Old fashioned ketchup isn’t what comes to mind when thinking of modern-day ketchup. This old recipe for gardeners has been made in my area generation, after generation.  Old fashioned ketchup is more similar to a relish than a liquid. The taste goes very well served as a condiment on a traditional southern dinner such as: brown beans and cornbread, fried chicken and potatoes, and pork chop and greens to name just a few. It’s not uncommon to see a Mason or Ball jar with old-fashioned ketchup on the dinner tables of rural Kentucky. The ingredients are not too elaborate, but the recipe must be followed precisely to assure a good batch. It will take days to complete due to the fermenting process. It’s best to make old-fashioned ketchup when time is abundant.

This recipe is intended for gardeners. That is why the ingredient list is so large in quantity. It’s a great way to use up those extra green garden tomatoes that seem to go to waste. However, if canning a big batch of ketchup isn’t your thing or time is an issue, consider canning green tomato slices for fried green tomatoes instead.

Old Fashioned Ketchup Ingredients:

  • 5 gallons of green tomatoes
  • 4 large heads of cabbage
  • 2 lbs of carrots
  • 3 lbs of onions
  • 6 red and green sweet bell peppers
  • Hot pepper to suit taste
  • 1 cup + salt (details below)

Old Fashioned Ketchup Directions:

First Day:

Wash and grind all of the vegetables. Do not drain!

Mix the vegetables, hot pepper and 1 cup of salt together.  You can taste the mixture as you add the hot pepper.  Be sure to mix it well, then cover and let it stand overnight.

Second Day:
Mix well and taste the mixture. If there is not enough salt, add some more a little at a time until it taste right. The same goes for the hot pepper too.

Cover the mixture and let it stand until the mixture is fermented. This should take about 6 to 8 days.  However, be sure to mix it well once every day.

Last Day:

When the mixture is fermented, heat the mixture on the stove well, but avoid bringing it to a boil.

Put the old-fashioned ketchup into sterilized canning jars, pint sized, and place tightened lids on the top. Process the jars in bowling water for 15 minutes. The lids should form a seal. Examine the jars and discard any that doesn’t appear to be sealed before consuming.  After opening a jar, store it in the refrigerator between uses.

Now that you know how to make old-fashioned ketchup with your garden vegetables, you can make your own batch for enjoying or giving out for gifts. Because this is not something you can purchase in a shop, a jar always makes a great item for a gift basket.  To dress your jars up, cut a square size piece of gingham fabric with zigzag scissors. Place it on the lid and tie a bow around it with a grosgrain ribbon or piece of raffeta.  Punch a hole in a piece of cardstock or kraft paper and attach it to the ribbon as a name tag.