PDX ketchup meetup
posted August 3, 2015 10:35 AM   RSS | iCal | +googleCal

Sun September 13 at 11:00 AM, Janell's
5504 North Syracuse Street, Portland, OR, USA (Map & Directions)
Or is it catsup? I got some really great homemade ketchup a few years ago and thought it would make a pretty swell meetup opportunity, a la the marmalade meetup or the dilly bean meetup.
It's really labor intensive with either blanching and peeling the tomatoes or cooking them and running it through a foodmill. Then it cooks down forever. And then there's the various recipes. I've never made it so I don't really have a favorite.

Some recipes:
a local recipe
Splendid Table but it uses canned tomatoes
Extension Service standard
Reverse engineered ketchup
posted by fiercekitten to Meetup (56 comments total)

I'm stoked about this. Ketchup sounds involved enough that I would never ever want to tackle it alone. Are we going to do this as a two-part meetup? Most of these (except the canned tomatoes one) call out "6-12 hours" steps - the Extension one is just coy about it.

It seems like we might need to do a first-day of actual labor preparing all the bits and getting it going, then mostly leave the ketchup reducing on the stove (or in the oven, perhaps?) until a second day where we'd finish and can it/divvy it. That second day seems like it might need to also involve a game table or else another quicker project.

(I can host if a venue is needed. The yard is shady, but also paved, so easy to set up worktables, and y'all have already encountered my kitchen and kitchen-annex during the marmalade/fruitcake meetup).
posted by janell at 11:08 AM on August 3, 2015

I've made ketchup a couple of times, once in a canning class and once at home, just in an afternoon with whatever tomatoes were around and a food processor- so it can be done just like jam, if you don't want to spend the time on it. No blanching, no foodmilling. It was fine, but I'm intrigued to find out what the difference is with "proper" ketchup!
posted by Secretariat at 12:15 PM on August 3, 2015

Hm, also, I've got a dehydrator, if we want to play around with this homemade celery salt idea from the first link!
posted by Secretariat at 12:19 PM on August 3, 2015

I found a few recipes for slow cooker ketchup too, but that sort of defies the purpose of a meetup. A lot of the recipes also seem to be either the 24# of tomatoes or the 2 c of tomatoes type. From what I can tell, either use beefsteak or plum tomatoes. One blog I looked at said if you use paste tomatoes you can use fewer because they have less water. Availability of either could impact when we do this, I suppose.
posted by fiercekitten at 2:23 PM on August 3, 2015

Does anyone have a large number of tomato plants?
posted by fiercekitten at 8:04 PM on August 6, 2015

No garden for me this year, since I'm in Alabama. But my usual source would be Krugers or another Sauvie Island farm. Is everything ripe early this year because of the warm weather? Maybe there is an abundance of tomatoes in general since they like heat?
posted by Secretariat at 1:22 PM on August 7, 2015

Yeah, I'm not a fan of the smell of the plants so I don't grow them. I figured we'd get a bunch of tomatoes from a local grower (Sauvie or a farmer's market vendor or whatever).
posted by janell at 2:38 PM on August 7, 2015

I just counted weekends and have a lot going on this late-summer/early fall. Can we narrow this down to either Sep 19/20 or Sep 12/13?

I assume tomatoes will tend to be early this year with the heat - I'm certainly getting a lot of little guys in my CSA box, and I'm seeing ripe tomatoes on plants around the neighborhood.

[by the way: If you do any canning with apples or pears - I checked Kiyokawa's ready dates page this morning and it looks like everything is running a few weeks to a month earlier than usual in Hood River. ]
posted by janell at 10:45 AM on August 11, 2015

Sept 12/13 works for me, Sept 19/20 does not.
posted by Secretariat at 12:47 PM on August 11, 2015

I spose 26/27 would also be OK - it's also Oregon Flock and Fiber.
posted by janell at 2:48 PM on August 11, 2015

September 12th or 13th works for me too. Big tomatoes usually have an 80+ day growing period so that might be ok harvest-wise.
posted by fiercekitten at 7:48 PM on August 11, 2015


Sept 12/13 works
posted by mimo at 8:19 AM on August 12, 2015

Must. have. giant. tomato.

Where should we have this shindig?
posted by fiercekitten at 3:02 PM on August 12, 2015

That's not a tomato, that's a pumpkin! A red pumpkin!

