Tomato Ketchup Recipe: The tomato’s finest hour

Tomato Ketchup Recipe: The tomato’s finest hour

The time: The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is a fall of tawny leaves and a breath of woodsmoke away. The garden vines are blushing a musk of passing summer and the bounty of tomatoes collects, more bruised and pulpy, in the pantry bowl.

Oh, man, what a perfect time to stock up preserves of rich and unctuous tomato ketchup – blopped on smoked gammon, cheering up a cornish pasty or smeared on a winter morn’s sausage…it is the tomato’s finest hour.

Inspired by: BBC culinary adventurer, Valentine Warner, this is the tomato ketchup that Astrid and I look forward to making with all the end of season assorted tomatoes from both our indoor and outdoor vines. If you don’t grow them, then shop at markets, when the day is fading, and buy up all the left-behind lumpy ones cheaply.

As you can see from the before and after bowls you actually get a lot of usable produce from your tomatoes. We use a little gadget which de-seeds tomatoes and all our soft fruits alike. It’s as common as a coffee pot in Italian households and it saves so much work prepping. Just shove the fruit/tomatoes in the top, wind the handle and waste goes one way, produce the other.


Learn more about the Tomato seed and pulp separator from The Intelligent Gardener Passata Machine, as above.

Home-made Tomato Ketchup Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook/Chill Time: 3 hours, 45 minutes


  • 3kg (6lbs) tomatoes pulped as above or food mixer processed and sieved
  • A couple of onions and garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 250 ml of white wine or cider vinegar and 150 ml of malt vinegar
  • 200g (7oz) light muscavado sugar and a four-finger grab of sea salt
  • A teaspoon each of mustard powder, ground cloves, celery salt, allspice and white pepper plus half a teaspoon of ground ginger
  • Throw in a cinnamon stick to finish, but keep your eye on it.


  1. The recipe: Find a big (non-aluminium) pan and pour in all the ingredients, bring to the boil and then down to a gentle simmer for three hours or so.
  2. Finishing touches: When all is reduced and thickened find the rogue stick of cinnamon and remove it. Blitz the mixture with a handmixer, sieve it finely into another stainless steel pan and slowly simmer until the mix feels thick enough on your spoon to rate as ketchup. Watch out as you stir because this mix contains sugar and vinegar that will deliver a bloop-spit liquid temperature akin to molten lava.
  3. Storage: Pour hot into sterilised bottles and jars that you can bear to have on your table. Squirrel the ketchup away for a month before use and once open keep refrigerated.


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