Ketchup is very simple to make and is so much more flavorful than anything you can buy at the store. We don’t like it to be too sweet and like to add only 3 to 4 tablespoons of sugar to the pot, but if you prefer, add a little more to make the ketchup sweeter. The sweetness of tomatoes can range, too, so it really is best to taste the ketchup and add the sugar to taste.
You can also play around with flavors, this version has a kick of spice from crushed red pepper flakes, but you could add fresh jalapeño, chipotle or hot sauce to transform it into spicy ketchup. Other spices are nice, too — try curry powder or garam masala for an Indian-spiced version.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced into half moons
2 garlic cloves, chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
One 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional for spicy ketchup
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice
2 to 5 tablespoons brown sugar, depending on how sweet you like your ketchup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
Heat oil over medium heat then add onions and cook until they are softened, sweet and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and allspice then cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until it turns from red to a burnt orange color, about 2 minutes.
Add the can of tomatoes with juice, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, cider vinegar, a generous pinch of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir, and then taste to check and see if you need to add more sugar (we usually end up adding a total of 3 to 4 tablespoons).
Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat slightly and cook at a low simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and shiny, about 20 minutes. Taste then adjust with more sugar, salt or pepper.
Blend until smooth, let cool to room temperature then refrigerate up to one month.