Recipe: Ketchup with everything

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Indy Lifestyle Online
ONE OF President Reagan's finer moments of idiocy was standing by his government's attempt to classify tomato ketchup as a vegetable for school dinners. Even the ketchup heir (and fellow Republican), the late Senator John Heinz, objected. But most children would have supported the Gipper, because ketchup does go down a bomb with them, on almost everything. So to begin our series on dealing with the summer glut of tomatoes, here is a recipe for home-made ketchup.

It comes from Maureen Fresco, of Ely, Cambridgeshire, who says it is 'derived from a Wisconsin recipe found in Farm Journal Freezing & Canning Cookbook, published by Doubleday, New York in 1973'. Those not expecting to be snowed in for the winter might wish to halve the quantities. Ms Fresco does. She wins a more recent publication, a hardback copy of Anna del Conte's Entertaining all'Italiana.

Tomato Ketchup

Yield: approx 5 pints


8lb/3 1/2 kg very ripe tomatoes

2 sweet red peppers

2 sweet green peppers

4 large Spanish onions

1 pint/560ml white wine vinegar

1 1/2 lb/675g sugar

3tbs salt

3tsp mustard powder

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 1/2 tsp whole allspice

1 1/2 tsp whole cloves

1 1/2 tsp broken stick cinnamon

Preparation: Quarter tomatoes and remove stem ends (do not skin). Core and seed peppers. Peel and quarter onions. Mix all three, and add in batches to the food processor. Blend at high speed in short bursts until pulped. Pour into a large saucepan. Add vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard and cayenne. Create a bouquet garni with the allspice, cloves and cinnamon, and dangle in pot. Simmer uncovered over a low flame, stirring occasionally, until volume is reduced by half. Remove bouquet garni, allow to cool slightly and decant into warm sterilised jars. Store in a dark cool place, or cool gently, then freeze.

IT IS not just tomatoes that are too plentiful. Further to my reference to Garrison Keillor a couple of weeks ago, I now find it is not only in Lake Wobegon that summer vegetable gluts lead to peculiar behaviour. Nicholas Fillem writes from north London that 'crime in the small communities of the Gulf Islands (British Columbia) isn't much of a problem, but at the end of the summer people take to locking up their cars . . . in case, when they return from shopping, the back seat is full of zucchini.'

Next week, more suggestions for ways to use up tomatoes. Please send your recipes to Emily Green, Recipe, Weekend Features, the Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.