How to Make Old Fashioned Ketchup: Preservative and Additive Free

What You'll Need

  • 12 lbs ripe plum or paste tomatoes, chopped in food processor or by hand
  • 2 cups diced yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup unrefined cane sugar or palm sugar
  • 2 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp finely ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbs sea salt, plus more to taste if desired 

This recipe suggests using the water bath canning method. If you are not familiar with the water bath canning method watch our water bath canning video workshop. Always make sure you are following all safety guidelines outlined by the USDA when canning anything.

Homemade condiments transform even the simplest of meals into something incredible, making us look (and taste!) again, at the things we take for granted. Red and yellow squeeze bottles have got nothin' on these exquisite flavors. It seems strange to use the word exquisite to describe ketchup...until you taste homemade ketchup. Suddenly, you'll find yourself dreaming, about what else you might slather ketchup on. 

It's concentrated tomato essence, cooked down to 25% of it's original volume. 

This recipe is inspired by some of the oldest recipes out there. It lacks the modern additives and preservatives that have commodified what many of us know as ketchup. 

Fair warning--you may never look at ketchup in quite the same way again.


Makes: 7 half pints.

Time: Approximately 3 hours

1. Pre-Cook the Tomatoes and Onions

In a heavy bottomed stock pot combine tomatoes and onions over med-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and reduce by half.

2. Remove Skin and Seeds

Run mixture through a food mill or fine sieve to remove skins and seeds. 

3. Add Final Ingredients and Reduce by Half

Return sieved mixture to the stove. Add vinegar, sugar, 2 Tablespoons sea salt and spices. Boil gently, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Reduce by half or until ketchup mounds up on a spoon. It will thicken slightly when it cools. When cool enough to taste, see how you like it and adjust salt if desired.

5. Pack and Store Your Homemade Ketchup

There are two options here...

  1. Ladle your ketchup directly into sterilized jars and store in fridge or freezer. Ketchup will keep 3 weeks in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer.
  2. Ketchup can also be water bath canned using the hot pack method. Leave 1/4” headspace and process the 1/2 pint jars for 15 minutes. If you're unfamiliar with water bath canning, watch our water bath canning video workshop before attempting this method.

Over to You...

Thanks for checking out this old fashioned ketchup recipe, hope you enjoy every last bite!

It’s part of our mission here at Mountain Feed to help you make delicious, sustainable, homemade food, more often. We are proud to offer you the best home canning equipment at the best prices. What are you waiting for? Head over to our Home Canning Department and get everything you need.