JUNE 15, 2011

The supermaket shelves are lined with bbq sauces, ketchup, salad dressings, and marinades. Over the past couple of years, I have stopped purchasing almost everything and anything, such as the list above, that can easily be made with pantry ingredients. I have always made my own salad dressings, I keep jars of homemade barbeque sauce in the fridge, and making fresh salsa could not be easier. My freezer is filled to capacity with chicken stock, beef stock, vegetable stock, marinara sauce, bolognese, pesto, doughs of all kinds, and red enchilada sauce.

I have spent the last three months trying my hand at ketchup.  The first few batches were very “vinegary”. Others were too spicy. The rest were too thick.  I have lots of ketchup that I can not throw away. I have found ways to  use up the not-so-perfect ketchup. My BBQ sauce calls for 4 1/2 cups, I slather my turkey loaf with ketchup before baking, and my homemade baked beans uses 28 ounces of ketchup.  Needless to say, I have a lot of barbeque sauce on hand.  Who wants some?

My kids use a lot of ketchup.  They like it on their sliders, they eat it with yam fries, roasted potatoes, turkey meatloaf, and chicken burgers. We were going through a lot of ketchup and although I knew what ingredients were in a bottled ketchup, I closed my eyes and looked the other way.  I can no longer look the other way.  If I am consciously trying to fill my kids up with as much organic fruits, veggies and other sources of fuel as possible, how could I possibly feel good about giving them ketchup made with things I cannot pronounce?

Through lots of trial and error, I think I have come up with one that my kids don’t turn their nose up to. Isaac, the finicky one, gobbled it up and Eli paid me the ultimate compliment.  After administering the taste test, he said, “mom, this tastes like Umami Burger’s ketchup”. Bingo!  We have a winner!

My friend, “M” has tomato plants growing wild in her backyard.  I may have to do a little bartering – tomatoes in exchange for homemade ketchup. How could she possibly refuse?