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My best friend used to be a ketchup addict; I pretended not to see when she doused everything on her plate with ketchup. In fact the first time I saw her do it to my breaded pork chops I was a little insulted. Then as I got to know her better and I realized it wasn’t my cooking she was obliterating, she did it that to all her food. This went on for several decades then one day she just stopped doing it. Just like smoking. One day she just stopped. Ann has tremendous willpower.

The problem I had with homemade ketchup was the flavour. It didn’t match the brand we learned to like. Granted the second time I made ketchup I burned it. I was freezing tomatoes, making tomato chutney, tomato sauce and ketchup. How much multitasking can one do? That was fifteen years ago and I haven’t made ketchup since.

Then I saw on with a glass that Sissi cooked up a really lovely ketchup and she said it tasted just as good. I thought I will use more or less the same spices and just see what happens. Sissi likes heat, mine is considerably milder, but oh IS THIS EVER GOOD! Thank you Sissi for helping me overcome one of my kitchen failures.

One more thought. One kilo of tomatoes yielded less than a cup of ketchup. This made me wonder what could be the tomato and filler ratio in a bottle of commercial ketchup. If they made the ketchup like this, the price would have to be at least ten times as much and I don’t think most of us could afford that. So what are we actually eating in that ketchup?

1 kg tomatoes
1 garlic clove chopped
1/2 medium onion chopped
1/8 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp peppercorns
1/4 tsp allspice berries
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp fresh ginger
1/4 tablespoon salt
1-1/2 Tbsp brown sugar

• Wash and roughly chop the tomatoes.
• Put them in a pan, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.
• Strain through a fine sieve, pressing out all the pulp.
• Place the strained tomato in a saucepan and add the remaining ingredients, except the sugar.
• Bring to slow simmer, cover and cook slowly for 25 minutes.
• Remove from heat and strain, discarding the spices, onion, garlic, etc.
• Slowly simmer for 15 minutes stirring often.
• After 15 minutes stir continuously until you obtain the desired ketchup consistency, (keeping in mind that hot ketchup is a bit more liquid than when it cools down).
• Stir in the sugar and adjust the taste if necessary.
• Pour the ketchup, into a sterilised jar.
• Let it cool down, screw on the lid and place in the fridge. It will last for two weeks.
• Ketchup preserves well if canned, but I would want at least 4 times the amount to make it worth my while to process in jars.



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I began to post recipes for my family and it turned out to be a work in progress. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has over 900 recipes of Hungarian and international recipes. My recipes are organized into a cookbook format. On top of the page click on the cookbook to get access to all my recipes. If I ever figure out how to add a printer friendly gadget I will add it. In the meantime feel free to cut and paste. Happy cooking!

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