Let’s Talk about Cold Ketchup

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And no, I’m not talking about the argument about whether it’s preferable to keep ketchup in the fridge or on the counter once opened. No, I’m talking about something my mother made tons of when we were kids. It was the highlight of the summer canning season. We always had lots of tomatoes, and most of them went into a simple delicacy called cold ketchup.

I love to can and have canned a lot of jams, jellies, and fruit butters. I’ve even canned meat for the first time this year. But in all the years I’ve canned, I’ve never done cold ketchup. Why? Simple reason. My mom says she doesn’t remember what goes in it. I confess, I wasn’t sure she was being completely honest about that. But when I talked to her yesterday, well . . . let’s just say I really believe her now. And all I can say is, “Crap!”

Now before you say, “But she had to get the reccipe from someone. Ask that person.” The simple fact is that anyone she would have gotten it from is dead. In most cases for a long time. And though I helped her with them (peeled a lot of tomatoes for those jobs), well, I was really young, and I have no real recollection of what when in them–except for tomatoes. It couldn’t be anything too exotic, even back then. We were never a very adventurous family when it came to food. Heck, we didn’t have pizza at home until I was in my teens.

So what do I remember.Tomatoes. Mom has a vague recollection that there were onions. Oh, and the tomatoes were not prepped a lot. When we opened the jars and poured out the cold ketchup, we often got a plop of an almost whole tomato–seeds and all. I thought maybe peppers, but she has no memory of putting peppers in there. I’m pretty sure there was vinegar in there, but there wasn’t an overpowering vinegar taste. And there was probably salt. Other than that, I’m not sure.

Now, before you think I’m describing salsa, perhaps in a way. But salsa wasn’t popular (at least not where I grew up in Iowa) at the time.

What to do? What to do? I’m not ready–or willing–to give up cold ketchup. So I’m on a mission to find that recipe. I’m hoping one of my readers know about it and perhaps has a recipe to share. (And please, it has nothing to do with sex with dead people; Interested? Google it.) And, of course, I’ll be experimenting. I don’t have enough of my own tomatoes. I hoped to get some “seconds” or “canning” tomatoes, but I’m not sure that’s going to be feasible. So I may have to use commercially canned. But one thing is for certain: I will not be deterred. Though I may end up with several marginal versions of ketchup. Good thing I like it.


© Copyright 2017 Ida Walker, All rights Reserved. Written For: The Enabling Cook
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1 Comment for this entry

  • Linda S

    Oh — what a fun quest! Have you checked out chili sauce recipes? My family used to omit the spices or some of the spices from various relishes. Maybe it’s in a canning book but with extra embellishments?

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