Mel’s Diner

Sharp Knives, Raw Meat and Fire


Ketchup.  I like ketchup.  My kids LOVE ketchup!  Many a (what I consider) fine dish that I have worked hard on has been covered in ketchup as soon as it hits the kids plates.  Sometimes, I cringe –  but, often I just remember what it was like to be a kid and how ketchup made everything taste better.

So, for years I’ve always threatened to myself to make homemade ketchup.  Never really searching out a recipe, I just harbored the fantasy of whipping up a tub of that tomatoey goodness.

Well, in the February issue of Saveur, I found a ketchup recipe and surprise, surprise I had all of the ingredients on hand.  So, with some time on my hands, I gave it a shot.


  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 tsp. celery seeds
  • 1⁄4 tsp. chile flakes
  • 1⁄4 tsp. whole allspice
  • 2 lbs. tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1⁄2 cup white vinegar
  • 5 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Anaheim chile, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic

Wrap cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon, celery seeds, chile flakes, and allspice in a layer of cheesecloth; tie into a bundle and put into a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat along with tomatoes, salt, vinegar, sugar, onion, and anaheim chiles; smash and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until onions and chiles are very soft, 40 minutes.

Remove spice bundle; purée sauce in a blender until smooth. Strain sauce through a mesh strainer into a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 30 minutes. Add more salt, sugar, or vinegar, if you like.

Transfer ketchup to a glass jar. Set aside; let cool. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

So, what did I change?  What makes you think I changed anything?  Because we know you, that’s why Mike!  Well, I was out of cheesecloth, so I couldn’t wrap everything up in a bundle.  So, I just tossed the spices in and fished them out later.  And I got them, too – except for the mustard seeds and chili flakes.  Also, because I’m not the smartest person in the world and used decades old cloves for years, I put in five cloves.  This made the end product VERY clove-y, I should have used 3 or 4, tops.  Next time, I’ll use 3, maybe 2 because my cloves are fairly new.  I also used a 28oz can of tomatoes, this being January and all, and that’s seemed fine.


Even after those changes, it was pretty darned good!  Again, too clove-y, but cutting the number down would make it fine.  It is definitely not as sweet as Heinz and different, full of subtle flavors and tomatoe-y goodness.  A real keeper.


January 27, 2009 - Posted by | Recipe, Side Dish

1 Comment »

  1. When I saw this recipe in my magazine this week all I could think about was the opening scene from “Meet Me in St. Louis” when everyone is telling Marjorie Main about the taste of the homemade ketchup, which led me to a rousing personal rendition of the Trolley Song….

    Unfortunately, I was on the packed 6:07pm out of Grand Central when this occurred. Good thing I was in the bar car!

    Comment by Breadchick Mary | January 30, 2009 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: