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Organic, no-dig, kitchen gardening in raised beds on Vancouver Island, Canada.

Homemade Tomato Ketchup

Homemade Tomato Ketchup


BEST tasting ketchup ever! Really and truly.

Are you tired of looking at all the ketchup bottle ingredients just to see that fructose glucose is always the first or second ingredient? Gross! Ugh, all that excess sugary stuff in ketchup, something that should be just spices and tomatoes. If you are as grossed out as I was by all that sweetener, this recipe if for you.

You can adjust this recipe to suit your tastes. Hubby likes his a bit sweeter so we add just a bit more sugar to his ketchup. Baby Girl (yes, she may be grown up with a family of her own, but she will always be my baby) does not like the cinnamon in hers, so we remove it from the batch that we make for her and her family.

Here is the original recipe from the ‘well preserved’ cookbook by Mary Anne Dragan, you can then adjust it to suit your family and your personal tastes. If you are used to the taste of store bought ketchups, you may want to up the sugar initially, as the store bought ones are very high in glucose fructose.


Makes 5 to 6 pint jars or 12 x 250 ml jam jars

What you need…

  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken up

  • 1 tsp whole cloves

  • 1 tsp whole allspice

  • 2 tbsp. mustard seeds

  • 1 tsp celery seeds

  • 10 lbs ripe paste or plum tomatoes (Roma style)

  • 1 cup chopped onions

  • 1 cup chopped peppers, green or red

  • 1.5 cups of cider vinegar

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 1.5 tbsp. salt

Coarsely chop up the tomatoes, combine with chopped onions and peppers in a big pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat and press through a sieve or food press. Return to the pot.

Put the spice into a cheesecloth bag and tie with a string. Add to the tomato mix.

Add remaining ingredients to the pot and simmer for an hour. (that is what the recipe says to do, we always end up simmering for much longer in order for the ketchup to have the right consistency.)

Stir often to prevent scorching, especially towards the end, when the ketchup is getting thicker.

Remove from heat, discard spice bag, and pour ketchup into prepared clean and sterile jars. Leave 1 cm (1/2 inch) of head space from the rim. Wipe the rims clean.

Process in a hot water bath for 15 to 20 minutes.


Place in jars according to how quickly you go through it. I have mine in 250 ml jam jars as I go through it slower than others do. If you go through tons of ketchup each month, go with a pint jar instead.

We absolutely adore this ketchup and use it liberally for everything from kd to grilled cheese sandwiches. My lucky grandson has grown up on this ketchup, so never has the highly sweetened versions from the grocers, except if out to eat.


Happy canning!

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