Since my post about making tomato paste, I felt I needed to show at least one of the cool uses of tomato paste. The most common and, in my opinion the easiest use, is home made ketchup.
I start off with measuring out my dry spices and dumping them into a bowl. I find that 1/2 tsp of each is more than enough. For this recipe I used salt, black pepper, cumin, ground mustard and ground oregano. Feel free to mix and match different spices for different flavored ketchup.
next I add 1/4 a cup of apple cider vinegar and mix everything well. If you need to use less vinegar, compensate by adding water. This 1/4 cup of liquids is what helps give the ketchup the right consistency.
Using a whisk I add in a couple of spoonful of tomato paste into the bowl and mix well. And repeat until I have used enough tomato paste to achieve a nice consistency.
This time though I had made just enough tomato paste to fill this little mason jar so I added a little at a time until I ran out of tomato paste. Once you are done mixing you can use the ketchup right away or store in a container and refrigerate.
This year’s garden didn’t do so great. Mostly due to not great weather. We lost our zucchini to being over watered by the amount of rain we got. The green bean barely had a chance to produce a few beans before the plants died for the season. Luckily though the tomato plant is one that was definitely a late bloomer but definitely got a good harvest out of it! This year I grew heirloom roma tomatoes which are perfect for turning into homemade tomato paste!
Here is my first batch of freshly picked tomatoes for the season! To get started with this recipe the tomatoes need to be thoroughly rinsed to remove any debris from the skins. I do not peel my tomatoes before cooking so it is important to clean the skins well.
Next I remove the stems if there are any and slice each tomato in half and remove the seeds. Once each tomato has been prepared, it goes into the pot on medium heat.
I allow the tomatoes to break down into a nice tomato sauce consistency before I carefully ladle everything through a mesh strainer and into a heat resistance bowl. This gets all the tomato skins and any stray seeds out of the tomato sauce.
Once all the tomato skins have been removed, the tomato sauce goes back into the pot to cook some more. At this point you want to evaporate as much water as you can out of the tomatoes.It should have a soft paste-like consistency, typically it takes about 30 minutes to achieve this consistency. If you want to season this tomato sauce with anything now is the time to do it. Normally I add a little bit of ground black pepper, salt , and oregano. But feel free to add or omit any seasonings.
After 30 minutes, remove the tomato paste from the pot and spared evenly on the bottom of a shallow pan. I used a squared glass Pyrex for this and it worked out really well. You want to spread out as evenly as possible because this will be going into the oven. Uneven layer will cause thinner spots to burn and thicker spots to hold onto more moisture. Once you have the tomato paste spread out as evenly as possible place it into a preheated 200 degree oven. This will slowly evaporate more of the liquid out of the tomatoes and concentrate the tomato flavor. Check and mix every 15 minutes so that the tomato paste does not burn. Typically this takes about an hour and a half until you achieve a paste consistency. Remove from oven and allow it to cool down before putting the tomato paste into a storage container. Tomato paste has many different applications in cooking. Stick around for part 2, Homemade Ketchup!