Ketchup - from Fresh Garden Tomatoes

Total Time
Prep 1 hr
Cook 5 hrs

We all know Ketchup or Catsup. But this is your kicked up, homemade, garden-grown version. An absolutely delicious way to use up your extra garden tomatoes.


  1. Depending on size, halve or quarter your tomatoes. Sauce tomatoes (Roma) are ideal, but any will work. I used a combo of Roma, Beefsteak, and (mostly) Cherry.
  2. OPTIONAL: Smoke a tray's worth of the tomatoes. I cold smoked mine for a few hours over hickory. It gave it a subtle but delicious smoke flavor. Again, this is totally optional.
  3. Add the tomatoes, salt, garlic, sugar, and onions to a pot and boil for 30 minutes.
  4. Cool the mixture until you can send it safely through your food mill. I used the mixer attachment and it worked beautifully. If you don't have a food mill, you can peel and squeeze the tomatoes using the boiling water / ice bath method.
  5. Return the now de-seeded and de-skinned tomato sauce to the pot and back onto the stove.
  6. Continue to boil the sauce to reduce and thicken.
  7. Meanwhile, in another non-reactive pot; heat the apple cider vinegar with all the remaining spice additions. Heat until the spices have infused into the vinegar.
  8. Using a fine strainer to leave behind the whole spices, pour the vinegar into the tomato mix. If you don't have a strainer or tea-ball, you can wrap the spices in a cheesecloth satchel.
  9. Continue to reduce until you reach the desired ketchup texture. This can take 4-6 hours. I've heard of people using a crock pot for this process.
  10. Follow standard canning procedure if you want a shelf-stable product. Otherwise, cool and keep in the fridge.
Most Helpful

I was very surprised how this recipe turned out! It doesn't taste like heinze... IT'S BETTER! For smoking the tomatoes, I sauteed them over a wood fire in a 12" skillet in batches for an hour. It added a slight smoky flavor which was perfect. Not too smoky, but subtly detectable. I doubled the onion and garlic, and then followed the recipe. It's a keeper if you have too many tomatoes from your garden. I used brown sugar. Much better alternative than GMO high fructose corn syrup that is in almost EVERYTHING today. I am very pleased. Thanks for posting this recipe.

Chef Smig52 September 13, 2014