Um, whereever is fine with me. We can use my house & yard, or else I will travel. I don't feel strongly about it. I will need to get internet access wherever we go since I'm call for work that weekend and might need to log in from time to time.
posted by janell at 3:12 PM on August 12, 2015

I'm probably not going to have a car that weekend, so I'm leaning towards Janell's place for convenience- but I can figure something out if not.
posted by Secretariat at 4:56 AM on August 13, 2015

Our kitchen is tiny and the stove is unfortunately placed.
posted by mimo at 9:42 AM on August 13, 2015

My kitchen has a T-Rex and the floor is made of lava.
posted by Secretariat at 7:05 AM on August 15, 2015

And my stove is terrible at heating up my canner. I'll set this for janell's place.
posted by fiercekitten at 9:09 AM on August 15, 2015

We may need to meet earlier than 1pm depending on our recipe, etc.
posted by fiercekitten at 9:13 AM on August 15, 2015

Also, someone wrote up the Ball recipe for catsup and in the comments people recommend either seeding or juicing the tomatoes first. Juicing them with a squeezo which looks like a food mill?
posted by fiercekitten at 9:24 AM on August 15, 2015

I think the class I attended seeded the tomatoes first (just with fingers)- I was told the reasoning for this was to speed the process- less liquid means less cook-down time. A food mill step would probably be just as good, though. The liquid would stay in, but the pre-processing time would be faster?
posted by Secretariat at 9:29 AM on August 15, 2015

I think we should seed them a/o food-mill them and then put them on sheet pans racks in the oven at 250F/convection for awhile while we clean up that phase/have a beer. That will take a lot of water off without losing any tomato goodness. But still, yeah, we should prolly start at 11 or noon.
posted by janell at 8:03 PM on August 15, 2015

I've been seeding a lot of tomatoes by hand lately. An automated method for doing that would be great for avoiding pruney-tomato fingers. [However, I'll still have to keep doing mine by hand because I'm making tomato tarts and need structural integrity of the slices. I should start wearing gloves].
posted by mimo at 6:58 AM on August 16, 2015

I've seen recipes for strawberry jam that call for roasting the strawberries beforehand so you don't have to use pectin, so I figure doing the same with the tomatoes would work. If we get paste tomatoes we could probably skip that step and just run everything through the food mill (I think).

So far, ketchup is less science and more art than jam is.
posted by fiercekitten at 8:51 AM on August 16, 2015

I have to change this to the 13th because my niece's birthday party is the 12th.
posted by fiercekitten at 3:11 PM on August 21, 2015

13th is ok with me.
posted by Secretariat at 7:26 AM on August 23, 2015

I've been adding curry to everything lately. Like peanut butter. Did you know Red Duck makes a curry ketchup? Might be fun to curry a catsup!

Oh hey speaking of tomatoes, do an image search for indigo rose tomatoes. <3<3<3
posted by aniola at 10:48 AM on August 23, 2015

How many jars do we have? I can probably get a couple pounds of Roma tomatoes from friends/family and then there's the farmer's market for more.
posted by fiercekitten at 10:02 AM on September 5, 2015

Many of the jars from the pickling meetup seem to have returned to me- so they're ready for a new mefi food adventure. I'll go count them!
posted by Secretariat at 2:32 PM on September 5, 2015

I made a Google sheet for tracking supplies.
posted by fiercekitten at 5:19 PM on September 6, 2015

I have plenty of half-pint jars, and assorted random other sizes, if we need them. I don't think I need a giant stash of ketchup (does anyone?, unless we know it is super delish) - should we plan on making 4-8 oz/person?

The spreadsheet is read-only, but I also have a canner and funnel and jar lifter and various jars/lids/rings that we can use as needed. And a food mill. And a food processor. No blender or stick blender. Sheet pans, an oven, a couple of pretty big bowls, a couple of colanders, and an 8-quart stockpot. I can also fish a folding table (one big, one small) out of the basement if we need more work surfaces on the porch or outside.

If it turns hot again, people with camp stoves are welcome to bring their fires so we can run the canner(s) outside. I have outside chairs for 8-10 people, but y'all are welcome to bring camp chairs if you prefer.

Things I think people should bring:
- ripe, glorious tomatoes
- Your own paring knife or grapefruit spoon or spork or whatever tool you use to gut tomatoes (if you use a tool other than your hands)
- gloves that fit you (if you like to wear gloves to keep your hands from pruning up or stinking of tomatoes). There are size M nitriles in my house, they are ~size 8 in sized gloves.
- Snacks and beverages
posted by janell at 9:50 AM on September 8, 2015

I agree with four 8 oz jars- that's about right for me. I counted my jars, but the (bad? good?) news is I have some free time this week and some plums, some green tomatoes, and some cabbage- so I'll probably have less available jars by the weekend. So, I commit to bringing about 104 ounces of jar, in some combination of 4 oz, 8 oz, or half pint, plus lids and rings to match.

janell, do you need someone to pick up parchment paper, or do you have plenty already?

And then, I guess we need to pick a recipe and start guessing at what quantity of ingredients we'll need. How about everyone reads through the recipes listed in this thread, and gives them a numerical ranking, and we'll go from there. Is that too nerdy?
posted by Secretariat at 12:13 PM on September 8, 2015

I have some parchment, but a trip to Cash n Carry would probably be a good idea.
posted by janell at 12:42 PM on September 8, 2015

Ok, I opened the sheet up so everyone can edit it.
posted by fiercekitten at 5:47 PM on September 8, 2015

My choices (if time were no issue):
1. local recipe
2. reverse engineered
3. extension service or Ball

The splendid table recipe uses canned tomatoes and cooking oil, so I'm not sure that we could safely adapt that one into a safe can-able recipe using fresh tomatoes- that might basically be inventing our own recipe and crossing our fingers that the acid levels were good etc. I'm up for some experimenting (like maybe adding some curry to a small batch?), but as I understand it oil is right out for safety reasons, when it comes to water bath canning.

