds and pound lightly once or twice, do not crush.

4. add the tomatoes, garlic-ginger paste, spices, vinegar, salt, and lime zest & juice to a non-reactive pot. add the sugar and heat on low until the sugar dissolves. once the sugar has dissolved turn the heat up and bring to the boil.

5. once the boiling point is reached, bring the heat down and simmer for approximately 1 and 1/2 hours, until desired ketchup-y thickness.

6. while the ketchup is simmering prepare jars & lids for hot water bath processing. process full jars for 10 minutes.

this ketchup is delicious and versatile. it’s a sweet ketchup but not cloyingly so. the spices ground the rich tomato flavor but don’t overpower. it’s lovely with potatoes all-ways; french fried, pan fried, or oven baked. try it on a fried egg or grilled cheese sandwich – or in any other way you enjoy your ketchup!

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