Dead ‘orse

I have been preserving tomatoes this week.  Not my tomatoes, my father’s, so I have given this post his name for tomato sauce.   My dad always used to call tomato sauce dead horse – I suspect he’s not alone in this, its the sort of thing dads seem to find endlessly entertaining, especially when they have teenage children.  I haven’t heard him call it that recently so perhaps you have to have teenage children to roll their eyes at you to find rhyming slang entertaining…

I haven’t really had enough of my own tomatoes to do anything other than eat them and make the occasional pasta sauce, so I am grateful for any donations.  This particular donation was of too many tomatoes to eat but not really enough to make many bottles of passata so instead I decided to make a batch of tomato sauce – sauce as in ketchup.  The recipe I use is based on a recipe from Stephanie Alexander’s Cooks Companion, but I have given it a few tweaks.

Tomato Sauce, makes about 2 litres

  • 1/2 tbspn cloves**
  • 1 tbspn black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tspn ground allspice (pimento)
  • 1 tbspn ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 5 kg tomatoes – chopped
  • 30g salt
  • 600ml apple cider vinegar
  • 1 kg sugar

Tie the whole spices into a piece of muslin.  Place them and the rest of the ingredients, except sugar into a large saucepan.  Bring to the boil and simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally.  Add the sugar and bring back to the boil.  Simmer for another hour*.  Remove the bag with the whole spices in it.  Give it a quick whizz with a hand held food processor.  (I do this last step to break down any large lumps of skin etc, you could use a mouli instead to remove the skin altogether).  Bottle in sterilised bottles and seal (I use a funnel to pour it into the bottles).  Leave for 6 weeks before opening.

*I have made this recipe a couple of different ways before.  This is version I made the last time I did it.  If you want a fresher tasting sauce you could reduce both the pre and post sugar cooking times by half.  If you prefer the really concentrated tomato flavour you find in commercial ketchup then cook it for another half to full hour more than I have indicated here.  My preference is for in between hence the 1 hour cooking time.

** I originally published this recipe with 1 tblspn of cloves which does produce a clovey tasting sauce.  I think that half the amount will probably suit more people’s palates and so have reduced it accordingly.  If you love cloves in your sauce then a whole tblspn gives you a fairly clovey tasting sauce.

This sauce is a nice home made version of tomato ketchup so I eat it: on sausages, in rice dishes, stir fries, on burgers, the list is endless, particularly if you are under the age of 10 I find…

For other ways to cook and preserve your harvest head over to the Gardener of Eden’s place.

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28 Responses to Dead ‘orse

  1. Never tried this but then again haven’t had quite enough tomatoes since I no longer grow them outside because of blight – maybe we should risk it this year.

  2. Robin says:

    This recipe is a bit different then the tomato ketchup recipe I use for canning. I am going to copy it and give it a try once tomato and canning season is in full swing!

    • Liz says:

      I really like it – a lot of the other ones I have have onion in them but this one is pure tomato, and a few spices and I do think it works well.

  3. KL says:

    Thanks for sharing the recipe. Home-made ketchup must be tasting much better than the store-bought one. I have to bookmark this recipe.

  4. leduesorelle says:

    What are those very cool twist tops, and how do you can with them? I haven’t seen them for home use before!

    • Liz says:

      They are old cordial bottles that I am reusing for the sauce. I have done it with a different type before and its been fine – I’m hoping these lids have sealed properly but I’m fairly sure they have. We’ll see in a few weeks I guess…..

  5. Mark Willis says:

    I like Dead’orse when eating my dinner at the top of the Apples and Pears with the Trouble and Strife, dressed in a Whistle and Flute and wearing my best Syrup of Figs… 🙂
    Seriously, it looks darned good! If I ever had tomatoes in sufficient quantities I’d probably give that a try.

  6. Now that’s an idea I’ll try out next year. My kids are the same as yours – they love tomato sauce. I’d feel a lot less guilty letting them squirt some of this sauce on their veggie pancakes rather than the sugar and salt laden stuff they usually get.

