24 pounds ripe tomatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups onions chopped very fine or pureed in a food processor
1 head garlic (peeled up and pressed)
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 cups cider vinegar (white vinegar will do in a pinch)
3 tsp. whole cloves
3 sticks cinnamon broken up OR 3 tsp. powdered cinnamon
2 tsp. allspice
3 Tbsp. celery seed
1 Tbsp. whole peppercorns
1.5 cups sugar
Use Roma, Plum or other Italian sauce tomatoes and only a few big beefsteak or pink – use something with solid flesh.
Peel tomatoes using the scalding water method and then quarter the tomatoes, or pass them through a tomato food-mill. In a large, non-reactive stock pot, start frying the onions in the olive oil. After a minute or so, add the tomatoes and cayenne pepper. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
While the tomatoes are simmering, put the spices in a cheesecloth bag or a tea strainer. In another non-reactive pot boil the vinegar together with the spice bag. Once it has boiled for a minute, turn off the heat. When the tomatoes are ready, remove the spices and add the vinegar to the tomato mix. Return to boiling and simmer for 30 minutes. (It will start to make messy bubbles at this point). Let it cool for a bit (YES, cool it) and puree the mixture thoroughly in a food processor or blender.
Pour the mixture into a wide oven-proof (and still non-reactive) pan or pot and put it in the oven at 300 degrees (the wider the better). Let it reduce in the oven by about 50% - check every 20-30 minutes. This may take up to 2 hours. When it is done it should mound on the back of a spoon without separating. Remove the thin, dry skin that has formed on the top of the ketchup.
Ladle the ketchup into clean, sterilized jars with 1/4 inch headroom. Process the pint jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
Makes 6 pints. Enjoy! -Diana