This is a publice service announcement: do not make this ketchup. Do not even attempt this at home. We here at Local Kitchen are highly-trained professional Recipe Destroyers; we can’t take the responsibility for any destruction that may result from attempting this recipe in your home kitchen.
Dreadful, disasterous, disgusting; none of these descriptors seem to adequately convey just how bad this ketchup is (oh, the travails of the food-blogger!). Really, the only word for this ketchup is god-awful (although that seems an insult to God, for whom, short of not believing in Him/Her/It, I have nothing but respect.). It all started innocently enough: it was the August Can Jam, and tomato recipes were flying about these here Interwebs. Lots of peeps were making ketchup; I had never made ketchup and wanted to give it a try. I could have used one of these (assuredly) lovely ketchup recipes, but noooooooooo; we all know that I Can’t Leave Well Enough Alone. And I had these glorious green zebra tomatoes (Oh, how I weep for your lost potential, green zebras. Please forgive me.) so I thought “Hey, I’ll put all sorts of green things into a ketchup!” Oh, yes; you too will rue the day, my friends, that you base a recipe solely on color.
Green zebras, tomatillos, jalapenos, lime juice, coriander, green cardamom, bay leaf for Pete’s sake. If I had had any green M&Ms, I probably would have thrown those in as well. Not that it would’ve saved this mess. I tried to salvage it with sugar, honey, apple juice… then I just gave up, canned it, and hoped (not very convincingly) that it would mellow on the shelf. And by “mellow” I mean “magically transform from ugly, vile-tasting brown gunk into something vaguely edible.”
My friend Ali raises a good point when she asks: “Why don’t you just throw it out?” I wish I could – really – I just can’t. I am constitutionally unable to throw away food (don’t judge people; I’m a Yankee who was raised by Depression-era parents. If we thrifty Yankees didn’t frown upon those “quacks” known as psychiatrists, I’d probably be working through this with my therapist). I thought about giving it away, but really; there’s no one I hate that much. I thought about sending it down to the Dove World Outreach Center with a “goes perfectly with rabid hate-mongering!” note, but we are supposed to be teaching them about love (and they might decide that it was The Devil’s Ketchup and send it to Afghanistan; I really don’t want my misguided kitchen experiments causing a Holy War). In the end, I just stuck it with the rest of the jars down in the garage. It might come in handy; who knows? Mabye the mailman will hit our mailbox post yet again and really, really piss me off.
A note about non-food-related and potentially politically-charged and/or sensitive topics: friends, I joke. It’s how we Irish-Scottish-Finnish-Catholic-children-of-Depression-era-parents Yankees cope. Despite my lefty-liberal-leanings, I love Republicans, many of whom are among my best friends. I can even, in my better moments, feel a great sadness for the members of the Dove World Outreach Center; sadness and yes, pity, that fear has so overwhelmed their hearts that the only option they see is to burn a book – a Holy book – in order to banish that fear. So here is my advice to you: Hold love in your hearts. Hug a Republican. And never, ever, make this ketchup. Amen.
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 and 1/2 lbs green zebra tomatoes
- 1/2 lb tomatillos, husked & rinsed
- 3 oz (about 3 large) jalapenos, stems removed and roughly chopped
- 1 Cippolinni onion (1.5 oz), peeled and quartered
- 1/2 tsp white peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp coriander seed
- 5 green cardamom pods
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 6 tbsp sugar (organic evaporated cane juice)
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1/4 cup frozen concentrated apple juice
- In a blameless pot or Dutch oven, add vinegar, lime juice, tomatoes, tomatillos, jalapenos, onions and salt, along with a spice bag or tea infuser packed with your ill-advised spice choices, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Run mixture through a food mill to yield no-longer-fetchingly-green pulp.
- Return pulp to Dutch oven. Waste an hour of your life (that you’ll never get back) stirring, stirring, stirring over medium-low heat. Add sugar, honey and frozen apple juice concentrate in a desperate attempt to make this mixture taste non-disgusting.
- Fool yourself into thinking that it might ‘mellow on the shelf’ by ladling hot disgusting brown gunk ketchup into hot, sterilized jars and processing in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
Yields far too much (or about 3 quarter-pints).
- Make better (you know, edible, possibly even tasty) ketchup. Here’s a recipe. Here’s another.
- Buy ketchup at store. Even HFCS can’t be worse than this.
- Feed to Republicans anti-Muslim bigots chickens (Chickens! I said chickens!).
If you must, you can store it in the deepest, darkest corner of your pantry. If you’re lucky, you’ll forget about it for the next 5 years, then have perfect justifcation in throwing it out.
I know the Bible tells us “for everything there is a season…”; but King James never ran into this ketchup.