Corn Free and sometimes Dairy Free cooking

Monday, December 03, 2007


Dairy Free

Today was my day to experiment with homemade ketchup. I made some home canned when I was first diagnosed with this corn allergy. I realized in short order that I really missed ketchup and that having it available would open up lots more variety in my home cooked meals. That batch of ketchup was really tasty, but man it sure was a lot of work! Since I am now manufacturing most of what I and my family eat these days, I save that sort of energy and time for things that really make a big difference. I approached this "ketchup" project figuring I could find a way to make a good, ketchup, similar to the standard big name brands most folks buy at the grocery store without too much work, time or, trouble. I have been working on it for a while now (months to be honest) and think I have perfected the stuff. The final recipe was refined/perfected today!

With all of that said, I have to say that the homemade, from fresh tomatoes, stuff was marvelous, much tastier than than storebought brands. I might make some again someday but, I will set it aside for things where you really savor the ketchup, not for adding to sloppy joe's, meat loaf, bbq sauce, etc.
Home canned ketchups begin with fresh tomatoes which are them peeled and seeded (easily done with a food strainer,, then they are simmered with vinegar, and seasonings for a long time, long enough that the extra moisture is evaporated making it thick. I have searched around for recipes and I found most of the recipes to be much sweeter than the standard bottled, brand name, ketchups. Most home canned ketchups are much more complex combinations of flavors, requiring a good number of spices. Many of us that have been working at this corn free lifestyle for awhile and, likely have such things in the cupboard but I expect many reading this do not have them on hand (yet). The recipe I wound up using begins with tomato paste, vinegar, and simple spices. Once they are mixed they are simmered together (covered) for 15-20 minutes to make sure the flavors are all melded nicely. This can be made while cooking a meal if there is a spare back burner, it only needs a very low simmer and an occassional stir.
I have a teenage son with a very discriminating palate. When I first began cooking corn free, I used quite a bit of cider vinegar and he has come to hate the flavor. He can generally pick it out no matter how well I have tried to cover it up. Even still, I persisted in making three versions of this ketchup, one with cider vinegar, one with Passover vinegar and one with safe white wine vinegar. I made my son taste test them without knowing which was which. I did so to be sure that it would taste good to more folks than just me. Making it worthwhile to pass it on to you. I also wanted to know which one my husband and I preferred so, I have held several blind taste testing, and I have been very surprised at the results. I will test it one more time tonight and post if there are new results. Tonight I will serve "safe" hot dogs for supper and have one more blind test.
I am delighted to report that so far, the cider vinegar version is in the lead! Even my son chose the cider vinegar version, hands down! I truly thought that the Passover vinegar version would be the big winner. I am pleased to say it was not a favorite, though it is rated as really pretty good. I have nothing against Passover vinegar except for the fact that I have to stock up once a year when it's a vailable and others may have trouble finding it at all. I did buy it by the case last year and I have used it for many things, including some pickles (Clones of Vlassic Kosher Dills, I'll post that recipe later.) So, the final version posted below, is cider vinegar. keep in mind that any of the three vinegars, cider, passover or, white wine vinegar can be used and will make a passable ketchup so, use what is available to you. My recipe includes less salt and less sugar than many others, I built it by taste and felt it was really not needed. If you prefer more of either try adding 1/4 cup of syrup for more sweetness and 1/2 t of salt for a saltier version. Do taste as you go to get it the way you and your family like it!
The white wine vinegar version might be really nice as a base for a bbq sauce :)
2 6-ounce cans tomato paste
3/4 cup heavy syrup (50% water, 50% sugar mixture)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.
Wisk carefully - it will splash!-until well blended
Bring to a boil and then allow to simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, stir frequently.
Cool and pour into container(s)
Store in refrigerator.
Recipe makes about 3 - 1/4 cups of ketchup.
(Recipe formatted with the Cook'n Recipe Software from DVO Enterprises.)

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