Homemade Ketchup

Boiling away...
Boiling away…

Playhouse Disney has a new short sketch programme called Mighty Sprouts, which features three young children and their families trying to improve their environment. One of the first episodes featured them concerned because one of the dads had run out of ketchup. They were upset, because he would get in the car and go several miles just for a bottle of ketchup. Something none of us have ever done. So instead they enlisted the help of an adult to make ketchup from scratch and filled his bottle.

Emily was fascinated by the idea that ketchup was something you could actually make. Since I am trying to instil those values in her, I was game to try anything. So yesterday after we had used over-ripe bananas for bread, we gathered the softer tomatoes that were collecting at the bottom of the vegetable bin. We boiled them for about twenty minutes until they were soft. Then we blended them. Alright I admit this is a step that the Mighty Sprouts did not include; they mashed them by hand. Then we ran it through a sieve to separate out the skins and seeds. Finally we added malt vinegar, salt and sugar. We then boiled this concoction down until it was the right consistency. I am both pleased and somewhat amazed to say…we made ketchup.

This is it...all we got.
This is it…all we got.

Alright, I am a bit disappointed at the quantity we ended up with given the effort we put into our project. I also think we did not get the proportions quite right…too sweet, less sugar next time. But let’s look at how this experiment rates as on the Frugal Fam core values:

Family first…This was as I said an awesome experiment to do with small children. If you are looking for something that will teach your child that not everything comes from the store, then I highly recommend this activity.

Saving money…I have my doubts on this one. Even given that the tomatoes came from our local pound per bowl veg man, by the time you consider the amount of gas we used to do all that boiling down; this was probably more expensive than just buying it from the store. On the other hand…

Environmentally friendly…It did keep quite a few tomatoes out of the bin, since my worms don’t like anything that acidic this is especially important.

Healthier…I can see real potential for this one. Since there would be no preservatives and you control the amount of salt and sugar that goes into the mixture, I think this might be worth the effort.

As I said, if you are looking for something fun and educational to do with the children this summer, this is an excellent experiment. Now if I can just get my adorable daughter to take as much interest in the ‘Drips’ infomercial on Playhouse Disney. I get plenty of exercise running after her and turning off the taps. Why do they learn to turn them on, but never off?

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