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Canning ketchup at home is easy, cost-effective, more nutritious and much more flavorful: So why not try it?

Updated on March 26, 2016

On a mission to make a better, more nutritious tasting ketchup compared to the commercial brands made with high fructose corn syrup and chemical preservatives, was a true testament of trail and error. Oh, I know that there are many of you who can not live without your bottle of Heinz and that the mere mention of my desire to make my own ketchup is considered sacrilege, but I wanted something bolder. Something with depth of flavor and much less sugar. I have made many batches of ketchup since 1996 when I first began this mission. I've tweaked the ingredients and the measurement countless times trying to achieve the best flavors and a favorable consistency. The list of ingredients is longer than many of the other homemade ketchup recipes I've seen, but each ingredient packs a wallop of flavor.

Toasting whole spices in a dry pan releases their essential oils and adds more fragrance to your finished dish. Place whole spices in a sauté pan, preferably non-stick, over medium-high heat and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
Toasting whole spices in a dry pan releases their essential oils and adds more fragrance to your finished dish. Place whole spices in a sauté pan, preferably non-stick, over medium-high heat and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 5 minutes.

There are a few ingredients that first must be prepared before cooking your ketchup. Once those ingredients are ready, you simply add the remainder of the items into a large pot and simmer. It's that easy.

This recipe makes a lot of ketchup, but it will keep for months in the refrigerator. I like to can my ketchup that way I don't use up valuable fridge space. [Let's face it, If you're the sort to put ketchup on everything including toast, you're gonna need to make a larger batch of ketchup. Before you double up on the recipe, however, be sure that you've got room to store it. One recipe yields approximately 9 quarts]

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. cloves

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. cumin seed

1 tsp. whole coriander seed

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. allspice

2 Tbs. olive oil

2 large Vadalia onions, sliced about 2/3 inch thick

2 large cloves garlic, peeled

1/4 cup capers with brine

2- 6 oz cans tomato paste

3- 28 oz cans whole peeled tomatoes with juice

2 cups dark raisons

2 cups apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup dark molasses

2 Tbsp. Sriracha

1/2 cup dark brown sugar


Lightly oil the onion slices and grill until blackened, about 15 minutes per side. When done, add charred onions to pot.
In a small, dry heavy-based skillet, toast the spices over medium heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add spices to pot.
Using the same heavy-based skillet, add the olive oil and sauté the garlic until fragrant. (garlic, once burned has a bitter flavor-be careful to not have the heat too high). Scrap garlic and oil into pot.


Add all the remaining ingredients into your pot and stir using a wooden spoon. Simmer the ketchup over low heat for approximately 2.5 hours, stirring occasionally to keep the ketchup from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Your ketchup will reduce and thicken.


Use a stick blender to puree the ketchup until smooth, but do be careful with the hot liquid.


If the pureed ketchup is not as thick as you'd like it, continue cooking until it's reduced further.

Fresh garden tomato vs. canned tomatoes?
Fresh garden tomato vs. canned tomatoes?

As I mentioned, I have tweaked this recipe too many times to count. In the beginning, I wanted to use garden tomatoes. I thought that using fresh tomatoes would make a superior tasting ketchup. I was wrong. Fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes didn't add nearly as much of a rich tomato flavor as the canned variety. Garden tomatoes also created a much thinner ketchup which required more time to cook. Another good reason to use the canned tomatoes is that they are available year round. By choosing a good quality canned tomato, my ketchup remains consistent each time I make it.

My sister-in-law bought this book for me years ago. It is a wonderful book for beginners or for the experienced.

I generally can a few small (16 oz) jars of ketchup, then fill several quart jars for storage in the refrigerator. I prefer the wide mouth jars and I like using the reusable white lids. Both items are a Ball product. If I still have more ketchup, I put it into a container and freeze. It freezer well and lasts for months.

Although canning supplies can be ordered online, most grocers and feed stores sell everything you'll need.
Although canning supplies can be ordered online, most grocers and feed stores sell everything you'll need. | Source

This past summer we were invited to a family gathering. We though it would be fun to bring the host and hostess a little something. I love these burger baskets and you can find them in many different stores. We lined a stack of white baskets with parchment paper tucked a small jar of homemade ketchup in the basket along with a pound of quality sirloin from the butcher and rolls from our local bakery. It was a simple gift that received a big smile.....and an invit back for burgers!

I've seen these great little baskets at Target, Building 19 and Ocean State Job Lots, as well.
I've seen these great little baskets at Target, Building 19 and Ocean State Job Lots, as well. | Source

Please Leave Any Comments Or Questions Here. Thank You. (...and let me know if your ketchup was a success)

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    • alifeofdesign profile imageAUTHOR

      Graham Gifford 

      6 years ago from New Hamphire

      I love giving food gifts-the possibilities are endless. Thanks so much for stopping by!

    • alifeofdesign profile imageAUTHOR

      Graham Gifford 

      6 years ago from New Hamphire

      I think that you could certainly use reduced-sodium canned tomatoes. You could,also, eliminate the use of the capers and brine. There are so many other flavors in this recipe that I do not think that you would miss them. Thanks so much for reading!

    • profile image

      Jill Jones Grotnes 

      6 years ago

      Sounds so good! Food for gifts is definitely appreciated :)

    • profile image

      Hilary Douglass 

      6 years ago

      I love that your recipe has no added salt! Would this be just as flavorful with reduced-sodium canned tomatoes and/or could you leave the capers and brine out? Gotta watch that BP! thanks!

    • alifeofdesign profile imageAUTHOR

      Graham Gifford 

      6 years ago from New Hamphire

      This recipe is very easy. It has a great color and wonderful flavor. Thanks for reading!

    • profile image

      Jennifer Rousseau 

      6 years ago

      I have always wanted to make my own ketchup but have shied away from it. This recipe sounds fabulous and pretty straight forward. I appreciate the clear step by step instructions that will make it easy for me to include my kids, who are BIG ketchup fans, in the cooking process.

      Thanks Graham

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