When I mention making my own ketchup to people, I often see some eye-rolling and get some comment about how I have too much time on my hands, lol. The truth is homemade ketchup is almost too easy. You dump everything into the slow cooker and walk away. You also have the option to preserve a large batch which sets you up for the year. I am a busy working mom and extra time is not something I have a lot of, so I love recipes that save me time, money and allow me greater control over what my kids put into their mouths.
Ketchup is one of the condiments I have tried to do away with, but my son would literally pack up his Star Wars backpack and leave home. Therefore, I needed to experiment with recipes that gave him that traditional ketchup tastes he expects while increasing its nutritional profile and reducing white sugar. So when the tomato plants in our garden start leaning over with huge, beautiful and ripe tomatoes, it’s time to start cooking.
Most vegetables are at their nutritional peak when raw, however, tomatoes are the exception to this rule. Lycopene is a phytochemical in tomatoes that are associated with lowering the risk of many chronic diseases. Studies have shown that, after being cooked, a tomato contains more lycopene than a raw tomato. This recipe cooks the tomatoes low and slow, increasing lycopene, along with tomatoes’ high vitamin C content and your immune system will be thanking you for this condiment. The recipe below will produce enough to make 5-6 cups of ketchup.
Healthy & Easy Slow-Cooker Ketchup
- 4 pounds roma tomatos cut into quarters
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp celery salt
- 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp dry mustard
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 1/2 tbsp fresh ground pepper
- To make your date puree, blend 1 cup of pitted dates with ½ cup of warm water.
- Place everything into the slow cooker on low for 10-12 hours. It sounds like a long time but it requires that time frame to thicken into the right consistency (no one likes runny ketchup).
- Every few hours, I open the lid and give it all a gentle stir with a wooden spoon, place the lid back on and go back to my day.
- Once the time is up and your ketchup is good and thick, turn the slow cooker off and allow it to cool completely.
- Spoon your lovely ketchup into mason jars to keep in the fridge for 1-2 months. You can also make the ketchup last for up to a year in your cupboard by spooning the ketchup into hot mason jars. Leave about ¼ inch of headspace in the jar, wipe the lid of the jar and secure tightly. Process them in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.