A while ago, we tasted 32 different tomato ketchups to find “the best” (here are the ketchup reviews).
Many of these were small, artisanal brands and more pricey than supermarket ketchup. But one of the top winners, Muir Glen, is widely available (at most stores that sell natural and organic foods; we get it at Whole Foods), one of the least expensive and is both organic and kosher.
But how about making ketchup at home, just as you make salad dressing. It’s just as easy. There are five basic ingredients: tomato paste and purée, vinegar, sweetener, and seasonings.
It’s fun to make ketchup. You can cut back on salt, avoid high fructose corn syrup and reduce the sweeteners in general, while adding favorite spices.
> The history of ketchup.
The ingredients are pretty much the same for Hunt’s Ketchup: tomato concentrate, high fructose corn syrup, distilled vinegar, corn syrup, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and natural flavors.
Del Monte Ketchup uses regular con syrup instead of HFCS. Otherwise, the list looks familiar: tomato concentrate, corn syrup, distilled vinegar, salt, natural flavorings, onion powder, spice, and garlic powder.
These ketchups tend to deliver sweetness first, then tomato flavor, and not much else. You can greatly improve the flavor of homemade ketchup by using:
HOMEMADE KETCHUP RECIPE
1. PURÉE tomatoes and liquid until smooth.
2. COOK onion in olive oil over moderate heat, stirring until softened (about 8 minutes). Add puréed tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, vinegar, salt, and other seasonings.
3. SIMMER, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until very thick, about 1 hour. Stir more frequently toward the end of cooking to prevent scorching.
4. PURÉE ketchup in 2 batches until smooth. Chill, covered, for at least 2 hours for flavors to develop. Adjust seasonings.
Continue to work on the recipe, switching the proportions of vinegar, sweetener, and spices, until you define your signature recipe. Then, don’t give it out: It’s your secret.
*If you are using a different sweetener, the proportions may be different. Add a smaller amount and adjust to taste.