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July 24, 2012

Amish Tomato Ketchup

I finally did it!  Ketchup is something I've never done before, but over the winter, each time I had to buy ketchup, I cringed and vowed to make it for ourselves this year.

Our tomatoes are slowly rolling in, but I didn't have near enough to make ketchup with, so I headed to Amish country for the homegrown tomatoes I needed.  

There are so many recipes out there and I couldn't decide which one to try.  This recipe is an old Amish recipe from my Farmhouse cookbook.  It states that it is a sweet ketchup, sweeter than store bought.

One of the reasons I chose this recipe is because there is no need to peel the tomatoes.  We do easy here, and peeling tomatoes is not easy so it doesn't happen in our kitchen.

One word of caution though, it is a very thin sauce-like ketchup.  It stated that clearly in my cookbook, and I can verify that it is.  It is delicious, no doubt about it.  After making it, I thought I'd ask one of my dear Amish friends about it.  She told me next time to put some Clear Jel in it to thicken it up a bit, so feel free to add it to yours if you like yours thick like store bought.

So to start things off, peel and dice 2 medium onions.  Trim and cut 6 ribs of celery into 1/4" thick slices.  Put about 1/4 cup of water with the celery and onions in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are nearly soft, about 25 minutes.  

Meanwhile, cook about 3 pounds of quartered tomatoes in a large heavy, non-reactive saucepan over medium heat, partially covered, until they are very soft and almost a puree, about 25 minutes.

Add the cooked celery and onions, and continue cooking until the vegetables are completely soft, about 15 minutes.

When every thing is good and soft, strain the tomato mixture in small batches through a sieve into another nonreactive saucepan. 

Be sure to squeeze all the juice out of it.  Pictured above is my scrap bowl.  Looking at it makes me wonder if I should've just put the tomato mixture through the blender and pureed it.  Maybe I'll try that next time.

Ok, back to the recipe...

Stir into your juice 5 Tablespoons of vinegar, 1 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 Tablespoon each of allspice berries, whole cloves and celery seeds, 1 teaspoon of ground mace and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

If you're like me, I don't have ground mace on hand so I just used nutmeg instead.

Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  Keep boiling it for about 20 minutes, stirring every once in a while to keep it from sticking to the bottom.  Scoop out the berries and cloves.  Allow the ketchup to cool a bit and then ladle into jars.

You can cover and refrigerate for up to 2 months or ladle the boiling-hot ketchup into hot sterilized canning jars.  Seal according to the lid manufacturer's instructions.  

Amish Tomato Ketchup

6 ribs celery, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
2 medium onions, peeled and dices (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup water

3 pounds tomatoes, quartered

5 Tablespoons vinegar
1 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/2 Tablespoon allspice berries
1/2 Tablespoon whole cloves
1/2 Tablespoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon salt

I doubled this recipe to get the 5 half pint jars you see in the top picture.  The recipe states that it'll make 1 1/2 pints.  Doubled it should've made 6 half pints, obviously it didn't, but I'm still thrilled to have it on the pantry shelf!  

Have you made ketchup before and if you have, what's your favorite recipe?



  1. I never made ketchup, but I'm willing to try.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe, I will keep this on hand for future making of ketchup.

  2. What is Clear Jel and mace?

    1. Good question Melissa~ here is a description I found online for you: Use ClearJel Starch for smooth, dependable thickening of fillings, sauces and gravies. Where recipes call for corn starch, simply substitute with ClearJel. You can also use ClearJel in place of flour, in gravies, where flour is used as a thickener. ClearJel won't hide the flavors like flour does and will maintain its thickness and consistency upon reheating after refrigeration or freezing.

      Mace is the outer shell of the Nutmeg. Not sure how the taste or texture differ, that's why I used plain ole' Nutmeg instead.

    2. I just wanted to add that if you are unfamiliar with using Clear Jel, you will want to use about 1 teaspoon. Mix it with enough water to make a paste before adding to your recipe mixture. It will seem extremely thick at first, but keep stirring into your hot mixture. If you want it thicker, repeat the process 1/2 teaspoon at a time.

  3. Sounds delicious! We made a spicy ketchup this summer and really like it..need to try this one as well to be sure we don't run out either:)

  4. I've never tried making ketchup but may try your recipe if I get enough tomatoes. I know a friend of mine has sometimes bought the organic ketchup at the health food store and her husband hates it. I'd probably try s single batch to start, but this really intrigues me. I'll let you know how it goes when our tomatoe canning season finally gets here - in maybe a month.


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