Roasted Red Pepper Ketchup

I was thrilled to get this month’s Can Jam assignment — tomatoes all the way, chosen by my buddy Julia — because I knew it would give me a chance to redeem my favorite condiment. Ketchup, ketchup, ketchup. I love ketchup. When I was a kid, I’d sometimes insist on eating a hot dog bun with just ketchup — no wieners, please. My father and I would squabble over having the ugly bottle at the dinner table. I still put ketchup on my scrambled eggs, to the complete horror of many breakfast companions.

This ketchup is so grown up that I can’t imagine anyone turning it away from the table or getting squeamish if I gently spoon some on my eggs. (Because, really, isn’t part of the problem with ketchup that whoopee-cushion sploosh it makes when you turn the bottle upside down and squeeze? We’ll have no more of that.) It’s Roasted Red Pepper Ketchup from the new book Put ’em Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton. I love this recipe, and she’s graciously given me permission to share it with you here.

Have you seen Put ’em Up! yet? I am a total fussbudget about books of all kinds — especially books that want to tell me how to do something. This book is both beautiful and clear. Yeah, I’ve found a couple of typos, but still, I want to start on page one and work my way right through to the end. (I’m particularly interested in exploring her many techniques for drying stuff — fruits, veggies, flowers, herbs.) Stewart even remarked on the book’s cool design when he walked into the kitchen, and I can’t think of when he’s leaned over and paged through one of my preserving books before. He said, “This has a lot of interesting things in it that aren’t jam.” Ahem. I think that was a hint. But he’s right: mushroom confit, martini onions, cherry-walnut relish and, yes, ketchup!

My only added recommendation for the following recipe is that you roast your red peppers first. This gives them a chance to cool down so you can handle them and get the skins off when you need them. Instructions for roasting the peppers are at the bottom of this post.

Roasted Red Pepper Ketchup

Excerpted from Put ’em Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton, with permission from Storey Publishing.
Makes about 4 cups

2 pounds tomatoes
2 pounds red bell peppers
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tablespoon salt
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1. Prepare an ice-water bath in a large bowl or clean sink.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop the tomatoes into the water, no more than 1 pound at a time, and return to a boil. Blanch for 1 minute.
3. Scoop the tomatoes out of the water with a spider or slotted spoon and plunge them into the ice-water bath. Continue blanching the tomatoes in batches. Remove from the ice bath and drain. Peel, core, and crush the tomatoes. [Blog author’s note: I’m including a link to a “spider” because I didn’t know what it was!]
4. Char the bell peppers (as described below) and roughly chop.
5. Combine the tomato pulp, peppers, onion, vinegar, brown sugar, salt, garlic, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves in a large nonreactive saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Remove from the heat and puree with a stick blender. (Be careful of the boiling mixture — hot things are hot.)
6. Return the puree to the heat and simmer over low heat until thickened, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove from the heat.
Refrigerate: Ladle into bowls or jars. Cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to three weeks.
Can: Use the boiling-water method. Ladle into clean, hot 4-ounce or half-pint canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Release trapped air. Wipe the rims clean; center lids on the jars and screw on jar bands. Process for 15 minutes. Turn off heat, remove canner lid, and let jars rest in the water for 5 minutes. Remove jars and set aside for 24 hours. Check seals, then store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

Thanks, Sherri!

And here are instructions for roasting those peppers . . .

Roasted Red Peppers (Oven Broiler Method)

Preheat your broiler. Wash and dry the peppers, then lightly coat them with a flavorless oil, like canola or grapeseed. (I used sunflower oil, spraying it on with a Misto oil sprayer.) Place the peppers about 4 inches underneath the heating element, either directly on the oven rack or on a sheet of tin foil. Let the peppers blacken in spots. Turn them as needed to roast all surfaces.

Remove the peppers from the oven and drop them into a heatproof bowl. Cover the bowl with a big plate for 5 minutes. (Don’t leave them covered any longer or they’ll get too soft.) Let the peppers cool until you can comfortably handle them. Remove the skins, seeds, and stems, and use the peppers as called for in your recipe.

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  • Reply Cyn August 19, 2010 at 1:11 am

    What a great book. I'm excited by the drying and freezing that's included in it.

    I cannot wait to try this ketchup! And I'm gonna put it on my eggs in your honor.

  • Reply kaela August 19, 2010 at 1:22 am

    Ooooh, I've so wanted to try this one. Red peppers haven't quite made an appearance here in the Great Northeast; even with this summer's crazy sunshine, they probably won't hit markets in abundance for another week or two.

    And I, too, am an afficianado of ketchup on eggs; ketchup WITH Tabasco, red AND green varieties if at all possible. That'll wake you up in the morning!

  • Reply Julia August 19, 2010 at 2:12 am

    Kudos to you for this lovely ketchup! I like the addition of red peppers, but as Kaela notes, they haven't shown their faces yet in our parts. Now you have a little jar to go with you every where!

