Perhaps, your kids are like mine – and everything is better with ketchup. Perhaps it is just an unquestionable fact of childhood (except I didn’t like ketchup as a kid – weird, I know). But the simple fact remains that those plastic squeeze bottles of thickened, sweetened tomato purée are not very healthy. And ketchup doesn’t qualify as a serving of vegetables. And they are generally not very good. Okay, those are actually three things and they are not precisely facts, but I digress. In my DIY, made from scratch world, those Heinz 57 bottles just gotta go… But what are we going to slather on our homemade fries and homegrown burgers? This very yummy slow cooker homemade ketchup, I tell you.
Summer usually arrives kind of late in the Pacific Northwest and the tomato harvest really hits August through September, and sometimes into October, if the weather hangs on. Because restraint is not my strong suit and tomatoes are a particular weakness, I have roughly thirty plants ripening fruits daily as a result. In between batches of salsa and stewed tomatoes that I put up for the season, I like to make a couple batches of homemade ketchup to sustain us throughout the year.
This slow cooker method of making homemade ketchup is just incredibly easy. It requires very little prep work – and you get to just walk away from it for something like 18 hours… This ability to dump and go is particularly appealing in my busy schedule. I keep the sweeteners modest so that the end homemade ketchup isn’t overly sweet. I particularly like the addition of paprika (smoked if you like a little BBQ flair to your ketchup) and coriander to liven things up a little bit. A healthy dose of apple cider vinegar help to keep the flavor bright and the pH within a water bath canning method safety range (around 3.2 on this freshly calibrated meter, depending somewhat on individual tomato variety acidity). While the results are not a 100% match for the supermarket variety, I would argue that they are much, much better.
This slow cooker homemade ketchup is a grown up version of everybody’s (well, virtually everybody’s) favorite of condiments that even the kids will love.
Slow Cooker Homemade Ketchup
- 5 lbs tomatoes, chopped
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar or honey
- 2 tablespoon molasses
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons paprika (smoked if you prefer)
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker set to low heat. Cover and allow to warm for two hours.
- After two hours, remove lid and process with an immersion blender until smooth. Alternately, you can puree the tomato mixture in a blender or food processor in small batches.
- Place a lid only askew over slow cooker so that moisture may escape. Continue to cook and reduce the mixture on low heat for approximately 18 hours or until desired consistency is achieved.
- Ladle into sterilized pint jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace. Wipe rims and place prepared lids and rings on finger tight. Process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes at a full boil. Remove from canner and allow to cool, undisturbed for 24 hours. Check for seal and store in a cool, dark place for up to a year. Refrigerate after opening.