Ketchup, catsup, what ever you want to call it, is a sweet and tangy saucy type substance that is oft times a second thought when one’s first thought is fried taters. It’s also pretty much a staple grocery item in many homes. For my daughter, it is a key condiment when consuming eggs, needless to say, without it, she doesn’t much care for eggs.
It’s tax free weekend in Tennessee, so when we went to purchase her school supplies, ketchup was not on my mind. Granted Walmart sells plenty of ketchup, but I really don’t eat much ketchup. In fact, I eat so little ketchup that it is completely normal for me to go to the grocery and totally skip the aisle where the ketchup is displayed for sale. In the land of burger and fries, this may just be some kind of crime, “How could you forget the ketchup?” Really, it’s just that easy.
When I do purchase ketchup, I steer clear of the brands that contain high fructose corn syrup. It’s a bit further drive and for some odd reason I just don’t feel that ketchup even justifies the extended trip to a larger grocer. Forgetting the ketchup while we were in a large grocer/store may be unacceptable to some, but hey, I don’t even eat french fries. I like liverwurst though, and I’m sure that were the tables turned, they would forget the liverwurst every single time…
A couple hours after getting home from our excursion, our awesome garden having neighbor came by with a big bag of freshly picked zucchini, yellow squash, okra, and maters. I told him he was right on cue as I was making bacon cheeseburgers for dinner. Enter the tangy sweetness that is ketchup into my mind. Oops! “It’s ok mom, we’ve got some ketchup packs”. Um, no, I squished them out on your dad’s fried taters the other night… oops again.
There is a grocer about a mile up the street, and it wouldn’t have been much trouble to run grab some ketchup, but seriously, I am truly haunted by high fructose corn syrup. Even more so than sugar. While I coulda, there was no woulda, so I told her to get me out a can of tomato paste. Yep, she was scared. “Tomato paste? What are you gonna do with that?” she asked. “Ketchup my dear, get me a saucepan and the apple cider vinegar”.
Calm, cool, and collected. That’s how you play it when you’ve forgotten the ketchup one too many times. Who cares if you’ve never attempted to make ketchup, you remember the taste, tangy, tomato-ey, sweet. How hard could it be? It really didn’t matter how hard it would be, my hot husband’s taters were already frying and the burgers were on the grill, I was flying by the seat of my pants, but I had on my “totally in control” face. Failure was no option, so this is what I did…
Dump 1 can of tomato paste (the small one) into a sauce pan. Pour in some apple cider vinegar (If I had to guess, I’d guess that I poured in between ½ and ¾ cups). Whisk. Turn heat up to medium and whisk some more. Pour in some water (once again, guessing, I’d say I used about twice the water as I used vinegar). Whisk. Add salt, garlic powder, ½ cup sugar, and some “Slap ya mama” seasoning for good measure (a little bit is plenty, you can add more later if need be, but you can’t un-add too much, no heavy hands…). Once the ketchup got bubbly and started thickening up (it wasn’t really thin to begin with), I turned the heat off. The whole ketchup making process took about 10 minutes, so the ketchup was ready right on time.
It was tangy, sweet, and tomato-ey. From the prospective of someone who doesn’t eat much ketchup, it was pretty darned tasty. Using “what’s the worst that could happen?” I served my pinch hit to the family with their burger and sir hot a lot’s taters. “What’s this?” “ketchup”. A few minutes later, “Did you make this?” ok, think fast, I can’t tell if this is a good “did you make this” or a bad “did you make this”, feign ignorance of the question. “Make what?” good answer. “The ketchup, it’s good” Score one for keeping herself calm cool, and collected in the face of ketchup neglect. “Why yes, yes, I made that”.
Adding a little spice, vinegar, and water to that $0.49 cent can of tomato paste made a pint of ketchup. Free from high fructose corn syrup and any other stuff hiding in commercial ketchup. Since the family enjoyed my hard work (ha, it was so easy a cave man could have done it), I will probably omit ketchup all together from my grocery list. (which really won’t make that much of a difference because I really never remember it anyways…)