The villages bordering our town are vegetable growing belts of the foothills. The fields fed by the river and mountain springs are rich agricultural belts. During weekends we often make a trip to the villages to buy vegetables. It is a good practice to be a locavore. It ensures that the vegetables that reach your platter are fresh and seasonal, the farmer earns directly without parting with middleman and the biggest thing - you reduce your carbon footprints.
And of course, picking and choosing your own vegetables is so pleasurable!
Last month we got tomatoes from a nearby village. I wanted to make ketchup at home. Tomato picking was on when we reached there. There were piles and piles of tomatoes in the fields. Tomatoes were being packed in the baskets. Men, women and children were all contributing their bit in the work. We went to a father son team who were packing tomatoes. They let us choose and we got red, ripe juicy and choicest tomatoes just perfect for making ketchup. Here goes the recipe-
2 ½ kgs ripe tomatoes
200 g (1 cup) sugar (can be adjusted according to taste)
½ cup(120 ml) malted vinegar (can be adjusted according to taste)
1 ½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon garlic paste
2 sticks cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon whole black peppers
½ cup water
You will also need a muslin cloth
Peel the tomatoes. (A lot of insecticide is sprayed on tomatoes before ripening. It is advisable to remove the skin) In case the tomatoes very ripe and soft, put them in boiling water for a few minutes and remove the skin.
Cut the peeled tomatoes into small pieces and cook in a pan with half cup water for fifteen minutes.
Cool the tomatoes and blend. Strain the mixture, discard the seeds.
Transfer the blended tomatoes to a thick bottom non aluminum vessel. Add sugar, vinegar, salt and ginger garlic paste to it.
In a muslin cloth, tie cinnamon sticks, cloves and whole peppers. Place the muslin bag in the blended tomato mixture and cook on medium flame. Cook till the mixture becomes thick and attains the thickness of ketchup.
Fill in the sterilized bottles. (To sterilize the bottles, place the washed and dried bottles with the lids in the oven. Set the temperature to 100 degrees and set the timer to 10 minutes. Remove the bottles and their lids from the oven.)
Refrigerate and consume early.