12 lbs. fresh tomatoes, quartered (for canned tomatoes, see note)
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium red pepper, diced
1/4 cup celery leaves or chopped celery stalks
1/4 cup of ghee (or butter - optional, but I would highly recommend it!)
1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice (if you are canning this is essential)
1 Ceylon cinnamon stick, broken up a bit
2 tsp whole cloves
about 7 whole allspice berries
2 garlic chive stems, with flower heads (or 1 clove of garlic - I can't use garlic due to husband's allergy)
1 cup pure honey (You may need more or less - somewhat depends on what kind of honey you have and how strongly it comes through)
1/2 cup date sugar
2-2 1/2 tbsp. herbamare (or sea salt)
1 small can of organic tomato paste
Combine tomatoes, onion, bell pepper,and celery in a large stockpot (mine is 9 quarts and it was just enough) Crush the tomatoes slightly with a potato masher to make enough liquid to cover the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until tomatoes are soft and falling apart, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the vinegar to a small saucepan. Add the spices and garlic (chive flower heads) and bring to a boil over high heat.
Remove from heat and let stand for about 30 minutes or so. Pour vinegar through a strainer into the tomato mix. Discard spices. Simmer tomatoes, for another 30 minutes.
The lid is off from now on.
In batches, run the tomato mixture through a food mill (fine disk) to remove seeds & skins. Or press through a sieve, or puree in a food processor then sieve.
Return pulp to the stockpot, add tomato puree, lemon juice and ghee and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until the volume is reduced by about half, and the texture is about the thickness of a thick tomato sauce. Takes about 3 hours at a gentle simmer. You can turn the heat up higher to shorten the simmer time, but you will need to be close by to stir frequently.
Prepare canner, jars and lids.
Blend tomato pulp with an immersion blender or puree in a food processor/blender. Return to stockpot, add honey, date sugar & salt, and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Simmer, stirring occasionally - I would really recommend using splatter guard if you have one, at this point!
Just keep simmering away until it is just a little thinner than you want the final product to be, (ketchup will further thicken when cold.)
If you're canning, fill hot jars to ½-inch headspace, wipe rims, affix lids and process in a boiling water bath for about 20 min.
Or you can freeze the ketchup.
1.) If using canned tomatoes, use 6 x 28 oz. cans and omit the food mill step, as skins have already been removed.
2.) If you're not canning the ketchup (or you are pressure canning it,) you can omit the lemon juice and replace with 1/4 c of ACV. The lemon juice is just to keep the home canning safe.