Homemade ketchup

I owe a friend a favor. She asked to be repaid with homemade ketchup. Why not? Well. I'm buying about 25-40 pounds bulk tomatoes that I plan to make into all sorts of excellent tasty things. All the recipes for homemade ketchup I can find all start with tomato paste. I do plan to make tomato paste, that's something I do every year. But is it possible to make homemade ketchup without first making tomato paste? Can I somehow streamline this process? Also, has anyone made ketchup with honey or molasses as the sweetener, so it doesn't have any refined sugar?



Greenstuff September 12, 2012
I've always figured that homemade ketchup weren't called ketchup or catsup, but something else, no one's tastebuds or brains would get ready for Heinz.
beyondcelery September 12, 2012
Thanks, everyone! I've got a couple good recipes to play with now. I think I'll try it with honey, since that seems like it'll go over better flavor-wise. I definitely love molasses, but I wouldn't want it too strong for my friend. Maybe I'll add some roasted red peppers, that's a great idea! I think my friend seldom uses commercially made ketchup, so I hope I'll have a lot of leeway on flavor with it.
SKK September 11, 2012
Seems you have several questions:
How to streamline the ketchup process and not use paste
Make ketchup with honey and/or molasses rather than refined sugar

Possibly you want to ask another question - how to get the best ketchup in the shortest amount of time?

Then there is another question - ketchup or catsup?

Seems both recipes have in common is condensed tomato flavor with a little acid. Possible forget the paste and go after condensation of your flavors. And you do know your flavors, bc. Your recipes are wonderful!

Regarding sweeteners, for my taste buds honey is superior to molasses and you can use either rather than refined sugar.

What a good friend you are in how you repay your favor!
Droplet September 11, 2012
I make a less traditional version that contains roasted pureed red peppers mixed with tomatoes, and that helps to achieve a thicker mixture while cutting down on boiling out the water from the tomatoes.
louisez September 11, 2012
i've made ketchup with fresh tomatoes for some time. i listed a recipe for fresh tomato ketchup on this site, which might be helpful.
ChefOno September 11, 2012

Here are some things to think about. Although Adam does use some paste in his recipe, you can sub more fresh and reduce if you prefer.


ChefOno September 11, 2012

For manufacturing purposes, tomato products such as sauce and catsup are often made from paste. In restaurant and home kitchens, it makes sense not to reduce the tomatoes to paste only to reconstitute the paste back to the desired level of concentration. In other words, yes, I think you're on the right track from that perspective.

Ask if you want an argument for starting with paste, otherwise it should be a fun experiment.

sfmiller September 11, 2012
Yes, it's certainly possible. Googling "ketchup recipe 'fresh tomatoes'" turns up dozens of recipes with various sweeteners. Most of them read a lot like recipes for tomato paste, but with onion/garlic/vinegar/sweetener/spices added.

I made a batch of ketchup from fresh tomatoes years ago, when my children were small. Never again. After several hours of reducing and much spice-tweaking I had produced a couple pints of what I thought was really good stuff. I emerged from the red-spattered kitchen and proudly presented some to the kids with their burgers.

They took a taste, turned up their nose and asked for Heinz. Then my wife did, too. Ketchup is one of those foods where remembered tastes are hard to dislodge.
ChefOno September 11, 2012

Sometimes the trick to introducing a change like that is to take it out of the usual context. On a burger, I'd likely side with the rest of your family. In a new combination, as a sauce for, say, spring rolls or sausage-stuffed mushrooms, you might well get a different reaction.

Recommended by Food52