Since several of you asked...here is the ketchup recipe that I used this year. It is actually adapted from two different recipes.
I don't often make ketchup, only if I have more tomatoes than I know what to do with. That I had extra tomatoes this year in spite of the drought, is amazing.
For the last two months, my tomatoes had almost quit bearing. Two or three times a week, I'd check the plants and pick five or so tomatoes. That few were not enough to do much with so I would wash and core the tomatoes and put them in the freezer in bags.
Last week, Ed pulled out the tomato plants while cleaning up the garden for winter. Every time I got anything out of the freezer I had to move bags of tomatoes, so I decided it was time to get those tomatoes out and make juice. When I started pulling out bags, I was shocked to find that I had well over a bushel of tomatoes in the freezer! No wonder the freezer seemed so full!
freezing and thawing tomatoes separates the water from the tomatoes which is easily poured off. The resulting juice is extra thick.
Without cooking the tomatoes, I ran them through the food mill. The skins did want to jam up the holes and I had to take the mill apart several times to scrape out the skin. I had planned to just can the juice but I had far more than I needed and decided to make ketchup.
I placed a gallon of this thick tomato juice or pulp in a large pot. (If starting with fresh tomatoes, you would need about 1/2 bushel to make a gallon of thick juice.) I reserved about 2 cups of the cold tomato juice to use in thickening.
In another pan I cooked 2 chopped onions in a small amount of water until softened. I then blended the onions in the blender until pureed.
I combined the onions in the pot with the tomatoes. Salt, pepper, vinegar, and sugar were added. (Detailed recipe follows.)
In a piece of cheese cloth, 1/2 cup pickeling spice were tied and added to pot.
This was brought to boil and simmered 45 minutes with lid off.
Usually my ketchup is too thin. To thicken, I took the reserved juice and added 1/2 cup Therm Flo. You could also use Clear Gel or cornstarch. I mixed this well into a thick paste, added to the hot pot, stirred well, and simmered for 10 minutes. If a thickener is combined in a hot sauce, it will clump.
Place in jars, seal, and can for 10 minutes.
The result was the best ketchup I've ever made. I think it is better than store bought! And I know exactly what ingredients are or are not in it.
1 gallon of tomato pulp
2 onions (cooked til soft and blended)
2 T salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup vinegar
2 cup sugar
1/2 cup mixed pickling spice in cheesecloth bag
1/2 cup cornstarch or clear gel or therm flo
Mix all ingredients except cornstarch or other thickener. Bring to boil and simmer 45 minutes with lid off. Combine cornstarch with cold juice or water. Add to pot, stir well, and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour in jars, seal and can 10 minutes.
Disclaimer: This recipe has not been tested for canning safety. Experts do not recommend using a thickener in canning. Use the recipe at your own risk.