Homemade Ketchup with Fresh Tomatoes

This is a very tasty really lovely ketchup!

Artisan fries with homemade artisan ketchup: now, that is NOT junk food! Vanja is nuts over these potatoes. So is my dad. I am nuts over this ketchup!

I searched high and low for ketchup recipes, read them all, and then mulled them over and did what we all do: took the best ideas from each one and made up my own. However, I was most influenced by the two part recipe I found that was at one time on the White on Rice Couple’s website, but is no longer there. I used 15 pounds of roma tomatoes from the Italian Centre because that is how many I had left from making my salsa. They were beautiful, flavourful tomatoes brought in from BC. I grow a very similar tomato called Amish Paste which I will use to make this next year. I didn’t plant enough this year.

I made two batches with seven and a half pounds of tomatoes in each batch, and made the recipe up for that amount. After cooking everything in the above bowl for about 90 minutes at a low simmer until completely “done”, I removed the bay leaves and the cinnamon and ground the remaining ingredients in my Thermomix (you can use a food processor or a blender) and then pushed it all through a fine sieve. That is when I added the remaining ingredients: sugar, vinegar, salt and lemon and cooked it for about 30 minutes, stirring constantly, until it thickened into my desired consistency.

I couldn’t wait to taste it. Of course, I had been tasting all along, and wasn’t so sure it was such a great idea to grind all the peppercorns, cloves, allspice… etc. into the sauce. But, I did. And WHOOT! It was mighty tasty and mighty hot! I was panting and sweating for a minute or two after taking a little lick off of my spoon. The flavour was dynamite, but I have a pansy of a palate regarding heat. It has definitely betrayed me over the years as I used to love to pay penance over a considerable amount of heat in a dish. No more.

What to do? Batch two: cooked it for the 90 minutes, definitely tending to it, and then let it cool just enough to remove all of the peppercorns. Yes, all. And the cloves and the allspice.I left the other seeds in to blend with the tomato mixture. You can see just how much I pulled out of that sauce, below. It was not an easy task, but had to be done to save the first batch. I was hoping to combine the two.

The bowls below had each been fairly full of ingredients and cooked down to this amount, per batch. There was a significant colour difference that doesn’t show up here. The batch on the right is the first batch and it was considerably browner, but still a beautiful appealing brick colour. I started with one cup of each when they were both cool (as we eat our ketchup cold, or at room temperature, so that is how I had to taste this) and mixed it together to see if this would work. I was a bit worried that the spicy batch might be just too spicy to use. It was a perfect balance of flavours! I was so happy!

I was also pleased with the texture. Interestingly, the second batch with all spices removed was really lovely, but when blended with the first was elevated to a more sophisticated complexity. Best of all, Vanja just didn’t “like” it, he “loved” it. Pardon me? “I love it!” Now, that is rare with anything to do with plant life for this man. I was really pleased.

Yes, I did too have to compare “mine” with Heinz. Can you guess which is which. Oh, I know it is all too obvious, but really, I was not disappointed at all!  I would have to add something unnecessary to get the gel consistency of the Heinz and definitely some colouring to get it that red. But, I was worried about the side by side taste test. Really. I had no idea what to expect. I loved what I had made, but how would it compare to the icon of all ketchups?

Pretty bloody well! Better! I actually like mine better. A lot better. I surprised myself, being a child of the 60’s when everything was better with Heinz. The Heinz was much sweeter and much more “vinegary”. OK: acidic. I liked that about it. Until now. Standing ovation for me!

(Thank you! Thank you! Thank you very much!)

