Every year, I get obsessed with one food, and I make ridiculous amounts of that one thing. 2009 was the year of sauerkraut. This year, it was ketchup. We made Mark Bittman’s red ketchup recipe several times. We canned some, and froze some.
We haven’t had a frost here yet (which is unusually late) but not much was happening anymore out in the garden so I cleaned it all up last weekend. Then I decided to try Bittman’s green ketchup recipe as a way to use up all those tiny green tomatoes. Result: DELICIOUS. Here’s how to do it — it takes a couple of hours, but much of that time is barely-attended cooking time.
6 c. chopped green tomatoes
A handful of peppers, de-seeded and chopped — sweet or hot, whatever you like. I used 6-7 banana peppers.
1 large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery or 1 leek, chopped (optional)
1-3 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
3/4 c. apple cider vinegar
2 T. pickling spice
2 T. olive oil
1/2 c. brown sugar
salt, pepper, & green or red Tabasco sauce to taste
1. Put the vinegar and pickling spice in a small saucepan and heat to boiling, then remove from heat and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Fry the onion, celery and peppers until soft, adding the garlic at the last minute and cooking for just another minute or two longer.
3. Add the tomatoes, along with a generous cup of water. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring regularly until the tomatoes start to break down and the mixture starts to get bubbly. At that point you can reduce the heat to very low and just let it simmer for a very long time, at least 1/2 hour, stirring occasionally. If it seems like it’s getting dry, go ahead and add a bit more water as needed.
4. Strain the pickling spices out of the now-cool vinegar and add the vinegar to the tomatoes. Stir in the sugar. Use an immersion blender to break up the few remaining chunks. Taste. Adjust seasoning. Cook another half hour or until desired ketchup consistency is reached. I’m impatient, so our ketchup is a little on the thin side compared to store-bought, but the kids have not complained at all.
*Recipe variation: Bittman’s recipe actually calls for 4 c. chopped green tomatoes and 2 c. chopped tart apples. This also sounds very yummy. I had 6 c. of green tomatoes to use up, so I decided to be lazy and skip the apples.