Friday, September 10, 2010

Carole's Concoctions

Yes we CAN!!
It's that time - Preserving the Bounty month.  And boy do we have some fun canning ahead of us.  I have already canned salsa and tomato sauce.  Next up ketchup. Don't you just love that all-American condiment? Horrified that high fructose corn syrup is in the list of ingredients of most store-bought brands? Well, here's your opportunity to make your own ketchup from locally grown fresh-from-the-vine tomatoes.  And if you live in the Berkshires - come to my canning workshop - Thursday, September 16th @ 7pm - it will be all about KETCHUP!!!

The recipe:

For the spice pack:
4 tbsp celery seeds
5 tsp whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
2 tsp whole allspice
3 cups cider vinegar

30 lbs Tomatoes, cored and quartered
4 cup chopped onions
11/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup pickling salt

From start to finish it can take up to 12 hours to make 7 pints of the BEST KETCHUP you've ever tasted!!  So be prepared and plan your time accordingly - start in the morning and you'll be canning in the evening.

Make your spice pack by tying your celery seeds, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, and allspice in cheescloth.  In stainless steel saucepan combine the vinegar and spice pack, boil over high heat, remove from heat and let steep for 1/2 hour. Remove the spice mixture.
Wash and cut up tomatoes, place in stainless steel saucepan with chopped onions and cayenne and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Using a slotted spoon crush tomatoes to release juices. Boil until tomatoes are soft and then add the vinegar. Continue to boil until mixture begins to thicken. 

In batches, press tomatoes through a fine sieve (what my grandmother used) or a food mill (what I use) which removes the seeds and skin. Return the skinless, seedless tomatoes with the sugar and canning salt to the saucepan over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally until the liquid is reduced to desired ketchup consistency.  I'd like to tell you this is a short amount of time - but it isn't - it's taken 12 hours for one of my batches to come to desired consistency.  But believe me you - IT IS WORTH every second!!
Meanwhile, you can be getting your cans ready - place cans on rack of boiling water canner, add water until the pint jars are about 2/3rds full. Cover and bring to a simmer. This process kills any bacteria. In a small saucepan, place the lids - the flat, round piece, cover and bring to a simmer. The screw bands do not need to sterilized.
Now you are ready to start canning your ketchup. One jar at a time, remove from canner, pouring hot water back into canner, place jar on flat heat-resistant surface. Ladle sauce into jar leaving about a half inch of headspace, wipe the rim and threads with a paper towel. 
( This is important to make sure vacuum seal can occur). Lift a hot lid with your tongs (or madnet) and place on jar and then screw the lid with your fingertips until tight. Place back in canner with tongs. Repeat until done.
Cover all jars with additional water by an inch or so. Cover canner and bring to a boil. The boiling must be continuous and rapid for 15 minutes. Remove lid, let sit for about 5 minutes or so. Remove jars without tilting, place jars on a towel in a draft-free spot and allow to cool for 24 hours. Store in a cool dark place for up to a year.
I will post the video of the demo for next week's post!!  HAPPY CANNING :-)

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