So, I’ve had a couple of disasters in the test kitchen already, and I thought I’d share.
I’ve been spending the last couple days dithering between books on preserving and books on making stuff from scratch, and decided to play with The Homemade Pantry. I picked it up from the library, but I’m slobbering over it so much, I’m going to buy my own copy. It has relative “shelf-life” estimates for products in fridge/freezer/canning, which I think is a nice touch.
Anyhoo, she’s got a ketchup recipe. Brilliant! I thought. I never thought of making ketchup. I think I’ll give it a whirl.
I opted for a recipe other than the one in the book I’m reading just because hers is a whopping 17 ingredients. I’m sure it’s delicious in its own right, but I’m dealing with ketchup snobs in my household who grumped at me for buying generic (but organic) ketchup. After a brief troll of the internet, I found a zillion other ketchup recipes including one (supposedly) exactly like Heinz. Hey, the snobs’ preferred brand! Bonus points: it starts from tomato paste instead of having to boil down tomatoes.
I figured that’d be a good place to start, but you know me, except for the very first trial, usually I can’t leave well enough alone.
So I was like, OK, I don’t like high fructose corn syrup. I think I’ll try honey. But I didn’t have enough honey, so it was about half honey, and half Madhava Coconut Sugar. Next up, vinegar. The recipe called for white vinegar, but of course, white vinegar is a product of corn, and corn is 88% GMO, and trying to find organic white vinegar is like trying to find a unicorn.
Instead, I used organic apple cider vinegar. It’s so much healthier, and besides, it’s practically the same thing. Right? Right?
I think I tripled the sugar content to try to balance out the cider vinegar, and I was still breathing fire when I inhaled.
– flush –
I backtracked. The problem obviously was the apple cider vinegar. A lot of people say you can do a direct 1:1 substitution. Personally, in my limited vinegar-swapping experience, I disagree… something about apple cidar vinegar *ahem* gets you in the back of the throat. I don’t have substitution ratio figured out, so if anyone already *does* have one, let me know 🙂 Meanwhile, I wandered off to a speciality hippie food market and found the elusive organic white vinegar. Even the cashier seemed surprised to see it.
Disregard the cook time listed at the top, which is way off. Made with organic honey, tomato paste and vinegar, the Top Secret Heinz recipe turned out pretty good. It was a touch on the sweet side… almost like BBQ sauce, but completely palatable as is. Another 1/4 tsp of white vinegar to balance out the honey substitution would probably make it darn close.
Why, do you ask, do I care about making ketchup, since there are organic brands to be found? Stay tuned, my friends, and you will see.