This homemade tomato ketchup will make you wonder why you ever bought a ketchup bottle from the store! Made with fresh tomatoes, and without any preservatives, it is delicious, healthy, and super easy to make.
Tomato ketchup is quite a staple in most kitchen pantries. Every snack needs to be served with green chutney and tomato sauce. No ketchup is better than this homemade tomato ketchup made with fresh tomatoes.
In India, we often use the term ketchup and sauce interchangeably. When we say tomato sauce, 90% of the time it means tomato ketchup, while in a more Continental region, tomato sauce will mostly mean pasta sauce. This is the Indian style tomato ketchup recipe without preservatives. I call it Indian style, because I season it with a little homemade garam masala that really adds a kick to the ketchup. We we love to spread it in our sandwiches, dunk our parathas or samosas in, and I also add it to my tawa pulao! In fact, no kids menu is complete without tomato ketchup.
But the sad part is that most kids think that ketchup comes out of the bottle we buy at the supermarket. “But ketchup comes from the shop!” is what my 10-year-old niece had said when I was asking my mom for her tomato ketchup recipe. The idea that ketchup can be made with fresh tomatoes at home, is very alien. And it’s not their fault because this is what mostly happens. Everything is so readily available in the market now that it is easy to just put that bottle of tomato ketchup in the shopping basket.
How to make tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes?
This recipe comes from my mother’s home science notebook, almost a 50 years old recipe (maybe even more) but it makes the tastiest and freshest tomato ketchup even today, without any harmful chemicals or preservatives. It is from scratch with just 7 ingredients. I always use fresh tomatoes. This tomato ketchup recipe is vegan and without any onion or garlic, though you can add them. In fact, it is fun to try out different veggie additions to the ketchup for different flavors. Try switching some red tomatoes with green ones or instead of garam masala, add some dried oregano or Mexican seasoning. Cooking has to fun 🙂
The sugar and vinegar act as preservatives. The sugar also cuts the acidity of the tomato sauce. If you want to create a sugar-free tomato ketchup, try using coconut sugar instead or any other sugar-free sweetener of your choice.
- 1 kg tomatoes (fresh*)
- 2 green chilies , optional
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp black salt
- ½ tsp ginger powder
- ½ tsp garam masala powder
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Wash and cut the tomatoes into big chunks and put in a big pot along with the whole chilies**. Cook covered over medium heat until the tomatoes become soft. You don’t need to add any water. Occasionally stir the tomatoes in between. Takes about 25-30 mins.
Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature. Discard the whole chilies and then grind the boiled tomatoes to a paste in a mixer.
Sieve the tomato paste to remove the skin and seeds. If you feel the need, sieve twice. This will make the sauce very smooth. You could skip the steps till here if you are using tomato puree.
Return the tomato paste into the pan and bring to a boil on medium heat. After one boil, add sugar, salt, ginger powder, and garam masala.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer the tomato sauce till is very thick. Takes about 15 minutes. The sauce will start to spurt in the center when ready. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
Remove from heat, mix in the vinegar, and leave it to cool before storing in sterilized jars or bottles.
- *I always use fresh tomatoes but to make things faster, you can use tomato puree or canned tomatoes but then you are again adding those preservatives in your sauce.
- **Whole chilies impart just a slightly spicy flavor to the sauce. Add them chopped if you like it hot or omit them completely.
- Nutritional Info is for 100 g ketchup.
How long does the homemade ketchup last
The homemade ketchup will stay good in sterilized airtight jars in the refrigerator for 3-4 months. For longer life, you may want to add a little sodium benzoate to the ketchup but I prefer making a fresh batch every 3 months or so.
How to sterilize ketchup jars:
Make sure the jars you use are sterilized and completely dry. To sterilize, you can either wash them in the dishwasher or place them in a pot of boiling water. Boil for a minute, remove and let air dry.
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