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How to make tasty ketchup from home

By George Mbakaya

 

To avoid wastage that comes with the glut in high season, value addition offers the best solution. One of the ways you can increase value of tomatoes and shelf life of tomatoes is making ketchup at home. It is simple and takes less time and effort. Homemade ketchup contains natural ingredients that gives it natural flavour and taste.

Slow cooking version

How do I make ketchup at home? You may ask. There are two ways of preparing ketchup. First method is slow cooking version.  Ketchup made by this method is thick and coarse. The sauce from this method has more flavour. The second method is the quick no-cooking version. Here, all the ingredients are put into the blender and mixed until it gets smooth.

Tastey ketchup starts with good choice of tomatoes. Choose tomatoes that have fewer sides, thicker, meatier walls, and less juice. Avoid mushy, bruised or rotten tomatoes.

Slow cooking version

The second step is to remove the tomato skins. Put tomatoes on a pot of boiling water for about 45 seconds the plunge them in a bowl of ice water. This makes the skins slide right off of the tomatoes!

If you leave the skins in, they become tough and chewy in the sauce. After peeling the skin, the tomatoes are cut into half to remove the seeds and excess juice. Excess water will make the sauce to cook longer.

Drain the tomatoes by tossing the squeezed tomatoes into a drainer. This helps the water to drain off.  Next, pass the liquid through a sieve, to extract juice. Blend tomatoes, peppers, and onions at high speed for 5 seconds in electric blender.

With the cooking version, heat a large saucepan with extra virgin olive oil on med-low heat, add chopped onion until it is translucent.

Next, pour in the creamy plum tomatoes. Add brown sugar, tomato paste, vinegar, cinnamon, black pepper and salt to taste, and mix well. Cook for about 40 minutes on very-low heat, stirring often, until the sauce thickens.

Slow cooking version

Once ketchup is ready, you can add nutmeg and chili powder according to your taste. Then, simply blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Pour your homemade ketchup into sterilised bottles, then seal tightly and place in the fridge until needed – it should keep for about six months.

To make a super quick homemade ketchup, go for the no-cook route, which calls for tomato paste and a little water instead of canned tomatoes.

This method is used when you are in a hurry to make ketchup. Ketchup from this method is not as tasty as the one made by cooking but it is by far better than the store bought version.

Here all the ingredients are put in a blender and mixed until a smooth texture is obtained. To add flavour, add chilli powder or nutmeg to the mixture. Store in an airtight container and place in the fridge until needed, it can last up to seven days.

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