  • Reply Denise | Chez Danisse August 19, 2010 at 2:46 am

    I just might have to try this. I like the roasted red peppers, the spices, the manageable portions… And it looks good. Nice pick!

    Any thoughts on which types of tomatoes serve ketchup recipes best?

  • Reply growandresist August 19, 2010 at 5:24 am

    Ketchup…the condiment of choice. Always!
    Sounds great!

  • Reply laundryetc August 19, 2010 at 8:08 am

    Another great recipe to try. I need to get my hands on more tomatoes. Reckon this is a store cupboard essential (plus I now want the book!) Inspiring.

  • Reply Shae | Hitchhiking to Heaven August 20, 2010 at 6:11 am

    Cyn: We'll have to compare notes on drying projects. And I had this ketchup on my eggs this morning. It works!

    Kaela: My ketchup, your salsa — and our eggs are covered. I'm surprised with all your heat that you haven't got peppers yet. Mine are coming in super slowly, so I had to buy some for this recipe (organic, of course, since they're one of the "dirty dozen"). At least the price has been dropping here lately.

    Jules: Pocket ketchup!

    Denise: Yes, I could see you doing something like this one. For this purpose, I like the tomatoes I grow, which are not many, but all compact and flavorful varieties. I'd just want to avoid the big watery ones, cuz that means less flavor and more cooking time.

    Meg: Thanks, you!

    Gloria: Don't you think? I'm just getting the hang of why you can't actually have too many tomatoes. :-)

  • Reply Cathy @ ShowFoodChef August 20, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    This looks absolutely delish! Glad you chose it, I'd love to give it a try.

  • Reply Elle Ross August 21, 2010 at 12:35 am

    Yum! I really need to get my hands on that book..

  • Reply Shae | Hitchhiking to Heaven August 25, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Cathy: Thanks for stopping by. Your Cowboy Tomato Jam looks like one of the highlights of the August Can Jam roundup to me. :-)

    Elle: Yes! I can't wait to learn more from it.

  • Reply @ItalianCooking September 8, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Tomatoes & peppers are just coming on strong so I'm going to make this tonight and can it. Thanks for the post! BTW I found this on the Punk Domestic Site.

  • Reply Shae | Hitchhiking to Heaven September 15, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Italian Cooking: I'm glad to know you popped over here from Punk Domestics. Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. I'd love to hear how it went for you.

  • Reply Lisa January 31, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Hello again,
    I’m living in Ireland. I’m so happy I found this site. I don’t know anyone that cans the boiling water way. Why is that way “better” than sterilizing your jars, adding your jam, sealing and inverting. I’m not an experienced jam maker, so at the risk of being shunned, I humbly ask this question.

    • Reply Lynn Ayres July 10, 2012 at 7:13 pm

      Thought I’d reply while my batch is simmering on the stove. Re water-baths…I will process this as indicated but I’d like to make a comment. I’m sure the rest of the world does not further process. I think, we here in North America, sometimes go a bit overboard. Sometimes so overboard in some things that we lose any nutritional benefit. I mean, look at cheese. Here in Canada, raw cheese is almost a no-no. Heaven forbid we eat raw cheese. Having spent much time in France I can tell you I ate as much raw cheese as I could and I’m still alive! Back to canning, it is only in the last few decades that further processing has been recommended. I know many older cooks who do not and no one ever got ill. The same goes for jams and jellies. Just bought Christine Ferber’s book and I can tell you I will be following her instructions exactly and that includes no further processing.

      • Reply Shae July 11, 2012 at 8:36 am

        Hi Lynn: I try always to provide U.S. government recommended processing instructions, but that doesn’t always reflect what I do in my own kitchen. (Here, I am giving the recipe as written it Sherri’s wonderful book.) I think it’s wise for everyone to have the official recommendations, do further research if they like, and decide for themselves. I hope you enjoy the ketchup!

  • Reply Shae January 31, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    Hi Lisa: I hope no one would shun you for asking a good question! I suggest you read this document from the National Center for Home Preservation. (I link to it from the bottom of my Recipes page, too.) If you scroll down in the NCHP article, you’ll find an explanation of why that organization prefers a water-bath canning method. On a purely vain note, I don’t like to invert my jars at any time because it gets food on the lid and mucks up a clean head space. If you’re inclined to enter preserves in a county fair or any such thing, you don’t want that. :-)

  • Reply Tomatoes 3 Ways {Sauce, Salsa & Ketchup} « Born in the Wrong Century September 24, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    […] The recipe is available at: Hitchhiking to Heaven. […]

  • Reply Canning and Preserving: A Season’s Reflection and Looking Ahead | autumn makes and does November 3, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    […] Roasted Red Pepper Ketchup from Put ‘em Up! (via Hitchhiking to Heaven) […]

  • Reply Ivriniel October 8, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    I also make this recipe but I substitute a bit of the red pepper with a little chipotle in adobe sauce. Gives it a bit of smoky heat.

    • Reply Shae October 16, 2017 at 4:25 pm

      Thank you for that suggestion. Sounds great!

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