Thursday, August 23, 2007

Making Catsup

This was my first attempt at making catsup. I think Dan wished he had worked overtime tonight - after about the 12th time asking him to taste it after I had adjusted something he asked if he was going to be tasting catsup all night! Poor baby! I tried using less sugar, but he and Andy (who eat most of the catsup in this house) just weren't happy with it until I had doubled the amount of sugar I had originally started with.

I started cutting up tomatoes, tomallitos, onions & bell peppers at 8:30 this morning. I used a variety of colors of tomatoes - from green to yellow to red to orange - so the catsup did not turn out a deep red.

By 9:30 I had them all cut up (I did not seed or skin them since I was going to be using the food strainer attachment on my kitchen aid again) and started them cooking.

At 10:00, everything was looking nice and soft so it was time to put them through the strainer.

Here's Andy (yes, he's still in his pajamas) helping with the food strainer. This part only took 15 minutes - with my old manual one it probably would have been an hour!

Here's the liquid after it went through the food strainer. You want to cook it down - but you don't want to boil it down too fast or it will burn on the bottom.

At 1:00, I put vinegar in another pan and added some spices in a bag - I simmered this about 30 minutes - then I added it to the tomatoes (without the spice bag).

By 5:00 it is reduced by a little more than half and I start my tasting and adjusting of ingredients as I continue to cook it down.

By 7:30 it is reduced down and is thick enough that it stays on top of this slotted spoon. Time to start sterilizing jars.

The finished product - 5 pints of catsup.

Here are the ingredients and amounts that I ended up with:
Chop and combine in stock pot:
13 lbs tomatoes
1 lb onions
4.5 oz bell peppers
Cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Put through food strainer. Return liquid to stock pot and cook down until about half of the original volume.
Combine in sauce pan:
4 ½ cups vinegar (I used a combination of white and apple cider vinegar)
2 tsp cinnamon
4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground allspice
2 cups sugar
Combine in cloth bag or tea strainer and then throw in with vinegar mixture:
2 tsp whole cloves
3 tsp celery seed
2 tsp mustard seed
3 cloves garlic, minced
Simmer for 30 minutes. Discard spices in bag and then add vinegar mixture to tomato mixture. Continue to cook down until desired consistency. When consistency is getting close, taste and adjust seasonings.
Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes
Yield: 5 pints

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