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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Tomato and Fruit Ketchup

When I came up with "Random Food Fridays," it was because I thought I wouldn't have any time to can. Well, I really don't. But the siren song of the steaming water bath called me into the kitchen even though it would have been more responsible to do other activities. Produce available at last weekend's farmer's market convinced me it was time to make this ketchup. My Grandma Betty made it at least once. I remember eating it at her house, and I hand-copied the recipe. Sadly, at this time, Grandma does not remember this. Many of the recipes I get from her contain a lot of sugar and often contain convenience foods. The 50's were modern times after all! Her recipe was much more like traditional ketchup with little bits of canned pear and peach in it. I wanted to duplicate her flavors but avoid using canned produce. I used a combination of her recipe and one I found online. I used Grandma's spices and proportion of vinegar and sugar, and used fresh produce proportions from the other recipe. I'm pretty pleased with the outcome. I think I might cook it a bit longer next time.

This was my first experience with canning tomatoes. I hope I can put up something that will resemble those "ready-cut" tomatoes later this summer. I've been trying to avoid using acidic commercially canned foods. I used the nifty basket from my Ball small-batch canning kit to dunk the tomatoes into boiling water to loosen the skins. I then plunged them into ice water. I used Roma tomatoes. They were easy to work with and start out with less liquid than other varieties. I simply quartered them, then pulled out the seeds and slid off the skin.

For the fruit, I used beautiful Gala apples, Asian pears and some rosy, ripe peaches. I didn't catch the variety of the peaches. Three each of these fruits came out to about 9 cups, peeled, cored and chopped.

Here is one application: Meatloaf. This is turkey meatloaf with some of this ketchup on the inside and on top. I added some Worcestershire sauce to the ketchup used on top. It is a good addition and I may add it to the main recipe in the future. Along side the meatloaf,
we had roasted potatoes and shallots and a salad of cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden. Yum!

Tomato and Fruit Ketchup
6 cups of prepared tomatoes - skinned, cored and chopped
2 cups chopped red bell pepper
3 each large apples, pears and peaches, peeled, cored and chopped (about 9 cups)
3 cups red onion, peeled and chopped
3 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground cloves
t tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
1 tbsp. pickling spice wrapped in a cheesecloth

Wash and prepare 5 pint jars and lids. Prepare boiling water bath.

Combine all ingredients and a large stock pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until desired thickness is reached - two to three hours. (I think I would like to try this in the crock pot next time. I bet all day on low would do the trick.) Partially puree mixture by using a stick blender, or puree in batches in a food processor or blender. Leave a few chunks. Carefully ladle into jars, wipe rims and seal. Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

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