I bought a brand new, stainless steel food mill back in the early spring... I love it! (I fall in love with gadgets on a regular basis) and I've been dying to use it... When tomato season rolled around, I finally got my chance. I always borrowed Mama's food mill in the past when I needed to "food mill" anything and it's been several years since I needed one... and I don't know what happened to Mama's food mill since she passed away a few years ago... Daddy wasn't very organized with her stuff (no offense Daddy, but you know it's true, just sayin').
So I bought a new one and decided ketchup would be used for its maiden voyage... Here's what I did...
3 Tablespoons celery seeds
4 teaspoons whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
1-1/2 teaspoons whole allspice
In a saucepan I combined 3 cups apple cider vinegar and the spice bag
I brought it to a boil over high heat, removed from the heat and let it stand for 25-30 minutes, then discarded the spice bag.
Meanwhile (back at the ranch) in a large stock pot I combined 24 pounds of cored and quartered tomatoes, 3 cups chopped onions, and a teaspoon of cayenne pepper. I brought this mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently, then reduced the heat and boiled gently for 20 minutes. I added the infused vinegar mixture and continued to boil until the mixture began to thicken and the tomatoes and onions were soft (about 30 minutes more)
Now comes the fun part... using the food mill!!! Yay me!
Working in batches, I ladled the tomato mixture into my food mill and turned the handle (wonderfully entertaining for me, I'm also easily entertained and amused), extracting the juice into a saucepan (or bowl, I used a saucepan) If you don't have a lovely food mill like I do, you can press the mixture through a sieve with the back of a spoon.
Once I had squeezed all the liquid I could from the tomatoes, I discarded the solids and returned the liquid to my stock pot.
I added 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
and 1/4 cup canning and pickling salt
I brought this mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. I reduced the heat and boiled the mixture gently until the volume was reduced by half and the mixture became almost the consistency of commercial ketchup (the recipe I was going by said this should take about 45 minutes, I musta had super juicy tomatoes because it took my mixture about 3 hours to thicken, just keep stirring and simmering until you get the consistency you like)
While all this reducing was going on, I prepared my jars by boiling them in a pan of water set on two stove eyes. (I usually put a dish towel in the bottom of the pan so the jars don't knock together so much)
I simmered my lids and rings and kept them hot until I was ready for them.
I ladled my hot ketchup into my hot jars, leaving a half inch of headspace. I removed any air bubbles, wiped the rims and screwed the lids on to fingertip tightness.
I processed my jars in a boiling water bath (place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water, bring to a boil and boil gently) for 15 minutes.
After processing, I removed the jars from the canner and set them on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool... and, of course, to listen for the PING! of each successfully sealed jar!
(This recipe will make about seven pint jars of ketchup)
OK, now how 'bout an order of fries to go with that ketchup!
Did you know... tomatoes are very high in lycopene, an antioxidant that has been linked to reducing the risk of certain types of cancer. And, amazingly enough, the lycopene in cooked or heat processed tomatoes is more readily absorbed by the body than that contained in fresh tomatoes... from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.
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