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Great on burgers and hot dogs,

a tasty base ingredient for homemade barbecue sauce,

and has no high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives or fillers


6 lbs. fresh tomatoes (12 cups; about 18 medium-sized)

1 C. white vinegar

1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste

1½ C. granulated sugar

1 pouch of ketchup mix (find in store with canning supplies; 5 oz.)



You will need a large pot or saucepan, a slotted spoon, a strainer, a paring knife, a potato masher or food processor, a wooden spoon, a ladle, and freezer bags/refrigerator jars/canning supplies for storage.



Fill the pot half full of water and bring to a boil. Wash the tomatoes. Carefully drop them into the boiling water for a minute or two, 'til the skins crack away. Remove with a slotted spoon and let cool in a strainer.


When they are cool enough to handle, cut out and discard the cores, peel away the skins and remove a lot of the seeds.


Empty the water out of the pot. If you have a food processor, puree the tomatoes and pour them back into the pot. If you don't have a food processor, put the rest of the tomatoes back into the pot and crush with a potato masher.


On medium-high heat, bring the pureed or crushed tomatoes to a boil, stirring frequently. Once it boils, reduce heat and simmer for a half-hour or so.


Add tomato paste and vinegar. Stir, and turn up heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil again, stirring frequently. Add sugar and ketchup mix; combine well. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes. It should cling to the back of a wooden spoon. It will be a little more runny than store-bought ketchup, but will set up.


You can let cool and ladle into freezer containers (good for 1 year in the freezer), or can (40 minutes in a boiling water bath), refrigerate for up to two weeks . . . or use right away.


For a large garden club, consider purchasing jelly jars from the canning aisle at the store, and sending home 4-6 oz. of this great-tasting ketchup in a small jar with each student.


Note the picture above: you can have the students fill in pre-made canning labels or make their own with adhesive office address labels. Make the colorful tops from rounds of paper or fabric larger than the top of the jar. Use rickrack or ribbon to tie them, perhaps with a gift tag of cardstock with a hole punched in it for the ribbon to go through.






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