• Yield: Makes about 3 cups

  • Time: Less than 1 hour total


  • 1 cinnamon stick 

  • 1 bay leaf 

  • 5 whole cloves 

  • 5 cardamom pods, crushed 

  • 1 star anise 

  • 10 black peppercorns 

  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes 

  • 1 large yellow onion, quartered 

  • 2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil, like canola or sunflower 

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste 

  • 1/3 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar 

  • 1/2 cup champagne vinegar 

  • 1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika 

  • Freshly ground black pepper


Using a piece of cheesecloth (or an empty tea bag), tie the cinnamon, bay, cloves, cardamom, anise, and peppercorns into a bundle. Set aside. Pour the tomatoes and their juice into a food processor or blender. Puree until totally smooth, and set aside all but about 1/4 cup. To the remainder, add the onion and puree.


In a large nonreactive Dutch oven (bigger than you think, as this will splatter like a Pollock painting), heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion puree and the 2 teaspoons of salt and stir well. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, letting the puree reduce and lightly brown. Add the tomato, sugar, and vinegar, turn the heat to a low simmer, and reduce for about 15 minutes, uncovered, with an occasional stir. Add the spice bundle and reduce for 10 minutes more. When it's done reducing, it should be a little thinner than commercial ketchup. Stir in the paprika, taste for seasoning, and adjust as needed. Let the ketchup cool and remove the spice bundle. Pour into a jar and chill overnight, or for at least 6 hours.

How to Store It: Refrigerated, homemade ketchup will keep at least 2 months.


How to Can It: Carefully read through the canning directions on page 88 before you begin. Ladle into sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace, and process in a hot-water bath for 15 minutes at altitudes up to 1,000 feet, 20 minutes at altitudes up to 6,000 feet, and 25 minutes at altitudes over 6,000 feet. 


[More: Solomon's interview about making ketchup]

From Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It by Karen Solomon, Ten Speed Press, 2009.

Karen Solomon is an author, food writer and blogger. She is the author of Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It; Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It; and The Cheap Bastard's Guide to San Francisco. She is contributing author to Chow! San Francisco Bay Area: 300 Affordable Places for Great Meals & Good Deals and former contributing editor to Zagat Survey: San Francisco Bay Area Restaurants. Her writing has appeared in Fine Cooking, Prevention, Yoga Journal, Organic Style, the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine and the San Francisco Bay Guardian.