This is my stepfather’s family recipe for ketchup and making it is an all day affair but it really is good and worth the effort.
8 lb. ripe tomatoes, washed, cored and cut in quarters
2 large onions, peeled and chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. whole cloves
2 (3 inch) sticks cinnamon, broken in pieces
1 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. whole allspice
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. dried mustard
1 cup vinegar
2 tsp. salt
1) Put tomatoes, onions and peppers in large nonreactive kettle. Cook uncovered on high heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium and cook 30 minutes more. Press mixture through strainer or food mill back into big pot.
2) Tie cloves, cinnamon, celery seed and allspice in cheesecloth. Add to tomato mixture, along with sugar, cayenne pepper and mustard. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until mixture is reduced by half its volume – 2 to 3 hours.
3) Add vinegar and salt. Continue cooking over low heat until consistency and taste suit you – about 2 hours. Remove spice bag and spoon the ketchup into hot clean jar, leaving a 1/2 inch headspace. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Store in a cool dark place. Once opened, store in refrigerator.
Note: for a less spicy ketchup, remove the spice bag at the end of step 2. Ketchup will be brownish in color from the spices but that’s OK.