5.0 from 1 reviews
Homemade Ketchup with Fresh Tomatoes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This is an ACF Original Recipe inspired by reading many and compiling the ideas from some to create this delectable concoction.
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: Canadian
Serves: 4.5 pints
Ingredients for Step One:
  • 7.5 lbs. ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2½ cup onion, diced
  • 5 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 5 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 5 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 5 allspice berries
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 5 teaspoons celery seeds
  • two ½ inch cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 5 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 fresh Bay leaves
  • Ingredients for Step Two:
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • juice of two large lemons or three medium ones
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
Instructions without the Thermomix:
  1. Place step one ingredients into a large stockpot and simmer slowly for about 90 minutes, or until ⅓ of the juices have been evaporated; stir frequently
  2. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool
  3. Once cooled, take out the cinnamon and Bay leaves; place the tomato mixture in a food processor or blender and blend on HIGH for about 1 minute; strain the blended mixture through a sieve and into a sauce pan, making sure you have extracted as much juice as possible from the pulp
  4. Place the saucepan on a medium heat and add the step 2 ingredients; simmer for about 30 minutes, depending upon the consistency you prefer
  5. Once cooked, store in a sterilized jars for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator, or process for 10 minutes
Instructions for the Thermomix:
  1. Place step one ingredients into a large stockpot and simmer slowly for about 90 minutes, or until ⅓ of the juices have been evaporated; stir frequently
  2. Remove from the heat and take out the cinnamon and Bay leaves; pour the tomato mixture in the TM bowl and blend on Turbo for about 1 minute at 15 second intervals
  3. Strain the blended mixture through a sieve or fine mesh tami and into bowl, making sure you have extracted as much juice as possible from the pulp
  4. Pour the strained ingredients back into the TM bowl; set time for 30 minutes, temperature at 100 C and speed at 2
  5. Simmer for 30 minutes, depending upon the consistency you prefer
  6. Once cooked, store in a sterilized jars for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator, or process for 10 minutes
Instructions for Processing the Ketchup:
I found this very tasty, but hot for my palate, so the next time I made it, I also took out the Allspice, the cloves, and the peppers before blending it, and enjoyed it much more this way. However, the best version is actually a mixture of the two: I actually made a double batch, one with all the spices blended in, and one with taking out every peppercorn, etc, mixed them together, one cup of each at a time, tasting all the while and loved it! That's how I create my ACF original recipes.

The 15 pounds of tomatoes made 36 half cup jars.


    • Gregory in Saskatoon says

      I followed this recipe scrupulously, although I cut the cayenne pepper by two thirds and spent a half hour picking peppercorns out of the sauce before putting it through the blender. It’s still way too spicy, and I like spicy food. Ketchup ought to be a little blander. I’d recommend cutting the cayenne altogether.and using a teaspoon of ground pepper rather than five teaspoons of peppercorns.

      • Valerie Lugonja says

        Hi, Gregory,
        I don’t like hot, either, as you saw in my post. I wrote the recipe and have made it this way three more times, each time with the same result, and without heat at all. I am surprised. Others have made it and raved. A gal just made it again this year – posted her comment,too, I think. This is not a bland ketchup. It is complex, and it is spicy, but it should not be hot. Only complex. I read your message last night, and felt terrible. I know how frustrating it is to get excited about doing something, then do it perfectly, and get a result you are not happy with – at all. Everyone’s palate is different, but I do write for the masses, and comment on how I do things for my palate, too… I am simply stymied. Mine is just not hot spicy at all. It is a beautiful, complex and very pleasurable condiment experience.

  1. Abby Normal says

    oooh, we have a glut of rossa tomatoes, and I will definitely try this one. As you know, I do everything fresh and there has been a hole in my repository for tomato sauce as we call it here.
    Thank you for all the inspiration and I love how professional you are with everything 😉

    • Valerie says

      Thank you – and I cannot wait to hear how it goes for you! Please let me know how yours turns out and how you like it. I am sure you will change something up – we all tend to do that.

      • Abby Normal says

        Hi Val
        Surprisingly I stuck to the recipe. yummy, and so much better than the store bought sauces, this will become our home standard. Then I let the family decide there own variations, one with cardamon and mustard seeds – spicy, dash of vodka and rose hep – sweet and dry. Thank you for adding to the family’s larder 😉 we sampled all with kale chips, various breads 😉

        • Valerie says

          Wonderful! Such a thrill for little ol’ me! DId you leave the peppers in or take them out? (Love Kale Chips!)

  2. says

    A week ago I picked 20 pounds of Romas south of here fully intending to make ketchip. I browsed through recipes but ran out of time. The tomatoes sit in the freezer. But it is not too late to salvage the situation.

    • Valerie says

      You are absolutely right! I never thought of that, but freezing them is one great way to wait until you are ready to make them! Duh! That never even dawned on me – I put so much pressure on myself to get this stuff done as it comes in and is fresh – but, come to think of it, I was out of freezer space, anyway.

  3. says

    I’ve never made my own ketchup before but you seem to be all into making large batches of things yourself Valerie! Looks very good and yes, it’s pretty obvious what the Heinz is.. Great idea to mix the two batches to get a good flavor.

