Spicy Green Ketchup PSA

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.


Spicy Green Ketchup (a.k.a. Abandon hope, all ye who enter here…)


  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).


  1. Make better (you know, edible, possibly even tasty) ketchup. Here’s a recipe. Here’s another.
  2. Buy ketchup at store. Even HFCS can’t be worse than this.
  3. 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.


  1. Thank you, I really needed some levity right now and this post gave it to me. (Plus, I love finding out food bloggers whose posts and recipes I enjoy have similar political and religious beliefs as my own).

    btw, I have never altered a recipe based solely on color but we did once host a potluck get together of friends where we decided, because we were all having trouble deciding what to bring, that everything had to start with c. Should have seen the mental calisthenics to allow the apples and shrimp at the table.


  2. Amy

    Thanks so much for this posting. It really made my day! I like to be able to see that I am not the only one with well meaning canning experiments that turn out into utter disasters. It is also in my nature to not throw away food, and we are on the last jar of the ultimately worst salsa I have ever tasted that I made last year. The party will start when that jar is finally eaten and the newer, much improved salsa can finally be opened!

  3. That was the funniest thing I’ve read all day…which isn’t much since i’m at work, but it was still very amusing 😀 I love that you still provided the recipe for disaster for the misguided folk that’d want to waste their pretty tomatoes too. Lol. I sent it along to my friend who’s recently complained that I’ve been making too much jam lately.

  4. I love that you wrote about a canning failure. I have them on occasion myself (there’s a batch of painfully sweet tomato jam that I made, canned and can’t bring myself to ever open again) but never do I post them to the blog. Brave and hilarious.

  5. I have a few not-so-exciting attempts at various recipes stored away in drafts, but I figure I’ll tweak them and eventually have something I’d be willing to share. This one however? Pretty sure I’m NEVER going to make anything like this again (at least I sure hope not).

    It’s easy, and I think natural, to make things look all sunshine & roses on a blog; we naturally want to showcase our work in its best light. But I try to remind myself that the splattered stove, the mounds of dishes and yes, the utter failures are, in a strange way, all part of the fun.

    As for too-sweet tomato jam – that’s an easy one. Add a whole bunch of vinegar and turn it into a glaze/sauce for roasted chicken. Then, when it turns out beautifully you can be all “Yeah, I meant to do that.” 🙂

  6. spamwise

    It doesn’t seem so bad.

    If you close your eyes, you too can convince yourself it’s a substitute for chimichurri sauce.

    Maybe. 😉

  7. zoe p.

    A great post about lots of ug. I just made a zucchini relish that was way too sweet. That’s what *I* get for slavishly following someone else’s stupid recipe. Darn you, epicurious!

    Of course it’s still taking up space in the fridge . . .

  8. barefootrooster

    thank you for this. i am laughing out loud this morning. happy to have encountered your blog in my search for tomato jam recipes — i will definitely keep reading!

  9. Pingback: Hot Corn Relish, Yet Again « Doris and Jilly Cook

  10. This made me laugh so hard! So your ugly brown ketchup was not for naught if you can bring laughter into someone’s day! ( though some of those republicans might not find the humour in a jar) !

  11. EL

    Love the post. I ran into it however looking for green tomato recipes on your site (as I love most of your recipes). I know that although you like gardening, you don’t get to do it much. But would you give us a couple of green tomato recipes? Right now I am thinking about trying the grilled corn salsa with green tomatoes. . .

    • I did make a green tomato chutney one year but I wasn’t a big fan (so it didn’t make it up here). I did, one year that I had some green tomatoes of my own, make the curried apple chutney with half apples and half green tomatoes: that one worked out a bit better. Other than that, I haven’t had much chance to play with them.

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