Sunday, September 25, 2016

Savory Sunday: Homemade Ketchup from Leftover Tomatoes

Guest post by Shelby Smith 

Do you have leftover tomatoes from your summer garden or have a few that have just begun to ripen? Those cracked, bruised, and small tomatoes can still be used as the main ingredient in these three popular sauces: Homemade ketchup, BBQ sauce and red sauce. These three recipes are easy, stress-free, and can save you money. 
Because ketchup is the base of the other recipes and I will describe how to make it and then note the changes in order to make the BBQ and red sauce. For this recipe I used ¾ cup of 'Red Currant' and 'Sun Gold' cherry tomatoes mixed together. Any large tomatoes should be cut in smaller pieces in order to cook evenly. Different types of tomatoes will have different flavored sauces. For example, 'Sun Gold' tomatoes are sweet so you won’t have to add or as much sugar to make your BBQ sauce.

·       ¾ cup of tomatoes cubed*
·       ¼ tsp of vinegar or Apple cider vinegar
·       Salt and pepper to taste
·       Sugar, if needed
*A ¾ cup of tomatoes makes enough Ketchup for one serving.
1.      In a pot, simmer the tomatoes on low and crush them with a whisk or fork to help release the juices. Do not boil.
2.      Gently simmer for 10 minutes and stir occasionally.
3.      When the tomatoes are soft and all the juice has been released, puree your sauce with a hand mixer or food processor. Add your salt, pepper, and sugar to your liking.
4.      When it’s pureed, strain out the skin and seeds through a piece of cheese cloth or a fine strainer.
5.      Bottle and store in the refrigerator or serve immediately.
Your ketchup will be thinner if you have more juice or add water to it. It will be thicker with less liquid. These sauces can be made on the stove or in bigger batches in a crock pot.
For the BBQ sauce, you will need your finished Ketchup as your base and then add whatever flavors you want, like mustard, powder, paprika, or chilies. I made my BBQ sauce by adding garlic, onion, sweet peppers, hot peppers, and some brown sugar to simmer with the ketchup and then pureed it again. I used the sauce to flavor some baked chicken thighs. Check out the Food Network for several types of BBQ sauces to try out.
A basic red sauce starts the same way as ketchup, but then you can garlic and herbs, like thyme, and oregano to add more flavor. Simmering the sauce for several hours gives the herb more time to add more flavor and give it a bolder taste. 
All of these sauces can be made to your own specification and stay fresh while refrigerated. Also, you could store them in labeled mason jars and give them away for unique gifts for the holidays. I would recommend making big batches with your friend and kids to show them how you can use leftovers in multiple ways and to get people involved in cooking with fresh ingredients.

"Savory Sunday" is a new weekly blog series with seasonal recipes from the garden.
About the Author:
Shelby Smith is a senior double major in multi-platform journalism and film studies at the University of Maryland College Park. She was a sports copy-editor for a campus publication called Unwind Magazine and a writer at The Campus Current newspaper at Anne Arundel Community College. 


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