    • Valerie says

      It is a phase I am going through – brought on, I think, by not going back to school this fall… and feeling a need to be useful and purposeful and “alive”. And I have always been a big batch kind of a gal… but, you are right about that!

  4. Kieran says

    Hi Valerie,

    You mentioned “process for 10 minutes” near the end of your post. Can you provide the details for doing this?

    I would love to make these 1/2 cup jars to include in Thanksgiving gift baskets!



    • Valerie says

      Sorry for the misunderstanding, Kieran!
      To process these for 10 minutes, you go through the standard canning procedure.
      Fill your canner with warm water and heat it while you:
      1. Sterilize your jars
      2. Boil the rubber lined tin lid parts for a minimum of one minute
      3. Load each jar to within 1/4 inch from the top lip of the jar with the hot ketchup (leave “breathing” space)
      4. Ensure there is nothing on the lip of the jar
      5. Place the tin part of the lid with the rubber liner onto the lip of the jar
      6. Screw the lid onto the jar with one hand, while securing the other part of the lid so it won’t move with the other
      7. Once you get enough for a full water bath your water should (hopefully) be boiling, if not, continue filling jars until it is – but really try to time this process so hot jars go into the hot water
      8. Load the canner with the jars, and submerge under water
      9. Bring to a full boil, and start timing then, turning heat down to continue to simmer the jars for the remainder of the 10 minutes
      10. Hopefully you will have the proper canning equipment (tongs at this point); remove each jar from the water bath and set on the counter to cool
      11. Continue with the next batch of jars until done
      12. You should hear the lids on the jar pop as they cool and each lid seals; you will know they have sealed after cooling if you touch the lid and there is no “give”
      13. If there is a “give” after the jar has cooled, you can go through the canning process again to recan this jar (maybe the lid was defective or there was something on the lip of the jar), or you can just store it, tightly sealed in the fridge and use it within three months
      Let me know how it goes!

  5. says

    Valerie, the ketchup looks amazing. My mum has a secret recipe for ketchup which I want to try too,as soon as I get some time to work on it.

    And I’ll bet Heinz had nothing on your ketchup, I’d go for your any day!!

  6. says

    That is how I work out recipes too 8)
    Check out a whole bunch,and them meld all the good bits together!
    I really dont like ketchup much, but your hommade stff sounds delish!

    • Valerie says

      HH –
      You missed the post where I actually gave everyone a peak into my “larder”! it is just below this one – and more than a bit crazy, but I will say that I have gone through 3 pint sized jars of my salsa already, and completely guilt free: all vegetables and so good for ME! :)

  7. says

    How strange, I had a huge craving for ketchup last night, which has never happened before (and no, I’m not pregnant)… This looks awesome, you should be very proud! And those potatoes don’t look too shabby, either! :-)

  8. Louise says

    Wow…This looks delicious. I’ll definitely head off to the market to get me some tomatoes and try this myself.
    But I have 2 questions:
    1) Is the recipe posted the original recipe or have you adjusted the amounts of spices to compensated for your final version? (meaning 15 lbs of tomatoes or double the recipe)
    2) Why not put the spices to be removed into a cheese cloth? (Wouldn’t that be more efficient time wise?)
    Thanks, Louise

    • Valerie says

      I made 2 batches at 7.5 pounds each. You will need a massive pot to do a bigger batch, and I would not recommend doubling this recipe. I think this is as big as you should go: 7.5 pounds at a time.
      1. I made it exactly as I posted it: made the exactly recipe twice – but the first time took out only the basil and cinnamon and ground all else together; the second time took out basil, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and peppercorns as shown in the bowl – then mixed both batches together.
      2. Cheese cloth bag is something I thought of doing – and you could try that for 1/2 of the spices to come out with what I did if only making one batch… I decided to pick them out as I find the cheese cloth bags works great for liquidy soups, but wasn’t sure this was wet enoughto use a bag.
      Hope that helps!

      • Louise says

        Thank you so much for taking the time to answer me.
        I had printed the recipe and read most of the story but not all the way. As I was making my shopping list, I went back to the story and got a little confused as to how much spices needed to be left in a 7.5 lb patch.
        Just so I’m clear, I leave half of the cloves, allspice and peppercorns and remove the other half of these spices. I also remove all cinnamon sticks and bay leaves, and leave all the other ingredients. Then I put it through the blender. Right?

