There’s no avoiding it: Ketchup is a staple of the American diet. We drench our fries in it, put it on our burgers, some of us even dress our scrambled eggs in it. Ketchup gives us a way to add flavor to what might otherwise be considered a bland meal. Ketchup is a preserved product, meaning it will last longer than the tomatoes it is made from. Knowing how to make ketchup can be a useful skill when you start to resettle after the Armageddon event.
The original tomato ketchup was a derivitive of a fish sauce discovered in Malaysia during the 18th century. By the 19th century the tomato version had been created and consisted of tomatoes, salt, mace, nutmeg, allspice, clove, cinnamon, ginger, and pepper. As the recipe evolved, vinegar replaced salt as the preserving agent, making it sweeter. During World War II, GIs stationed in Southwest Asia saw a shortage of tomatoes and ketchup, so they invented a ketchup based on what they had available: bananas. Banana ketchup became so wildly popular in the area that it was commercialized and is still sold and used today. It is essentially the same as tomato ketchup just a bit sweeter.
- Vinegar (3 cups per 100 tomatoes) or Salt (1/2 pound per 100 tomatoes)
- Spices to taste (typically onion, cayenne pepper, garlic, black pepper, cinnamon, celery seed, etc)
The first thing you need to do is remove the skins. The best way to do this is shock the tomatoes. Boil them for about a minute and then put them in extremely cold water. This will cause the skins to seperate from the meat of the tomato and will allow you to remove the skins fairly easily. After removing the skins, cut the tomatoes open and scoop out the seeds and water jelly.
Simmer the tomatoes until they are mushy enough to be pushed through a sieve (usually about 30 minutes). Surprise, surprise – the next step is to run your tomatoes through a sieve. Add your spices to the tomato puree and cook between 200 °F and 325 °F for about 12 hours.
You will end up with about 60 ounces of ketchup for every 100 tomatoes you use. Remember to store it in sealable containers to prevent contamination and enjoy a little luxury in an otherwise bleak existence.