Canning Ketchup (Homemade Staples)

Canning Ketchup (Homemade Staples)

Homemade ketchup is a delicious and preservative-free alternative to store-bought ketchup. By canning ketchup at home, you can control the ingredients and customize the flavors to your liking. This article will provide a step-by-step guide on how to can ketchup using fresh tomatoes and a variety of spices. We’ll also discuss the benefits of homemade ketchup and provide tips for storing and using it.

Key Takeaways:

  • Homemade ketchup is a tasty and healthier option compared to store-bought ketchup.
  • By canning ketchup, you have complete control over the ingredients and can customize the flavors.
  • You can use fresh tomatoes and a variety of spices to create the perfect homemade ketchup.
  • Proper storage and refrigeration ensure the longevity of your homemade ketchup.
  • Homemade ketchup can be used in a variety of ways, making it a versatile staple in any pantry.

The Best Tomatoes for Homemade Ketchup

When it comes to homemade ketchup, choosing the right tomatoes is crucial. You want tomatoes that are meaty, low in water content, and have a perfect balance of natural sweetness and acidity. Luckily, there are several tomato varieties that fit the bill and are perfect for creating flavorful homemade ketchup.

1. Roma Tomatoes

Roma tomatoes are known for their dense texture and rich flavor, which makes them an excellent choice for homemade ketchup. They have a low water content and are naturally sweet, making them perfect for creating a thick and delicious sauce. Roma tomatoes are also readily available and can be found in most grocery stores.

2. San Marzano Tomatoes

San Marzano tomatoes are a type of plum tomato that originated in the San Marzano region of Italy. They are often considered the gold standard for tomato sauces, including ketchup. These tomatoes have a firm flesh, fewer seeds, and a rich, tangy flavor. They are slightly sweeter than Roma tomatoes and are highly prized for their intense taste.

3. Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoes come in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and flavors, making them a popular choice for homemade ketchup. They are known for their unique and complex flavors that can range from sweet to savory. Heirloom tomatoes are typically juicier than Roma or San Marzano tomatoes but can still be used to create delicious homemade ketchup with a distinct taste.

In addition to these tomato varieties, you can also experiment with other meaty tomatoes such as beefsteak tomatoes or Brandywine tomatoes. The key is to choose tomatoes with a dense texture, rich flavor, and low water content to ensure a thick and flavorful homemade ketchup.

So, whether you prefer the classic taste of Roma tomatoes, the tangy richness of San Marzano tomatoes, or the unique flavors of heirloom tomatoes, there are plenty of options to satisfy your homemade ketchup cravings.

Tomato Variety Description
Roma Tomatoes Dense texture, low water content, sweet flavor
San Marzano Tomatoes Firm flesh, tangy flavor, fewer seeds
Heirloom Tomatoes Unique flavors, wide variety, juicier texture

Making Homemade Ketchup

Making homemade ketchup is a fun and rewarding culinary adventure. By simmering fresh tomatoes with a blend of spices, vinegar, and sweeteners, you can create a thick and flavorful sauce that will elevate any dish. Whether you prefer a tangy and zesty ketchup or a spicier version, the possibilities are endless. Here’s a simple homemade ketchup recipe to get you started:


  • 8 pounds of fresh tomatoes (any variety)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice


  1. Wash the tomatoes thoroughly and remove the stems.
  2. Blanch the tomatoes by placing them in boiling water for about 1 minute, then transferring them to a bowl of ice water. This will help loosen the skin for easy removal.
  3. Peel the skin off the tomatoes and remove any seeds. If desired, you can keep some of the seeds for a chunkier texture.
  4. Chop the tomatoes into small pieces.
  5. In a large saucepan, combine the chopped tomatoes, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, ground cloves, and ground allspice.
  6. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 2 hours. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  7. Using an immersion blender or a regular blender, blend the mixture until smooth. If you prefer a chunkier ketchup, you can skip this step.
  8. Continue simmering the blended mixture for another 1-2 hours, or until it reaches your desired thickness. Keep in mind that the ketchup will thicken further as it cools.
  9. Taste the ketchup and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Add more sugar for sweetness, vinegar for tanginess, or spices for extra flavor.
  10. Once the ketchup reaches your desired consistency and taste, remove it from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes.
  11. Transfer the homemade ketchup into sterilized jars, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace at the top.
  12. Seal the jars with sterilized lids and rings, following proper canning procedures.
  13. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes to ensure proper preservation.
  14. Remove the jars from the water bath and let them cool completely. Check the seals to ensure they are tight and secure.
  15. Store the homemade ketchup in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

Now that you have your very own homemade ketchup, you can enjoy it on burgers, fries, sandwiches, and more. Get creative and experiment with different flavors by adding spices or herbs to customize your ketchup to your taste. Making homemade ketchup not only ensures that you know exactly what goes into it but also allows you to savor the rich flavors of fresh tomatoes all year round.

