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    Tomato Ketchup

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    Tomato Ketchup

    Ketchup is a legacy of the Raj - the British presence in India - which gave us a taste for spicy, sweet-sour sauces. Making your own ketchup allows you to experiment with spices: you could replace the ground ginger with fresh, for instance, or include a couple of fiery, dried chillies. It's hard to estimate the yield, one tomato being more watery than another. Just simmer until it looks and tastes right.

    • Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus infusing
    • Cooking time: up to 2 hours
    • Total time: 2 hours 45 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 45 minutes

    Makes: about 800ml


    • 4kg ripe tomatoes
    • 300ml clear, pickling malt vinegar
    • 200g caster sugar
    • 8 cloves
    • 1 tsp ground ginger
    • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
    • 1/2 tsp white peppercorns
    • 2-3 bay leaves
    • 1 tsp salt


    1. Rinse and roughly chop the tomatoes. Put them in a preserving pan with the other ingredients and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and bubble gently on a low heat for about 30 minutes. The tomatoes release lots of juice, so the mix shouldn't stick.
    2. When you have a thickish, aromatic mush, remove from the pan and push the mix through a sieve, leaving the debris and spices behind. Adjust the seasoning. Return the purée to the pan and bring back to the boil, turn down to a simmer, and reduce to a rich, thick sauce. How long this takes depends on the water content of the tomatoes and the width of the pan, but allow anything up to 1½ hours. Taste and adjust the seasoning and sugar. Pour through a funnel into jars or bottles (375ml wine bottles are ideal) which have been sterilised by being put through a dishwasher cycle, or washed in hot, soapy water and dried in a low oven. Fill to the top and cork, or seal with jam pot covers. When cold, keep in the fridge or a cool, dark larder.

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