    • Liz says:

      My mum made sauce when I was a kid and I definitely remember begging her to buy the shop bought one from time to time. My kids however do like this and have yet to complain – only a matter of time I suppose……

  7. Andrea says:

    My dad and my husband still refer to sauce in the same manner, just sat down after bottling my first batch of sauce. Same as you my plants diddn’t produce enough fruit so i purchased some from my local organic veggie farm. Just love homemade sause and thanks for the hint of not opening for 6 weeks.

  8. kitsapFG says:

    Those are gorgeous looking and I bet it is delicious. I have done ketchup several times successfully but your version is slightly different – definitely worth a try.

  9. Leanne says:

    I didn’t get around to making anything with my tomatoes. The birds and other animal life got to most of them. The sauces looks great. I admire your perseverance.

  10. L says:

    This is definitely on my list to try, but I’m going to have to track down a recipe for my specific (unrefined) tastes. Being from American stock, I’m a Heinz girl – this Aussie ‘tomato sauce’ is blergh.

    • Liz says:

      Hmmmmm, I always favoured White Crow myself…there’s a recipe in the book Cookery the Australian Way that I think tastes pretty much like the commercial varieties – not sure about Heinz but it tastes like bottled sauce to me – a better version but bottled sauce nonetheless.

      • L says:

        Had to look up what you meant by White Crow. Sounds like it’s the Victorian version of our ‘Fountain’ brand.

        I’ve spent a while now trying to track down a recipe, but I think I’m coming back to yours. All the Heinz ketchup copies use processed ingredients, and your recipe here has vinegar, so probably more like ketchup anyway. I’ll let you know how I go.

        • Liz says:

          Make sure you cook it for a good long time – I think thats what will give it the most Heinzish taste. Do they really not have White Crow north of the border?

          • L says:

            I keep meaning to tell you I tried your recipe. I used 3kg of my precious home-grown ones because I’d run out of ketchup. I probably opened it a little early because it was way too sweet and very clove-y, but it’s improving over time. I’ll report back again after a month or so to let you know, but all in all, this home-made tomato sauce thing definitely has potential!

          • Liz says:

            After reading this I went and tasted mine and compared it with some Masterfoods sauce that I had in the cupboard. Bearing in mind the shop bought one is about a year old and mine is less than a month old – Mine is definitely more clovey – I quite like that but if cloves aren’t your thing then reducing the amount would be good. Mine is also a bit sweeter, I find home grown tomatoes are often sweeter than shop bought ones which would obviously influence the end product. I tend to like my sauces and chutneys fairly sweet so I have to say I don’t find this too sweet. The other difference I noticed is that I think the Masterfoods one is more mustardy, and perhaps has more allspice although I’m not sure about the latter. If I was trying to replicate the spicing in the Masterfoods one I think I’d up the mustard and allspice a bit and reduce the cloves and see how that tasted. Not sure about the sugar levels – with less sweet tomatoes and increased mustard, the sugar volume might be right. I reckon you’d have to make it to find out. Definitely report back in a month – I would love to know how it mellows for you.

  11. Norma Chang says:

    Never tried to make ketchup (sauce) before also never had sufficient harvest to do any sort of canning, if this is a good tomato year I will give this a try.

  12. L says:

    Thanks Liz for your opinion. I’m hopeless with identifying and balancing flavours. I’ll make another batch soon (I’ll have to, I’m almost out again) and I’ll follow your suggestions. Can never have too much mustard!

    • Liz says:

      Oh the pressure – hope I’m right. The recipe in Cookery the Australian Way which I’ve made before with good results uses: 1.5 cups of sugar for 5kg of tomatoes, 2.5 cups vinegar, 1 clove of garlic, 12 cloves, 6 allspice, 1/8 tsp chilli powder, 2 teaspoons mustard powder and 2 tblspns salt. I think that might suit your tastes better as I do remember thinking it tasted like commercial sauce when I made it last time. I do think its the mustard flavour that you are missing from my version as it woud counteract a bit of the sweetness too.

  13. Val says:

    This looks just the recipe I’m looking for. Will need to buy allspice tomorrow after work and get busy. I have made two batches if chutney today. I ran out of mustard so used some paprika – spicy but very nice. The second batch was to the recipe

  14. Frank McCabe says:

    Inherited Mother’s Mouli years ago – making sauce is a dream with this gadget – no peeling tomatoes. Still available in kitchen shops for around $30

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