Benefits of Making Homemade Ketchup:
1. Control over ingredients and additives
2. Customizable flavors
3. Cost-effective compared to store-bought ketchup
4. Utilizes excess tomatoes, reducing food waste
5. Healthier option without preservatives

Storing and Using Homemade Ketchup

Once you’ve made your delicious homemade ketchup, it’s important to know how to store it properly to maximize its shelf life and make the most out of its versatile uses. Here are some tips:

Shelf Life of Homemade Ketchup

When stored in sealed jars using canning methods, homemade ketchup has an impressive shelf life. Properly sealed jars can last for years when kept in a cool, dark area. This allows you to enjoy the flavors of your homemade ketchup long after tomato season has ended.

Refrigerating and Opening Homemade Ketchup

Once you open a jar of homemade ketchup, it’s important to refrigerate it to maintain its freshness. Refrigerated homemade ketchup can last for several months, ensuring you have plenty of time to enjoy it.

Versatile Uses for Homemade Ketchup

Homemade ketchup is incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of ways. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • Use it as a classic topping for burgers and hot dogs
  • Pair it with fries, onion rings, or any other favorite fried foods as a delicious dipping sauce
  • Add it to meatloaf or barbecue sauce for a punch of flavor

Get creative and experiment with different dishes to discover new and exciting ways to incorporate homemade ketchup into your meals.

Shelf Life Storage Method
Years Sealed jars stored in a cool, dark area
Months Refrigerated after opening

Benefits of Homemade Ketchup

There are several benefits to making homemade ketchup. Firstly, by preparing your ketchup from scratch, you have complete control over the ingredients. Unlike store-bought ketchup, homemade ketchup is free from preservatives and unnecessary additives, making it a healthier option for you and your family.

Moreover, homemade ketchup allows you to customize the flavors to suit your taste preferences. You can adjust the sweetness, tanginess, and spiciness levels, creating a ketchup that perfectly complements your favorite dishes.

Another advantage of making homemade ketchup is the potential for cost savings. If you have access to fresh tomatoes in bulk, canning your own ketchup can be a budget-friendly alternative to constantly purchasing bottles from the store.

In addition to being cost-effective, making homemade ketchup also helps reduce food waste. As tomatoes ripen quickly, excess tomatoes often go unused and spoil. By turning them into ketchup, you can stretch their shelf life and avoid unnecessary waste.

Overall, homemade ketchup offers a preservative-free, fully customizable, and cost-effective option that elevates the flavors of your favorite dishes. Whether you’re health-conscious or simply enjoy the satisfaction of creating something delicious from scratch, homemade ketchup is a pantry staple worth exploring.


Canning ketchup at home is a rewarding and delicious way to ensure that you always have a supply of homemade condiments on hand. By following the steps outlined in this guide and using fresh, flavorful tomatoes, you can create a perfect batch of homemade ketchup.

Whether you’re preserving the flavors of summer or simply looking for a healthier alternative to store-bought ketchup, homemade ketchup is a staple that everyone should try. The process of canning ketchup allows you to control the ingredients, avoiding preservatives and unnecessary additives found in commercially-made ketchup. It also gives you the freedom to customize the flavors according to your liking, whether you prefer a tangier or sweeter ketchup.

By taking the time to can your own ketchup, you not only ensure a supply of preservative-free condiments, but you also save money in the long run. Plus, homemade ketchup is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes, from burgers and fries to meatloaf and sauces. So grab your jars, follow our canning ketchup guide, and embark on a flavorful journey of homemade ketchup. Your taste buds will thank you!


What type of tomatoes should I use to make homemade ketchup?

It is best to use meaty tomatoes that are low in water content and high in natural sweetness and acidity, such as Roma tomatoes, San Marzano tomatoes, or heirloom tomatoes.

What is the process for making homemade ketchup?

To make homemade ketchup, you will need to simmer fresh tomatoes with spices, vinegar, and sweeteners to create a thick and flavorful sauce. The tomatoes are usually blended or strained to remove seeds and skins before cooking down to the desired consistency.

How long can homemade ketchup be stored?

Homemade ketchup can be stored in properly sealed jars for several years in a cool, dark area. Once opened, it should be refrigerated and can last for several months.

How can homemade ketchup be used?

Homemade ketchup can be used in various ways, such as a topping for burgers and hot dogs, a dipping sauce for fries and onion rings, or an ingredient in meatloaf and barbecue sauce.

What are the benefits of making homemade ketchup?

Making homemade ketchup allows for control over the ingredients, avoiding preservatives and unnecessary additives. It also allows for customization of flavors, can be more cost-effective, and helps reduce food waste.

What is the best way to can homemade ketchup?

To can homemade ketchup, follow a specific recipe and proper canning methods. This will ensure a safe and long-lasting preservation of the ketchup.

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