For the past ten years, I have only been eating ketchup that is made from home. It is so delicious that I can never go back to the kind you can buy in the store. Until I learned the raw food diet, I had never known about making ketchup myself. But it makes sense, as its ingredients can be so simple. I don’t use ketchup so often for my dishes, but with a veggie burger, for instance, it is a golden addition to the flavor. Even baked falafel can sometimes be enjoyed with ketchup, which is quite different from the Mediterranean style, but it is very delicious!
Seasonal ingredients for fresh homemade ketchup
Homemade ketchup tastes so much fresher and flavorful, and you can add the ingredients that you like, or whatever is available seasonally. The regular ingredients for my ketchup are sun dried tomatoes, red onion, and garlic. In the summertime, I use cherry tomatoes in addition to the sun dried tomatoes. It adds a juiciness and freshness. Also, fresh basil is a wonderful addition in this season. In other seasons when the cherry tomatoes are not available at the farmers market, I add some tomato paste which can make it richer in flavor, or I just make it with the sun dried tomatoes. And I use dried herbs such as oregano and/or basil.
Sweetener is key for the flavor
To transform the acidic flavor of tomatoes into a mild and rich flavor of ketchup, adding some sweetener is definitely key. And here is one of the biggest advantages of making homemade ketchup, because most of the store-bought ketchups are loaded with cane sugar. Adding sugar into the food seems to be the classic strategy for the processed food production to enhance the flavor. But the quantity really doesn’t have to be that much at all to round up and deepen the flavor. And it doesn’t have to be white cane sugar! I use either maple syrup or fresh dates. As long as I have dates in my cupboard, I prefer using dates since it then includes the fiber and complete nutrition of the fruit. Also, I use apple cider vinegar for adding some vinegar to the ketchup, which also has some sweetness. The vinegar helps to preserve the ketchup as well as add another layer to the flavor.
For my recipe, I use only one medium size date for 3/4 cup of ketchup. It is truly not much sweetener when you think of eating 1 tbsp of ketchup, and this addition does the trick so beautifully!
Packing and storing
Here, as you see in the picture, I usually store the ketchup in my tomato paste’s jar. I like reusing the glass jar that I get from the store. The amount of ketchup I make fits perfectly in this jar, and it is also originally meant for tomato! So, it’s perfect. I have always stored my ketchup in the fridge for many weeks and had never any problem with it. But since I don’t use it so often, I am storing the jar in the freezer nowadays. I just take it out some hours prior to use. Despite its less frequent appearance in our meal, it is one of the things I always make sure to have available, and its presence brightens up my feelings with joy.
Homemade Tomato Ketchup
- 7 sun dried tomatoes
- water (just enough so that it can cover the dried tomatoes)
- 6 cherry tomatoes (or 1 tbsp tomato paste and 1 tbsp water)
- 1/4 small red onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 medium date (or 1 1/2 tsp maple syrup)
- 1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 tsp (or more) salt
- herbs (dried or fresh basil and/or oregano)
- Step 1 Have the sun dried tomatoes ready to be used while soaking them for hours to soften. The water should barely cover the tomatoes.
- Step 2 Cut the red onion into small dices and mince the garlic.
- Step 3 Put all the ingredients into the blender and blend well.
- Step 4 Put the ketchup into a jar and store in the fridge or freezer.