Ketchup and Mustard, Made by Hand

Ketchup and Mustard, Made by Hand

Let’s forget for a moment about salsa and ranch — two of America’s favorite condiments and give our respects to two of summertime’s most ubiquitous sauces; ketchup and mustard. They may be humble, but they’ve always been there for us. I think it’s time we give them the respect they deserve, and pay tribute to their years of thankless service — dressing up our grilled sausages and hot dogs, adding zing to potato salad and salad dressing, helping make joes sloppy, and being mayo’s partner in crime in so many secret sauces. This week, I’m taking a stand for good old ketchup and mustard dammit, and we are going to make our own.

Ketchup has been around for a long, long time. In the days of our founding fathers, people thought tomatoes were poisonous, and the only safe way to eat them was in ketchup form. Heinz has been making ketchup since 1876 and, besides that creepy phase in 2000 when they introduced colored ketchups, they’ve been one of the world’s must trusted ketchup sources. They’ve also been one of the top producers — selling more than 600 million bottles per year. I once had a chef tell me he couldn’t be bothered to make ketchup because he had never found a recipe that tasted as good as one he could buy.

Mustard dates back to Roman times, and although its main ingredient remains constant (mustard seed), the ways in which it is prepared can vary greatly. Yellow, Dijon, deli style, spicy brown, the ways in which mustard can be consumed is seemingly endless. Making mustard is also relatively easy, as your decision lies in working with seeds or powder, and then determining your additives. Brown or black seeds make for some spicy mustard, while the powder (especially when mixed with turmeric) will create something more akin to the yellow stuff we are familiar with. Adding water, vinegar, or even beer can result in delectable mustard.

It goes without saying that when you make your own condiments you know exactly what you are putting in them. No hidden sugars, HFCS, or preservatives, so many say that making your own is the best option. Last but not least, everything on this shopping list (when buying the spices from the bulk bins) can be purchased for under $20, and I don’t know if you can get seven cups of Heinz for under $20, just saying. The time spent actually doing something for these recipes are about one hour, so making your own condiments isn’t a big time commitment. Try it out, and you may be hard pressed to buy next time.

Homemade Tomato Ketchup
Recipe by Alison Ladman of the AP

2 tablespoons pickling spice
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
1 large sweet onion, sliced
2 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons mustard powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup cider vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Using a small square of cheesecloth, tie the pickling spice into a bundle with butchers twine or string. Set aside. In a deep sauté pan over medium, heat the oil. Add the onion and sauté until soft and beginning to brown, eight to 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, garlic powder, cayenne, smoked paprika, mustard powder, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and the pickling spice sachet. Cook for 45 minutes, or until thick.

Remove and discard the pickling spice sachet. Working in batches, transfer to a blender and puree. Transfer the mixture to a clean jar and refrigerate. Keeps for up to 3 weeks.

Super Simple Spicy Brat Mustard
From On The Make

1 cup mustard seeds
1 cup beer (generally stout works better than say, a pilsner, but pick your favorite flavorful beer)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Let the seeds and beer soak 24 hours and then add the vinegar, salt, and pepper. Blend to your desired consistency. The more you let the seeds marinate in the beer, the spicier your mustard will be.

Montana Jones’ Yumtastic Hot Dog Mustard
From Montana Jones

2 Tablespoons ground yellow mustard seed
1 teaspoon ground brown mustard seed
1 1/2 tablespoons water,
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Blend the ground mustard seeds and water to a thick paste and let sit for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the spices and vinegar. For thinner mustard add a couple drops more vinegar, let age for a week or so.

A few notes on the recipes: I’ve seen a lot of recipes for tomato ketchup and this one is top notch. No canning needed and just the right amount of spice and vinegar. As for the mustards, is it gauche for me to link to an old article of mine? I think not. I got the spicy brat mustard recipe last year and had yet to try it for myself, although I got the recipe from a friend and had tried his. I used a heavy stout for the beer, and the mustard turned out wonderful — even only having been aged for a little over a day. I can’t wait to see what more time brings.

The Chaser:

Thirsty and water just won’t do? Try one of these three new beverages — and tell me how you feel about black water that’s “good” for you.

The wonders of Google archive: According to this historical newspaper from 1969, former President Nixon liked eating cottage cheese topped with ketchup.

National Mustard Day is August 6. Celebrate by visiting the National Mustard Museum!