How to make your own tomato ketchup

How to make your own tomato ketchup

We don’t often include recipes in articles on Fun, Free and Frugal, but occasionally a money-saving recipe pops up which is worthy of a mention. In this article, we look at how to make your own tomato ketchup. This may not sound exciting, however home made tomato sauce (ketchup) is far superior to the ready-made variety. If you’ve ever tasted homemade ketchup, you’ll know what we mean! Home made ketchup is also extremely cheap, quick and easy to make and store, and you can customise it to your own taste. It’s also better for you (branded ketchup almost always includes unnecessary extra sugar, and sometimes preservatives too.) You probably already have all (or most) of the ingredients that you need. Our ketchup is vegetarian, vegan and keto-friendly (when made without sugar). 

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Where to use homemade ketchup?

Homemade tomato ketchup is ideal for barbecues as you can bring it out and impress your friends! It also goes great with fries, burgers, sausages, fish and chips, fried eggs – in fact anywhere where you would use shop bought ketchup.

Tomato ketchup

How do you make tomato ketchup?

It may be obvious, but the main ingredient in tomato ketchup is tomatoes! In our recipe for tomato ketchup, we use passata (sieved tomatoes) but you can also use a can of chopped tomatoes. With the addition of a little vinegar and some herbs and spices, you can easily make a delicious ketchup with minimal time and effort. If you have ever wondered how to make ketchup at home, read on!

What you will need:
  • An airtight 500ml bottle or jar to store your ketchup 
  • A saucepan and spoons 
  • A funnel (if you’re using a bottle)

Around £1.10 per 500ml bottle of homemade ketchup (vs. around £2.20 for a similar quantity of the leading UK brand). Look out for Napolina passata when it’s on offer – see our “tips” below!

Fries with ketchup

  • A 500g carton of passata (we use Napolina passata). You can also use a standard size tin (400g) of good quality chopped tomatoes, although this will mean that you need to blend your ketchup once it’s made.
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) cider vinegar
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp onion salt or onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt (you could use crushed fresh garlic but again, you’d probably find that you need to blend your ketchup once it’s made, in order to make it smooth.)
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1x pinch of cinnamon
  • 1x pinch of ground allspice 
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • (optional) sugar to taste (or erythritol if you are watching your sugar intake)

It’s important to sterilise the bottle or jar that your will use to store your ketchup to prolong its shelf life. Carefully fill the bottle or jar with near boiling water, leave for a few minutes and then empty and dry with a clean tea towel or paper towels. Sterilise your funnel in the same way (you may need to put it in a bowl or jug and cover it with the hot water). As an alternative you could use food-safe sterilising fluid or a steriliser. Set your container and funnel to one side.

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan, heat on a medium heat until it just starts to bubble, stirring frequently.
  2. Reduce the heat and cook gently for around 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so. You will notice that the sauce starts to thicken.
  3. Taste the sauce and adjust the flavourings if necessary to suit your taste buds. (You may like a little more salt or allspice, for example).
  4. Blend the sauce using an immersion blender or regular blender (this should only be necessary if you used chopped tomatoes and/or fresh garlic).
  5. Allow the sauce to cool, and decant it in to your sterilised container.
  6. Store your ketchup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks. 

How to make your own tomato ketchup

  1. Using a good quality passata or tinned chopped tomato brand is the key to getting a good result. We use Napolina passata, which has a slightly thicker consistency. If you use a more liquid passata, you will need to cook your sauce for longer so it isn’t too liquid. This will result in a lower yield – you will have less sauce! Make sure to check our tips for saving money at the supermarket when buying your ingredients.
  2. Avoid the need for a blender by using passata instead of chopped tomatoes, and by using garlic granules or powder vs crushed garlic.
  3. Make sure to sterilise the storage bottle or jar for your sauce, and the funnel (if using). This will help to avoid bacteria getting in to your ketchup and help it to last longer. For this reason it’s best to use a glass bottle or jar. You could try to re-use a squeeze plastic bottle, but these tend to warp when you fill them with hot water.

Have you made your own ketchup, or have we given you the encouragement to try? Let us know how you got on in the comments below!

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