Real Tomato Ketchup

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Summer is here, tomatoes are everywhere, and I cannot help but feel obligated to buy as many as I can, because I know they’ll be gone soon enough.

There are only so many things to do with an abundance of tomatoes. Sure, they’re great to eat in salads, but how can we savor their lusciousness into the fall? Personally, I find tomato sauce a bit boring. Why not try something different?

The following recipe is one I have had for ages. I love it because it tastes like regular ketchup, only better. You can experiment with the spices to suit your own taste. And try it with different tomatoes like deep purple, green or yellow ones. If you are into canning, it makes a great gift. Or just keep a jar of it in the fridge for your own personal use!

Once you make your own ketchup, you’ll have a hard time going back to the bottled stuff.

Real Tomato Ketchup
Makes about 1 quart


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, minced
8 cloves garlic minced
8 large tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 cinnamon sticks, crushed
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring, until golden brown. Add tomatoes, honey, vinegar, cinnamon sticks and cloves, and stir to moisten. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add allspice, celery seed, mustard and paprika, and cook another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
  2. Working in batches, run sauce through a food processor, blender, or food mill until it becomes a smooth puree. Strain through a wire mesh strainer back into the saucepan and place over high heat. Cook, stirring continuously, and reduce until the sauce reaches desired thickness, about 10-15 minutes. Chill before serving.

Heirloom_Tomato_Ketchup[1] (2)


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This summer I am committed to perfecting my BBQ repertoire.  I’m working on my dry rubs, experimenting with smokers, curing, and sausage making.  But no matter how much time I put into the meat, it’s not enough.  The people demand their sides.  Coleslaw is the only thing I really need.  But if I don’t provide some type of cornbread, all hell breaks loose.

I have been making this recipe for years.  I swiped it from a woman I worked with in the 1980’s.  I have no idea what happened to her, but her cornbread is still going strong.  I like to make this recipe in a brownie pan (because it’s easier) but they can be easily made in a brownie pan for easy transport in a backpack or picnic basket.  You might also like to omit the cheese, chili, and corn and serve them with honey and jam.


2 cup all-purpose flour
1 TB. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups cornmeal
8 oz. (2 sticks) butter
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup Monterey jack, grated
1/4 cup chopped green chilies, (or one small can, drained)
1 cup corn kernels, fresh, frozen, or canned and drained


  1. Preheat oven to 375˚F. Coat a 9×13-inch brownie pan with butter or pan spray. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the cornmeal and set aside.
  2. Beat together butter and honey until creamy. Add eggs one at a time. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk. Stir in cheese, chilies and corn.
  3. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, then bake at 375˚F until risen and golden brown, about 20-30 minutes. A pick inserted into the middle should come out clean.

Cool for 15 minutes before removing. Store airtight at room temperature for 2 days, or freeze for up to 2 weeks.