        As I am a wee bit lazy and don’t have much time on my hand, I’ll try the cheese cloth method and let you know how it turns out.

        Thank you again.

  9. says

    Wow. That looks great, Valerie. Years ago I made chili sauce with my aunt and two other women…those days are long gone. But I still have the recipe, just not the inclination. :) I can’t tell you good that was with a toasted cheese sandwich.
    I am impressed with your ketchup; it looks exactly the right texture and with those potatoes? Double yum!

    • Valerie says

      I understand completely “have the recipe, but not the inclination” – but if you have hung onto the recipe all these years, it must be really yummy! Willing to share? I would love to see it. I could use a really good homemade chili sauce recipe!

  10. says

    Hi hi Valerie! I’m baaaaack. Teehee. Trying to catch up on your posts again. When I saw that last picture of those 36 half cup jars of home made ketchup, I gave out an OMG. Then quickly realised that this is Valerie, why am I so surprised :D. Of course Vanja loved it, dear. I’ve yet to taste anything of yours which I didn’t love. You are amazing in every way, not only in the kitchen. Never forget that! Side by side comparison, yours honestly looks much better. It looks more pure and hearty. The Heinz one is way too red and shiny. Sounds like a super great recipe to me!

    • Valerie says

      I cannot WAIT to hear about every bit of your trip to Scotland, LeQuan.
      What a leap of faith you took to go there to visit your cyber friends! I love that!

  11. says

    Wow I’ve never thought of making my own ketchup, but I’d really like to try! It looks very rustic and very delicious! By the way, I am from Canada too! But nowhere near you, I’m from Victoria!

  12. says

    I have ALWAYS wanted to make my own ketchup and this recipe seems so easy! Except for the fact that you have to pick out the peppercorns. Wouldn’t it make more sense to simmer your spices in cheesecloth? That would make the removal of them a lot easier 😉

  13. says

    I LOVE this ketchup recipe!! We had a huge garden this year and I wanted to try a ketchup recipe. My mother-in-law dug through tons of recipes and picked this one as her fav. We gave it a go, and LOVE the results. It is sooooo wonderfully complex. I love all the layers that play on your taste buds. A definite keeper in my recipe box. I will never be able to buy store bought again. Thanks so much Valerie!!
    I blogged about our makings here: http://www.ingridbarlow.com/tomato-harvest/

    • Valerie Lugonja says

      Thank you so much, Ingrid,
      I really appreciate you letting my readers know that the instructions were solid and the recipe is one you enjoy! You had an amazing tomato harvest – another favourite recipe of mine is my preserved oven roasted tomatoes (with garlic). :) V

  14. Lori says

    Just a couple of comments…
    I use a Maslin pan (leevalley.com) for all my jam and condiment making and it works a treat – will take up to 12 lb. of ingredients.
    On the subject of freezing your tomatoes, there are other reasons than deferring you ketchup making to a more convenient time that are even more compelling in my opinion. I wash, core and freeze ripe tomatoes in freezer bags. These tomatoes are easy to peel – just dip them in cold water and the skins slip off. Also, they are easier to chop – partially frozen tomatoes chop easily and there is little mess. The only downside is the cold fingers :-)
    Just making a batch ( 1 1/2 the recipe) – I put in less cayenne than it called for and will add more in stage 2 if it is not enough. I usually use tabasco sauce or hot chinese chili sauce but thought I would follow the recipe as written for my first attempt,

    • Valerie Lugonja says

      Love and appreciate your suggestions and will use them! Please let me know how it goes!
      Thank you!

  15. Erika says

    I have made this recipe now multiple times. Love, love, love! Sometimes I cut down on the black peppercorns and cayenne because some love it sweeter. Mostly, everyone loves the original spicy version!

    • Valerie Lugonja says

      Absolutely thrilled to hear this, Erika!
      And so will future recipe readers who are looking for a great recipe… that is why it is wonderful to get this kind of feedback.
      Hugs to you!
      Happy tomato season!

  16. Julie says

    Just made your receipe , with half of the spices.. So good !!!! Really perfect , taste like ketchup but way better , rich taste.Thanks for sharing

    • Valerie Lugonja says

      Julie, Julie, Julie!
      Thank YOU ever so much for providing credibility to my recipe (did you give it 5 stars – haha!)
      I so appreciate the feedback, and my readers will, as well. Certainly, a family favourite here.

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