Country Western Ketchup

It’s time for some more terrific tomatoes! For this adventure in deliciousness we turned to an OSU Extension Service publication. This is a delicious ketchup with a little more spice than a traditional ketchup, not hot spice, just really flavourful – I personally think it’s freaking fantastic.

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Ingredients:

24 pounds of tomatoes
5 chili peppers, sliced and seeded
1/4 cup salt
2 2/3 cups vinegar (5%)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
4 tsp paprika
4 tsp whole allspice
4 tsp dry mustard
1 Tbsp whole peppercorn
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 Tbsp bay leaves

In my opinion, you don’t really want to cut this recipe down at all because cooking down to the consistency of ketchup only leaves you with 6-7 pints. Halving it would only get you 3 or so which would just be sad!

Here is what we did:

Our tomatoes aren’t coming in quite fast enough to have 24 ripe pounds at a time, so I have been chucking them in the freezer. This is the perfect thing to do if you don’t have enough yet, or don’t have time to deal with them. They make great sauce or ketchup still after freezing and it eliminates the need to blanch!

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Thaw the frozen tomatoes either with patience, your mind power or by running them under hot water, and the skin comes off super nicely! If you didn’t use frozen like me just blanch and peel and put┬áthem in your biggest pot.

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Keep yourself entertained while peeling like we do. Weee it’s a tomato super hero! I will post it to Instagram! Ahem, I mean bring the tomatoes to a boil over medium high heat.

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Add in all the tomatoes and the chili peppers, mash them up a bit, and simmer uncovered for at least 20 minutes (note: I know what you are thinking, no this picture is not all the tomatoes).

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Meanwhile prepare the spice bag. Put the spice bag into a pot with the vinegar and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat once it is boiling and let it steep in the vinegar at least 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the spice bag and pour the spiced vinegar in with the tomatoes. Cook at least another 30 minutes.

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Strain time! Turn off the heat and let the ketchup cool a bit. Then put the mixture through a food mill or strainer. I ran it through the Victorio a couple times.

ASIDE: Make sure you carefully assemble your strainer if this is the type you are using and have the screw tightly attached because at this point we had a TOMATO EXPLOSION! The screw must not have been in tight and the metal grate piece popped off while we were cranking and we lost a few cups of juice to the floor. It was very sad but at least we lost only what was in the hopper and strainer part at the time.

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Return the mixture to the pot, add the sugar and salt and boil gently until it reaches ketchup consistency. It takes a long time but it is worth the wait! Stir occasionally.

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This is what ketchup consistency looks like. Sorry for the terrible quality pictures, too much steam! But anyways if it mounds nicely on your spoon and looks generally ketchup like it is ready to be canned. Prepare the canner, jars and lids a little bit before it is ready.

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Ladle the hot ketchup into hot jars leaving 1/8 to 1/4 inch head space. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and tighten the bands finger tip tight.

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Process pints or half pints for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath canner. Cover by at least 1-2 inches of water and start timing when the water is at a full rolling boil.

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After 15 minutes remove the canner lid, wait 5 minutes and remove the jars. Let cool 12-24 hours then remove bands, label and store. Mmmm countrified deliciousness.

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Corn!

Some people have asked me, “Why would you bother canning corn, it’s 97 cents at the store?” To those people I say … Uh, shut up. But seriously, anything home canned is worth it. I know my canned corn was freshly picked, immediately canned and contains only corn and water. Plus corn was on sale at the farm stand for 20 cents so I got the 20 ears for $4. And I’m a canning addict. I also like that you can put it in any size jar you like (well within reason, not a half gallon). I just eat a bit at a time, so can in half pints, but if you eat a ton of corn it could be nice to open up a whole quart at a time.

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Canning corn is as easy as pie. Step one: husk the corn on the porch.

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Next wash the corn and cut the it off the cob – now I was going to use this nice little $2.99 tool pictured here, but it didn’t work that well and I also saw after buying it that it has that weird cancer warning on it that only California labels things with. Yaaaaaaa. So I just used a knife. Try to cut not quite to the cob, and remove any bad spots.

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Blanch the corn for 3 minutes. Although when I reread my presto manual I think maybe I was supposed to blanch it on the cob? Meh, I dunno, makes no difference.

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Meanwhile boil a pot of water to use to pour over the corn. Wash the jars and heat them (just leave them full of hot water after you wash them). Then fill the jars with corn (spoon it out with a slotted spoon). Add boiling water to cover the corn leaving an inch head space.

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Debubble, wipe the rims, apply the warm lids and tighten the bands finger tip tight. Add 3 quarts of hot water to the canner and place the corn jars in the canner.

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Once all the jars are ready, close the lid and turn the heat on high. Vent the canner for 10 minutes before applying the weight. After the 10 minute vent period, place the weight on the vent. For a dial gauge canner like mine, bring to 11 pounds of pressure at sea level. Once at pressure process for 55 minutes for half pints or pints and 85 minutes for quarts. After the time is up, turn off the heat and allow the pressure to drop. After the pressure has dropped (and the safety do-hickey drops), remove the weight and wait 10 more minutes. Then remove the lid and the corns. ping ping ping ping!

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12-24 hours later check the seals, remove the bands and wipe down the jars. Label and store. Nom nom nom!

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