Thursday, September 23, 2010

The tomatoes are over, but I'm not over tomatoes

With the potential glut of tomatoes now that the fabulous season we've just been through is coming to a glorious close, here’s something that’ll please almost everybody for a while to come. Early season tomatoes have their best uses in fresh, lightly cooked tomato sauces for pasta or as a bruschetta topping for example. Some shallots, garlic and oregano helps to lift the youthful and maybe fairly underdeveloped flavours a bit.

Mid season brings us plant establishment, heavier sun and mature flavour - there's a period through July and August where during which little more than a pinch of good salt and a twist of pepper is often all that's needed to dress a fully ripe tomato. Now in their final scene, with the branches withering and the fruit seeming a little tougher skinned and drained of colour, this recipe for ketchup to take us into the next season does the trick.

This yields rather a lot, but it will keep for at least a month in a covered container in the fridge.

Proper tomato ketchup

5kg ripe tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp four spice mix
1½ tsp ground ginger
1½ tsp salt
4 tblsp icing sugar
1 tblsp white wine vinegar

Core the tomatoes and reserve the stems. Place the tomatoes in a pressure cooker and add water to a depth of 1cm. Bring the cooker to full pressure for 20 minutes and then allow to cool. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, slowly cook the tomatoes over a medium-low heat for about 45 minutes. Pass the tomatoes and liquid through a sieve, discarding the leftovers.

Add all the other ingredients, except the icing sugar, the vinegar and the stems, to the tomatoes. Place in a pan and simmer slowly over a low heat until it is reduced by half - this will take about 4 hours. Pass the mixture through a sieve again. Add the icing sugar, return to the pan and continue to reduce over a low heat until it reaches a ketchup-like consistency - this will take just over an hour.

Allow to cool, and then add the vinegar. Finally, place the reserved tomato stems into the ketchup mixture for a few hours to infuse it with the fresh vine odour - it’s important to do this after the mixture has cooled, as the vine aroma is destroyed by heat. Discard the stems before serving.


  1. What a lovely recipe, I never thought of making it myself.Could half the batch possibly be frozen?

  2. I've never frozen it myself, but bottled in properly sterilised jars or bottles, I'm pretty sure this will see itself through till Christmas for a quite special gift idea

  3. I'm looking forward to Christmas - that is a special gift to await.