The "local recipe" sounds good, but as written it requires a minimum of 11 hours!
posted by Secretariat at 5:56 PM on September 8, 2015

I'm aligned with Secretariat on the recipe prioritization. Re: the time, I think we can do more of that cookery in the oven, and just a little hotter (say 230 or 250 instead of 200) to move it along a little bit faster.

Also, if some folk want to stop by on Saturday for an hour (or just drop off tomatoes) to just get the tomatoes washed and cut and into the oven, the fruit can slowly dry in the oven overnight. The really tedious part will be at the food-milling step on Sunday. I think just 1-2 people (plus me) would make that process be pretty painless, and we can start right up in the morning.
posted by janell at 3:21 PM on September 9, 2015

Sure, I can stop and chop on Saturday, if it sounds like people are going to drop off tomatoes or want to chip in money towards tomatoes. I was thinking I'd try to find some Saturday morning.

A little tomato math- The "local recipe" rate (not that we're locked in to the recipe- this is just to get a feel for the amount ) is 1.86 lbs of tomato per half-pint. If 7 people attend and would each like 4 half-pints of ketchup, we should make 3.5 batches of "local recipe". This means 45.5 lbs of tomatoes. Which is fine, if there are in fact 7 people planning on attending, but if not, is going to be overkill! So, I think for now I'll plan on bringing about 8-10 lbs of tomatoes, but if someone wants me to pick up something for them, I can try to do that.
posted by Secretariat at 5:18 PM on September 10, 2015

I got a couple of pounds of yellow heirloom tomatoes to add to our mix. I think we should plan on making a half batch of which would be 14-10# of tomatoes. They all seem pretty similar but different in the amounts. Even tho I found it, I don't care for the lovage and umeboshi in the local recipe so my first choice would be the reverse engineered recipe. (Half a bushel is 25# so half of that would be 12-13#.)
posted by fiercekitten at 7:40 AM on September 11, 2015

OK by me. Do you still want to oven-dry some or all of the tomatoes before we start to speed things up?
If I get out of work early enough today, I'll stop by West Union Gardens to pick up some Romas. Otherwise, tomorrow! And I'll take a closer look at the brown sugar stash.
posted by janell at 8:46 AM on September 11, 2015

I'm sure I have half a cup of brown sugar around here somewhere! And- did I do my math weird, or does the reversed engineered recipe just use less tomatoes? Whatever, I'll aim to bring more like 4 lbs?
posted by Secretariat at 11:17 AM on September 11, 2015

I will attend, do what I'm told, and contribute money or run last minute errands as needed. I can't look at the spreadsheet at work and keep forgetting to do so at home.
posted by mimo at 11:35 AM on September 11, 2015

Heh. I think beer/snacks are the next open item, mimo.
posted by janell at 1:41 PM on September 11, 2015

I'm still into the oven drying plan, since this recipe takes about 12.5 hours as written! I've got plans tomorrow in the middle of the day/early afternoon, but I could stop by sometime after that and prep some tomatoes.
posted by Secretariat at 8:12 PM on September 11, 2015

Oven drying is cool with me but I'm busy most of today. Maybe I'll put some outside in the sun, given its supposed to be 90 today.
posted by fiercekitten at 10:00 AM on September 12, 2015

Sounds good. Even a mix of totally raw and dried is prolly better than nothing.
posted by janell at 11:23 AM on September 12, 2015

My tomatoes are... very diminished in size, after a night in the dehydrator. It will be interesting to see how this all works out.
posted by Secretariat at 10:15 AM on September 13, 2015

I'm running late but I will be there!
posted by fiercekitten at 10:59 AM on September 13, 2015

I'm also running late, I should be there in about 10 minutes!
posted by Secretariat at 11:07 AM on September 13, 2015

I'm running even later. On my way with unhealthy snacks and beer.
posted by mimo at 11:39 AM on September 13, 2015

There are two strange knives here - a paring knife and a red plastic vegetable knife. Are they yours?
posted by janell at 9:42 PM on September 13, 2015

Not mine, although I am missing a 9in square pan so if someone finds one let me know.

Tried some of the ketchup Sunday night and it was delicious.
posted by fiercekitten at 8:06 PM on September 15, 2015

I haven't seen any wayward pans. What was in it?
posted by janell at 8:33 PM on September 15, 2015

The two strange knives (wow, that makes them sound so much more interesting than they are) are mine.
posted by Secretariat at 9:23 AM on September 16, 2015

I haven't seen any wayward pans. What was in it?

I don't know, I don't know when it went missing.
posted by fiercekitten at 5:54 PM on September 16, 2015

More a general APB than that I lost it on Sunday.
posted by fiercekitten at 5:56 PM on September 16, 2015

Is there a spoon missing too?

Somewhere, there must be a cat playing a fiddle.
posted by janell at 12:30 PM on September 17, 2015

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