Did you get any homegrown, ripe picked tomatoes this season? We’ve been busy picking tomatoes from our garden this past week. I’m so glad I took the time to convert most of our gorgeous tomatoes into homemade enchilada sauce, tomato puree, and this absolutely healthy, sugar-free fresh tomato ketchup. After this great success, I’m ready for winter recipes. Are you?
Although planting your own tomatoes is more work than buying those flavorless mutants from stores, the truly intense tomato flavors make the work very rewarding. Like my father-in-law said: “they taste like tomatoes”. Agreed!
I still remember those days when I lived in China, farmers would carry their freshly harvested tomatoes in baskets on their bicycles and go through the neighborhoods to sell them. You could smell the ripe tomatoes just walking by the baskets. Sadly, it is not the case for most store-bought tomatoes these days. Harvesting too early or breeding them into a cosmetically appealing mutant is not going to make for a flavorful tomato.
My husband, Brad, is the real hero behind our thriving and productive tomatoes plants. He planted 4 different varieties: grape, cherry, beefsteak, and better boy. The grape and cherry tomatoes ripened first. Our cherry tomatoes are juicy and have stronger flavors than the grape ones. However, the grape tomatoes have more tomato flesh and thinner skins which make them a better choice for making ketchup.
Although homemade fresh tomato ketchup tastes different than the store-bought ones, it’s absolutely delicious and healthier.
Low in carbs
Low in calories
Bold tomato flavors
After cooking the tomatoes and boiling down the juice on the stove for about an hour, you can mash some chunky pieces with a masher. There are many way to make the final ketchup. Here are my suggestions:
The first method will remove all the tomato seeds and skin. It will give your fresh tomato ketchup a deeper color. The other two methods will blend the seeds and skin with the tomato puree. You will get an orangish ketchup. Personally, I like to keep the skin because it adds more fiber to our diet. Nothing goes to waste.
I made a large batch from 4½ pounds of garden tomatoes. If you can’t finish it in a week, you can divide it into smaller containers and freeze them. It’s really convenient to be able to pull some out of the freezer to use later.
Our 4-year-old son, Leo, loves to dip all kinds of finger food in ketchup. After a taste test, he approved of this homemade healthy version. I know he is eager to dip his broccoli, zucchini squash, vegan lentil burgers, and oven roasted tofu in it.
- 9 oz diced onion, white or yellow
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cloves
- 4½ pounds ripe tomatoes, cut into big chunks
- ½ cup distilled white vinegar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon stevia
- Heat a saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add oil and wait for 5-10 seconds until the oil is hot. Add diced onion, minced garlic. Saute for 1 minute until the onion is fragrant.
- Stir in tomatoes and cover the saucepan with lid. Cook over high heat until boiling. Remove cover and reduce heat to medium low. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir occasionally to prevent the tomatoes from burning on the bottom of the pan. Cook without cover for 1 hour 20 minutes.
- Let the cooked ketchup cool slightly. If you prefer to remove the tomato seeds and skin, pour it over a fine-mesh strainer or use Victorio food strainer to get the smooth ketchup. If you prefer to keep the seeds and skin in your ketchup, pour it into a Vitamix blender and blend until smooth.
- Divide the ketchup into small containers. They can be frozen up to 3 months or longer.