Roasted Red Pepper KetchupI’ve been making this ketchup recipe for years, and it’s super-delicious.  I give jars of preserves as gifts at Ecksmas, and literally have people fighting over these ones in particular (the people who love the Mango Chutney are, oddly, much more chill about it). 

As with most canning, this recipe is mostly just washing things – the canning jars and lids, the produce, the tools you’re using – and prepping the produce; once it goes in the pot, it’s very simple.  

I know it looks like a lot of steps, but if you give it a quick read-through, you’ll see they’re all pretty straightforward.  I like to make sure each action is a separate step, because if you’re like me, you might accidentally skip steps if they aren’t listed individually.  

One piece of advice: get all of the ingredients & equipment out on the counter to make sure you’ve got what you need before getting started. Better to realize that you’re out of cider vinegar before you’re in the middle of things, and it’s always nice to have everything right to hand as you need it. 

This recipe is based on one in Put’Em Up by Sherri Brooks Vinton; I totally recommend this book for really good, unusual recipes that make preserves people will actually be glad to get (Link goes to the Goodreads page for the book).

Roasted Red Pepper Ketchup

Approx 12 cups
 
Time: Maybe 30-40 minutes of prep, 2 hours of simmering, and another 20-30 minutes to can and process the ketchup. All in, we’re talking about 4 hours, none of it very intense or difficult.
 
Roasted Red Pepper KetchupIngredients
 
4 pounds ripe tomatoes
4 pounds ripe red bell peppers
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cup cider vinegar
2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
Cooking oil
 
Equipment

Most of the items listed below are standard canning equipment that you will be able to use over and over.

Roasted Red Pepper KetchupA kitchen scale (for weighing produce)
Large Pot
Bowl
Ice
Immersion blender (you could probably do this with a regular blender, but it will be a lot more work and annoyance)
Sharp Knife
chopping board
12 250mL canning jars with brand-new lids
Canning funnel
Slotted spoon
Ladle
Rubber spatula or similar
Clean cloth
Jar-lifting tongs
Canning pot

Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven broiler.
  2. Wash red peppers thoroughly.
  3. Place red peppers on a shallow baking tray.
  4. Lightly coat red peppers with oil.
  5. Place tray of red peppers in oven, about 4″ from the top element.
  6. Broil peppers, turning to allow them to blacken slightly on each side.
  7. Remove peppers from the oven and allow to cool. ** note below
  8. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  9. Prepare an ice water bath in a large bowl or clean sink.
  10. Drop tomatoes in the water, 2 or 3 at a time.
  11. Blanch tomatoes for approximately 1 minute each – water should be at or near boiling, and tomato skins should split.
  12. Remove tomatoes from the water with a slotted spoon or similar, and immediately plunge in the ice-water bath.
  13. Cool tomatoes for approximately 1 minute.
  14. Remove tomatoes form the ice water bath.
  15. Roasted Red Pepper KetchupRemove skins from tomatoes – they should pull off pretty easily – and discard.
  16. Core and roughly chop tomatoes, discarding cores.
  17. Core and roughly chop roasted red peppers, discarding seeds, stems, cores, and skins.
  18. Combine tomatoes, red peppers, onion, vinegar, salt, garlic, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves in a large nonreactive saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  19. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. ** note below
  20. Remove from heat, and puree mixture with an immersion blender (be careful of splattering sauce!).
  21. Return puree to stove and simmer over low heat until thickened, approximately two hours (possibly longer, depending on how you prefer your ketchup consistency), stirring occasionally. ** note below
  22. Wash your 250mL jars, new lids, funnel, ladle, and any other tools in hot, soapy water. **see note
  23. Once the mixture has reached your desired consistency, remove from heat
  24. Using a ladle, fill jars with hot ketchup mixture, leaving a ½ inch headspace at the top. 
  25. Using a rubber spatula or similar, remove air bubbles by running it around the edges of the jar as needed.
  26. Wipe the rims of the jar with a clean cloth, and add lid and screw band.  Finger-tighten screw band; do not over-tighten.
  27. Place in boiling water bath, ensuring at least 1 inch of water above the tops of the lids.
  28. Bring water back to a boil.
  29. Roasted Red Pepper KetchupProcess the jars of ketchup in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes (if you’re more than 1000 feet above sea level, water bath times are different! Look them up online before starting).
  30. Remove jars from water bath carefully, without bumping or jostling.  Allow to cool undisturbed overnight.
  31. Test the lids of the jars to see if they’ve sealed properly – a proper seal means the lids are bowed down in a bit in the centre and don’t move when pressed. If the lids pop up and down when you press them, they haven’t sealed properly and can’t be stored at room temperature. It’s possible to reprocess the jars with a brand-new lid to see if they will seal properly, but otherwise they should be stored in the fridge and eaten early.
  32. Store jars in a cool, dark place until you’re ready to use them.  Check occasionally to ensure that the screw bands aren’t rusting – this can cause the seal to break.
 
 Roasted Red Pepper Ketchup** Re: Step 7 – you can actually do this hours ahead if you like.  Pop them in while you’re having breakfast or whatever. Ideally, give yourself enough time that they cool so you don’t burn your fingers while coring/seeding them.
 
** Re: Step 19 – seriously, don’t wander off and forget to stir it – if it burns on the bottom of the pan, it’s going to be ruined.  Occasional stirring is fine, no need to stand over it for two hours.
 
**Re: Step 21 – I never allow it to thicken enough because I always think one and a half hours will be enough and that it will thicken as it cools, and so my ketchup is always a little on the runny side for my taste.  Do not follow my example – it will not thicken much as it cools.  This note is for my own benefit as much as yours.
 
**Re: Step 22 – wash everything that will come into contact with the food going into the jars, even if it’s already clean.  This is so important for safety, I can’t stress it enough.
 
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