Green Tomato Ketchup

Green Tomato Ketchup
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gree tomato ketchup
Unfortunately, it doesn’t stay bright green.

This week, we picked up a couple of green tomatoes in our weekly share. They’re not our favorite, but we try to use them. We’ve tried Fried Green Tomatoes, Green Tomato Relish, and, our favorite so far,  Quick-Cured Green Tomatoes with Fried Pecans. This week, we figured why not make ketchup with those green tomatoes? It’s only two tomatoes, so it’s not that big a deal if the ketchup doesn’t turn out.

Now, to be honest, this is essentially the Ketchup recipe that we posted a couple of months ago, with the green tomatoes standing in for the can of tomatoes. So, if you’ve made that on a regular basis, this will be no different.

Green Tomato Ketchup

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups

Green Tomato Ketchup


  • 2-4 green tomatoes
  • 1/4 medium onion, diced
  • 3 allspice berries
  • 4 cloves
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 1/2-inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 tsp celery seeds
  • 1/4 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 clove garlic
  • 4-5 tsp brown sugar
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch red pepper flake
  • 1-2 tsp molasses
  • 3 Tbs white wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt, to taste

Abbreviated Instructions

Core and chop green tomatoes into inch-sized pieces, placing them in a small saucepan. Add onions and bring to a low boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to a simmer.

Place allspice, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns, celery seeds, bay leaf, mustard seeds, and garlic in an infuser or tie in a small clean cloth (sachet). Add to simmering tomatoes along with brown sugar, nutmeg, red pepper flake, molasses, and vinegar.

Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are breaking down and liquid is reduced by about half, 40 minutes.

Remove sachet of spices and transfer tomato mixture to a blender. Blend smooth and add molasses and kosher salt to taste.

Ingredient discussion:

You could use ripe tomatoes, but then you’d have regular ketchup, and we intended this as a way to use up some green tomatoes. The list of spices is extensive, but, not to worry if you’re missing a few. If you have pickling spice, read the ingredients, as that may be pretty much all you need.

Procedure in detail:

Chop tomatoes. You could peel them, too, but, at the very least, cut the tomatoes into quarters, cut out the core, then chop into inch-sized pieces. Place them all in a medium saucepan along with the onions. If you wish, you can start cooking them over medium heat now, or wait until you add the remaining ingredients.

sachet of spices
Most of these spices will be hard to blend, so place them in a sachet and simmer to extract the flavors, then discard.

Make sachet. For a sachet, you can use either a clean piece of muslin tied carefully around the spices, or perhaps, you have a tea infuser (we have one) with a very fine mesh that will work. Whatever you use, your sachet should contain all the hard spices: allspice, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, celery seed, bay leaf, mustard seeds, and garlic.

making green tomato ketchup
Simmer, stirring occasionally and checking to make sure the tomatoes and spice sachet are in the simmering liquid.

Add ingredients. Place the sachet in the pan along with the tomatoes, add the vinegar, red pepper, nutmeg, brown sugar, and molasses. Place the sachet in along side the tomatoes so it’ll be partly covered by liquid. Bring the tomatoes to a boil.

Cook. Reduce to a simmer and cook, until the tomatoes are starting to break apart and the liquid released has been reduced by about half.

making green tomato ketchup
Blend until smooth, taste, and adjust seasonings.

Blend. Remove the sachet, transfer the tomato mixture to a blender, and blend on high until smooth. Taste and add more salt, vinegar, brown sugar, or molasses, to taste. Transfer to a container and refrigerate.

When we started to make nearly everything from scratch, we thought that some things, like ketchup, would be beyond the ability of a home cook. Well, as you can see, it’s actually quite easy: simply simmer ingredients as you would any tomato sauce, then blend smooth. And, how does it taste? Like ketchup, only better. Think more flavorful, more complex, less sweet, and all around tastier than store-bought ketchup. Four stars.

Worth the trouble?

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