quick ketchup

As a child, my mother taught me to religiously read the list of ingredients on all packaged foods. I grew up in a no junk-food/soda pop/hydrogenated oil house. This might be responsible for both my weak spot for potato chips (home-made or organic, ideally) and my fear of ingredients that I cannot pronounce and labels such as "natural" flavours.

I first started cooking because I love to eat. I then became interested in nutrition and recently I have become fascinated by foods that I assumed that I had to buy because they could not easily be made at home. A friend once told me of her plan to make bagels with her family over the holidays. I thought that she was attempting the impossible. Bagels? Made at home? When there are so many good Montreal style bagels in the city? After overcoming my disbelief, she inspired me to make my own bagels at home. Although the first attempt was not so aesthetically pleasing, my bagels tasted like bagels and, even better, like Montreal bagels. They were so much better than the typical bun-with-a-hole found in German supermarkets. Even a small kitchen in Berlin could smell like Fairmount Bagels (minus the wood burning oven, of course).

As pleasing to the eye the classic Heinz ketchup bottle may be, it is much more satisfying (and surprisingly quick) to make ketchup at home. If you have a bucket full of fresh tomatoes, boil them down to make tomato paste. If not, organic tomato paste does the trick perfectly. What you add in terms of seasoning will depend on how well stocked your spice rack is. Even just a few yield a delicious made-at-home ketchup taste. I have left out measurements as I think making ketchup is all about adding, stirring, and tasting.

Quick Ketchup


a jar of organic tomato paste, or home-made if you please
brown sugar
apple cider vinegar
sea salt
black pepper
cayenne pepper
mustard seeds
all spice
garlic powder
fresh lemon juice
water, if needed for the right consistency

Pour tomato paste into a saucepan, add all of the spices and stir well. Bring to a simmer and stir regularly. Add desired amounts of brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, honey, the juice of a lemon and salt. Adjust seasoning to your preferred taste. Continue to simmer until the sugar is dissolved. If too thick, add a bit of water. If too thin, allow to simmer longer. The flavour will improve upon standing. Ketchup can be stored in the fridge for up to three weeks.


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