Tomato Season

We’ve had many beautiful mornings and fairly warm days giving our tomato plants in the backyard a little more time before Jack Frost arrives. The moist fog that rests right above the fields disappears quite quickly when the sun is out giving the photographer only a few minutes to capture the shot while getting kids up, dressed and fed. So out I ran still in my pyjamas because I knew from experience that if I was to wait until they were safely on their way it would be gone.
August morning
The other week I made an inquiry on my facebook page. What should I do with all of the tomatoes that might be coming. This was the first time that we would be getting a significant amount of tomatoes. One commenter suggested that they could be frozen whole, without any treatment and then used placed in sauces or other dishes. I thought this was a fantastic idea for days when there is just not time to start the time-consuming project of preservation. Afterall that is what I do with my extra berries. I just freeze them and later in the fall or winter when the weather might not be so enticing  I make juice in the crockpot giving the house a wonderful smell. But I did want to try make something new. My husband found a recipe to try on a blog he follows and it turned out wonderful. Homemade ketchup. Kids may still prefer Heinz just because it is the flavor they are used to but in my opinion it just doesn’t get much better than this.

Homemade Tomato Ketchup from the Terveiset ravintoketjun huipulta blog

This recipe is fairly large I made a generous 1/3 of the amount below.

3 kg/6.6 lbs tomatoes
300 g/10.6 oz (red) onion
1 stick of cellery (I used a whole stick for my smaller batch)
garlic (I used 2 cloves)
1.5 dl/0.6 c balsamic vinegar
1 dl/0.4 c sugar (optionally 1.5 dl/ 0.6 c maple syrup)
splash of olive oil
3 bay leaves
1 chili (I used a mild green chili pepper)
handful of basil
2 tsp salt
2 tsp bell pepper powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg or mace
1/2 tsp allspice
(I used only a dash of the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice)

ketchup in the making

1. Sauté the onion, cellery and garlic for a few minutes.
2. Add the washed and quartered tomatoes.
3. Add the balsamic vinegar so that they don’t burn to the bottom of the pot.
4. Add the rest of the ingredients according to your taste.
5. Allow to simmer for 45 minutes, stirring every once in a while.
6. Purée using a blender or wand mixer.
7. Strain using a collander.
8. Allow to simmer until reduced to half.
9. Bottle and cool.

2013-09-10 17.56.20home fries


  1. You have beautiful tomatoes. My grandmother always made her own ketchup. I thought it was the best thing ever. I am glad you are enjoying your own home-made ketchup too. Lovely first photo with the fog 🙂

    1. Thank you Gramma! The garden is where our bunnies had their previous little hutch. It got rebuilt this past spring and moved to a different spot…but the ground was plenty fertilized 🙂

  2. Beautiful photo of the morning mists. I, too, make ketchup, as well as freeze tomatoes and make tomato jam. When I freeze them, I peel and chop them and put them in quart containers that stack nicely in my freezer, though I have used quart-sized plastic bags, too. I like your recipe for ketchup. Once you make your own, you’ll never buy it again.

    1. Thank you John for the tips! I’ll be putting them to use. I just checked out your tomato jam recipe. It looked really interesting. If I have a chance, I will be giving it a try!

  3. We made two varieties of ketchup a few years ago when we had a bumper crop–one very similar to yours and one curry-ketchup. We intended to give them as gifts but they were both too good and we hoarded most of the jars.

    We did not have lovely bottles like yours. Where did you get those? They’re fantastic!

  4. A neighbor used to always give us a bottle of homemade ketchup each fall. It was so much better than the store brands. This post motivates me to want to try to make some.

  5. I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one how runs out in her pajamas to get a photo…yours is lovely. Homemade ketchup must be wonderful…I’ll have to try that next year.

  6. Oh my goodness I think I can actually smell your fragrant tomatoes on the vine all the way in Hong Kong! I love that photo of the fog it is mysterious and beautiful. This is a tasty recipe for tomato sauce and with so many aromatics it just has to be good. Heinz move on over Table of Colors is moving on in! Take Care, BAM

    1. Thank you so much Bam! We have now picked all of the tomatoes and brought them inside. Last night was probably the first cold night where temps dipped below freezing. So there is a collection of red and green tomatoes on our counter 🙂

    1. We have really been enjoying them, eating them like candy off the counter as they ripen. I even made fried green tomatoes one day…I’m hoping to post about it sometime soon. 🙂

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