Homemade Ketchup & Other Garden Goodies

Ratty tomato plants in September

My tomatoes

I know, it’s been awhile since I posted. I’ve been busy!

My garden is looking a bit ratty, especially the tomatoes. Because of all the rain we have had, you can see that almost every plant has Septoria.  The yellow-ringed brown spots cover many of the leaves and the ones farthest gone have turned brown and died.

Septoria damage on tomatoes



Despite the bout with disease, the absolutely drenching rains and the wonky temperatures, as you can see, these plants continue to produce. I am getting 2 to 3 quarts of Fox Cherry, Atomic grape and Genovese tomatoes every 2 or 3 days!

And I have a volunteer Fox Cherry that decided to plant itself in my compost bin and this baby is producing fruit that is just now starting to ripen. Oh my, more tomatoes! I’ve already made sauce, salsa, scallopine and paste!

Fox cherry volunteer tomato

Volunteer Fox Cherry is huge!

Today, in self defense, I am making ketchup. This is a first for me but I am LOVING what I see and smell.

There are a lot of recipes online for homemade ketchup but the one I liked best was by Pioneer Woman.

Homemade ketchup

Ketchup bubbling away!

This recipe has the least amount of sugar and the subtlest spicing done with fresh onions and garlic, also from my garden.

Homemade wine vinegar

Homemade wine vinegar



And I got to use some of the wine vinegar I made and bottled last year. The color, flavor and taste of this vinegar is superb — a full mouth feel and soft wine finish.

The recipe for this amazing and rich tasting ketchup is below!

Blueberry, blackberry and cherry jams are lined up on my pantry shelf. Blackberry and cherry brandy are aging in gallon jugs.  And I’ve put up eggplant, green beans, made salsa, scallopine, tomato sauce and tomato paste!

Linus loves the garden.

Linus loves the garden.

So this has been a very good year for my garden. And for my volunteers…who include this new rescue Westie, Linus!

Linus joined our family a short 8 weeks ago after the tragic death of one of our Westies, Spike. He has settled in and is really loving the back yard!

One last thing to share. This is a bite I sustained last Tuesday. It is most likely that of a brown recluse spider. The pain was immediate and immense. Almost simultaneously, my arm stared to itch. There was a single strike mark which raised into a 1/4 inch high blister surrounded by a 2 inch square of rapidly rising smaller blisters.

Week old brown recluse spider bite

Week old spider bite

I did not consult a physician but did use my family’s tried and true remedy for all bites – a baking soda paste, applied immediately to the wound.

The pain and the itching were completely controlled but this bite mark is persisting and will probably leave a scar, maybe in the shape of a heart!

So, in this very wet summer, please make sure you keep your eyes open, be careful and enjoy the fruits of all of your labors.

Recipe: Pioneer Woman Homemade Ketchup

8 Tablespoons Olive Oil
12 cloves Garlic, Minced
4 Medium Onions, Diced
8 Quarts processed tomatoes
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1 & 1/3 cup Apple Cider or Wine Vinegar
4 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 teaspoons Chili Powder
1 teaspoon each of Powdered Ginger, Ground Allspice & Cinnamon

NOTE: if making large batch of ketchup, simply determine total ounces of tomatoes and increase all other ingredients, accordingly.

Process tomatoes using the Vittorio juicer to remove seeds and skins. Put tomatoes in large, non-reactive sauce pot and cook overnight on very low flame to reduce and boil off water.

Heat a large, non-reactive frying pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and onions, sauté until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add sugar, molasses and vinegar to the onion mixture and bring to a slow boil, lower to a simmer and cook for 10 to 12 minutes while the sauce reduces and thiikens slightly..

Add the onion mixture to the tomatoes and continue to simmer, uncovered overnight until very thick. NOTE: Because there is added sugar in this recipe, make sure to keep an eye on it and stir it to keep it from scorching.

Jar and, depending on jar size (pints or quarts) water bath appropriately. Cool, label and store.






12 responses to “Homemade Ketchup & Other Garden Goodies

  1. You are awesome. I know everything you make is clean, organic and delicious. You are so talented.
    Please keep a close eye on that bite. It looks nasty.
    BTW. Linus is adorable.

  2. The recipe that is still our favorite is the same simple one from Better Homes and Gardens from the 1960s. I change nothing. However, the recipe does not specify the type of tomato to use. I have always used the Roma tomato because it is what we have the most of. However, I would like to try something with a different flavor, either sweeter or more tart. I just do not know. I like the simplicity of the recipe, but I am curious about a bit of variety.

    • Well, by now you know that I am not a purist, so…I just piled in all 3 types of tomatoes – Atomic Grape, Fox Cherry and Consueleto Genovese! The sauce thickens and deepens in flavor the longer it cooks. I actually cooked down the tomatoes for about 20 hours before I added to onion/spice mix. Then I cooked them together for about another 9 hours. The flavor is surprising – a combination of piquant with a bit of sweet on the underbelly. And you can vaguely taste the spices but not so emphatically that you can identify them. I love it…and think it will make exceptional cocktail sauce, too, with a dash of horseradish.

      • It is more fun that way; but I have difficulty trying new things. I get the neighbors to do it.

      • Very funny! BTW now is the time to try new things! I made my first pair of jeans this year. And I am making my first bathing suit. At 70, I am pretty much willing to try anything, once! And my neighbors are a bit down the hill (and up the hill)…so I am pretty much on my own. I guess I figure, “What have I got to lose?”

  3. What a wonderful post. I really enjoyed reading about all your harvests (and got especially jealous about all those tomatoes and your ketchup making!). 🙂 After 25 years, I’ve been taking this year off from gardening–not completely, but enough where I am really missing the tomatoes!!! I’m so sorry about your spider bite and the loss of your dog Spike. Linus is adorable and I hope he is helping the grief. Glad you are healing from the bite! XO, Sandy

    • Thanks so much Sandy. Losing Spike was hard. He and Harri were brother/sister. And he was only 12. It was a vet error that caused him to end up with hemorrhagic enteropathy. I syringe fed him for almost 30 days but he just couldn’t survive the damage. So Linus is helping. What’s amazing is that I applied to Westie Rescue once before and it took 4 years for them to get back to me with a dog that needed to be rehomed. This time, it took 4 days. I think Linus is Spike’s gift.

      I am not sure I could go without raising tomatoes. That’s very brave of you. If you lived closer, you would be getting baskets of tomatoes every week! I hope you get a chance to get back to the garden and get your bare feet firmly planted on the dirt!

  4. theuniversalgardener

    Another great post, Pat. sorry about the arm.

  5. Thanks for the update Pat! I too, am sorry to hear you lost a pet.

    The recipe looks fabulous…but so many tomatoes! At our peak we were getting two tomatoes a day, which were consumed immediately or in a salad at night. 🙂

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