The gardens have been fairly prolific this year and I wanted to try my hand at ketchup, with a twist. As I was walking through the meadow between the old growth pine forest and the newer stand of hardwoods I stumbled upon a patch of sheep sorrel and decided the lemony zest would be an excellent addition to the ketchup I wanted to make.
This is slow food at its finest as the ingredients were tended to with care from mid March as little seeds to moments before they became part of our meal. I enjoy the repetitive task of watering, nurturing little seedlings into plants and then caring for them once tucked into the garden soil. The hours I spend weeding, watering, and observing the gardens are some of my favorite moments of my day. The insects or birds that decide to accompany me each day varies and I enjoy the challenge of getting to know them.
Every winter I decide what plants I will grow the next year and if i need seeds, some of our favorites are from seeds I’ve saved for several years. I decided to list the vegetables I chose so if you liked you also could obtain seeds for next year and grow a ketchup garden. I know you could easily adapt this recipe for any tomato you like. I think the secret ingredient and the roasting just might be what makes this a family favorite recipe. The other secret to this recipe is the memories you make wandering your local meadows and reconnecting with nature.
Yellow Pear (heirloom)
The yellow pear is a family favorite so it is always planted in our garden. It is a sweet and mild flavored but small like a cherry tomato, only tear drop shaped. These are indeterminate tomatoes, meaning they will need trellising. Mine are about 6′ tall each year.
I have never grown this tomato before. I chose this one because a friend has a stand and these looked like a nice choice for an eating tomato. They have been very easy to grow and have a great flavor.
Orange Jazz (heirloom)
This is also my first year for growing the Orange Jazz and I am in love with it. It’s considered a beefsteak and mine have grown quite large. This tomato seems to have less seeds and no inner core like many tomatoes do. I will be saving seeds from it since it is an heirloom.
I decided on growing russets because they grow nice and large and keep better than some of the thinner skinned potatoes. We have learned they also make fantastic french fries!! I had a bumper crop in my little garden bringing in around 100 pounds in a small space.
Banana peppers are our favorite of all the peppers. I am known for consuming large amounts of pickled banana peppers. This year my plan was to have so many extras I could pickle several jars but for me it has not been a good pepper year.
Red onions are always my favorite onions. I like them on everything and I also like them pickled. I had quite a few planted but they are small this year. That said, they are still packed with lots of flavor!
Sorrel is a wild edible that we have where I live in Northern Michigan, but you can purchase seeds that have been cultivated to grow in your garden. The green leaves have a zesty lemony flavor that I just love and it is apparently part of the buckwheat family, seeds can be ate as well. As with all wild edibles be sure to use an abundance of caution and only eat things you know for sure are safe. There are many websites, videos, groups, experts that can help you. Cell phone APPs have also been created so you have tools at your fingertips while you are foraging.
So now to stop with the chatting and give you the recipe before tomato and pepper season has passed!!
Sorell & Roasted Tomato Ketchup
makes 2 quarts
1 Quart Celebrity tomatoes
3 Banana Peppers, deseeded and chopped
1 small red onion
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1-3 teaspoons salt (depending on the kind, salt to taste)
1/2 teaspoon of mustard seed
1 Tablespoon of smoked paprika
dash of clove powder
1 cup roasted tomatoes
5 medium sheep sorrel leaves
Roast the orange jazz and pear tomatoes in the oven until some of the skins are brown and starting to char. I did this at 425.
Bring all ingredients to a slow boil on the stove and simmer. I then use my immersion blender to start the blending process. I finish off the blending in my food processor and cook it down over a low heat until it reaches your desired thickness.
I ordered a manual fry slicer on Amazon. It is pretty simple, but I rather enjoy simple hand tools. After washing and peeling the potatoes I ran them though the fry slicer and soaked them several hours in cold water. I rinsed them a few times and then drained into a colander and laid on a towel to get most of the water off.
In this house we only use lard, tallow, and sometimes butter. The lard and tallow comes from local regenerative farms or hunting and our butter we do purchase at the store (which is why it isn’t something we use a lot of). I render the lard and tallow myself and store it for later use.
With the french fries I decided on lard for the cooking fat. I heated the oil until was hot enough for a fry to cook and sizzle when I first dropped in into the pot. I fried the batch through once, setting aside to drain and cool. I then fried them a second time at a little higher temperature.
Salt and pepper if you desire and of course the amazing ketchup!!
Knife, cutting board, large bowl, colander, vegetable peeler, 8 quart sauce pan, measuring cup, measuring spoons, immersion blender, food processor, large pot very deep so when you are frying the oil doesn’t come over the top (oil about half way up the sauce pan walls), strainer for pulling fries out of the hot oil, towels for drying and draining, apron and hot mitts.
A nice meadow to wander barefoot and find wild edibles, or just to sit and look up at the sky….
I hope you enjoy this recipe. It is now one of our favorites. I can’t keep it in the fridge!
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