This week the community of Leamington learned that their largest employer and largest purchaser of local tomatoes, Heinz, was pulling out of the Leamington operation. I feel for all of the people who made their livelihoods at Heinz in Leamington and I hope that there are new and fulfilling opportunities coming their way. This will be a massive blow to the local community and there have been widespread talk of the boycott of Heinz products. This boycott is great, and I concur, seriously fuck Heinz. However we are all left with a quandary, who’s ketchup will we be using from here on out? How about we all take a little time, imagination and some local tomatoes and make a great homemade ketchup.
This recipe should make about 4 cups of ketchup which should last a normal person a few months and a teenager three days.
30 oz of chopped tomatoes (purchased locally, fresh or canned)*
5 oz of Tomato paste
1 large spanish Onion (Chopped)
1 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
30 ml Fish Sauce**
50 ml Sriracha Sauce***
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp all spice
2 Bay Leaves
1 tbs garlic powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a large sauce pan at medium heat add your oil and onions you want to get some really nice browning on the onions it will deepen the flavour of the ketchup and release the natural sugars of the onion. A little char during this process isn’t a bad thing. Then add your vinegar, fish sauce, sriracha, sugar, nutmeg, all spice, bay and garlic powder. Then add your tomatoes stirring the contents until everything is incorporated. Then add your tomato paste, this should immediately start thickening the sauce. Keeping the heat at medium, allowing the sauce to reduce by half. Then take the sauce off the heat and allow it to cool. As I have stated many times in the blog, using an immersion blender on hot liquids is a fantastic way to seriously burn yourself. Once the sauce is cooled you can begin to blend it into a ketchup-like consistency, keeping in mind that angling the blender a little bit above the surface of the sauce will help inject air into the ketchup and thus thicken it. You can add salt, pepper, and sugar to get the flavour where you want it. I like a good mixture of sweet, salty, spicy, sour and that rich umami in the back palate in my ketchup but feel free to put your own twist on it.
*Some people can their local fresh tomatoes every summer and by all means use those if you have them. If you can’t buy local right now using regular canned tomatoes it acceptable. I personally have some tomatoes from our home garden which have been frozen which I will use.
**Fish sauce is pungent but it also brings a ton of Umami to the ketchup and the smell is muted by the other ingredients. By all means hold back on it if you’re not a fan but to me it’s essential to making a great ketchup.
***This is totally optional but I think a little heat is great with all the sugar in this ketchup. It give the sauce some great balance.