I was desperate yesterday. With 7 lbs. of freshly picked tomatoes on my hands, and a handful of botched tomato-canning projects in my past, I was starting to panic. The only canned tomato recipes that intrigued me required no less than 30 lbs. of produce. The only recipes I could use, just sounded awful. I had taken a risk once, with a recipe we'll call 'Tomato - Basil Jelly', and I just wasn't willing to go back there for reasons that should have been much clearer from the start. So far, my greatest successes with tomatoes had come by making simple tomato sauces and just freezing them. Not so bad, I know.
Then I came across a recipe for ketchup in one of my favorite new canning books. "Why bother?", I thought initially. "I have that huge, squeeze tube of ketchup from Costco anyway. Let me make something more useful...Wait, I don't need anymore red sauce. Fine, let's make ketchup."
It's amazing what 5 1/2 lbs. of tomatoes can boil down to. Three half-pint jars, to be exact. And so when I was there, stirring the near empty pot, waiting for *thick* to happen, I once again began to doubt the tomato. So much waiting for home-grown organic produce, so much preparation and so little payback.
Then I tried the finished product. And damn me and a my dirt patch if it wasn't the best darn ketchup I've ever had.
Enough said. Everyone start making your own!