Catching Up on the Ketchup Kerfuffle | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 23 August 2012 11:40

082312fThe business world is all abuzz these days over patent infringement. 

No, not the Oracle-Google thing, or Apple vs. Samsung. We’re talking ketchup here, or more specifically, ketchup containers.

A couple of years ago, H.J. Heinz introduced a dual-purpose ketchup packet with a top that can be peeled back for dipping and an end that can be torn off for squeezing. Called the “Dip & Squeeze,” it has an Illinois inventor named White seeing red.

Scott White is suing the ketchup conglomerate for patent infringement of his “CondiCup” design. He claims he applied for a patent for such a packet years earlier and that he had even pitched his invention to Heinz, but said the company rejected it.

The story got prominent play in the Wall Street Journal last week.

Which brings us to the question: Why get your ketchup out of a plastic container when you can easily make great ketchup at home?


2 pounds tomatoes (about 6 large ones)

1 small onion

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 shakes ground cloves

1/3 cup white vinegar

Use a small knife to cut cores from tomatoes. Cut each tomato in 4 pieces and put the pieces into a medium-size pot. Peel the onion and cut into 4 pieces and add to the tomatoes. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the white vinegar. Stir.

Turn heat to medium-high. When the mixture boils, stir again and turn heat to low. Cook for about 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes until ketchup is very thick and dark red. Take off heat and let cool for 15 minutes. Whirl in blender or food processor until smooth. Stir in white vinegar.

If it’s not thick enough, put it back in the pot and cook over medium heat for a few more minutes. Makes about 1-1/2 cups. Keeps for at least a month in a tightly closed jar in the refrigerator.

Note: This ketchup can be made with the seeds and skin left in, which some people prefer. But to make the fancier version, peel the tomatoes and take out the seeds.

To peel, drop one tomato at a time into a pot of boiling water and remove after about 15 seconds. Peel off skin under cold running water.

To remove seeds, cut the tomato in half from side to side, not top to bottom. At this point, you have two options for getting rid of the seeds. The first is to gently squeeze the tomato, being cautious with the amount of pressure you exert. Or, you can simply hold each tomato half over the sink, and use your finger to pull out the seeds.


1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until smooth.

When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring often. Remove pan from heat and cover until cool. Chill and store in a covered container. Makes 1-1/2 cups.


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

5 peaches, pitted, peeled and roughly chopped

1/2 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

3 tablespoons molasses

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1 lemon, juice of

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until transparent. Add peaches and cook 4 minutes, stirring often. Add vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, sugar and spices.

Reduce heat to simmer and cook 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If necessary, add a small amount of water to prevent the mixture from sticking or burning.

Remove from heat. Add the juice of 1 lemon. Put mixture into blender or food processor and purée. Serve at room temperature. Yields 4 cups.


1/2 cup golden raisins

1/3 cup chopped sweet onions

2 large garlic cloves, quartered

1/3 cup tomato paste

4 large very ripe bananas, peeled and sliced

1-1/3 cup cider vinegar, divided use

3 to 4 cups water

1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

1-1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper or to taste

1/4 cup light corn syrup

2 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 tablespoons dark rum

Place the raisins, onions, garlic, tomato paste, bananas and 2/3 cup of the vinegar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until smooth and pour into a large, heavy saucepan.

Add remaining 2/3 cup vinegar, 3 cups water, brown sugar, salt and ground chipotle chile pepper. Stir to combine.

Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Reduce heat to low and cook uncovered, stirring the ketchup occasionally, for 1 hour and 15 minutes. If the ketchup gets too thick and begins to stick, add some of the remaining water (up to 1 cup).

Add corn syrup, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, for another 15 minutes or until it is thick enough to coat a metal spoon. Stir in the rum and remove from heat. Let cool for 10 minutes. Yields 3-1/2 cups.

Despite the small amount of tomato in this ketchup, it’s the flavor of the bananas that comes through. Banana ketchup is especially good with pork and fish, or try on a burger or even as a dipping sauce for chicken fingers.



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