This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
There is a wonderful difference among the various articles called Tomato Catsup, from the rich sauce, so thick it will hardly pour, to the thin, watery stuff that would not keep but for the vinegar and salt it contains. Every family should make its own, not only as a matter of economy, but of safety. If one must buy, avoid the bright red, attractive looking compounds, as they are artificially colored. The cheap stuff sold to restaurants is made from the peelings and other refuse of the canning factories. Good catsup can only be made when the fruit is in perfection ; towards the end of the season, when the nights get cool, and growth is slow, the fruit is watery and will not yield the rich pulp of the best fruit. Select ripe tomatoes, cutting away any green portions, cut in pieces, stew until thoroughly done, and rub through a sieve fine enough to retain the seeds. Evaporate what passes the sieve to the desired thickness; for this, no rules by quantity can be given, as a bushel of some tomatoes will yield twice as much pulp as others. The evaporation should go on over a slow fire, being careful not to scorch it. When thick enough to pour from a cruet, without inconvenience, add salt and spices. Here the recipes give the greatest possible variety.
Be sure and use salt enough ; a chopped onion or clove of garlic, tied in cloth and cooked in the pulp, to give just a suspicion of the flavor, is liked by many ; allspice, black pepper, cayenne and mustard are the principal spices, and are used according to the taste of the consumers. One recipe directs for a half bushel of tomatoes; cloves, two teaspoonfuls; cinnamon, allspice and black pepper, two tablespoonfuls each ; these are not to be ground, but bruised, placed in a little bag and boiled in the pulp while it is being evaporated; when the pulp is thick enough, remove the bag and add mustard, ground, two tablespoonfuls; cayenne pepper, two teaspoonfuls; good vinegar, two quarts, and salt to the taste. Another recipe uses all ground spices, viz.: For the pulp from ½ bushel of fruit: allspice and cloves, ¾ oz. each ; mustard, 1½ oz.; black pepper, 3 oz ; mace, ½ oz.; cayenne, ¼ oz.; salt, 6 oz. or sufficient, and vinegar, 2 qts. Add the spices, boil a minute or two, cool and bottle. - Amer. Agriculturist.