Homemade Ketchup with rhubarb is a perfect sauce to celebrate spring. The rhubarb adds a unique element and tangy sweetness without overpowering the tomato flavor. Also, don’t miss the included free printable labels! If you love ketchup as much as I do (and enjoy experimenting with DIY kitchen staples), this tomato ketchup recipe is not be be missed!
When I was younger, I was one of those kids who put ketchup on everything. My ketchup obsession has slowed down over the years but I still will not accept french fries or a hamburger without it.
A girl needs to have principles. I need my french fries covered in tangy sweet tomato goodness.
For years I considered myself a fierce Heinz loyalist. One day a coworker brought Hunt’s ketchup into the office because it was on sale. I pitched a fit.
Hunt’s was not real ketchup! How was I supposed to enjoy burgers at work?!
My coworkers were so amused by my brand loyalty that they made me take a blind taste test. I didn’t hesitate in accepting the challenge because I KNEW MY HEINZ KETCHUP. The truth was that I had not tried Hunt’s since childhood.
Guess who failed the blind taste test? But it wasn’t my fault, Hunt’s had clearly put years of scientific research into copying the flavor profile from the only legitimate ketchup brand.
Fast forward 15 years, and I am no longer a Heinz loyalist. While I still love the taste, I’m not thrilled with the fact that high fructose corn syrup is one of the main ingredients. We all know that stuff isn’t good for us, and it simply doesn’t need to be in ketchup (not that granulated sugar is healthy, but still).
So these days I’ll often buy organic brands. And now, for the first time, I’ve made my own version! It doesn’t have the same intense tanginess that you get from the store bought varieties but I really like it.
Because I think this ketchup makes a cute gift, I’ve teamed up with one of my craft blogger friends, Jessica Keala, to offer DIY printable ketchup labels! She created this beautiful label design that works with Avery 22808 stickers.
These stickers are available in several colors including Kraft Brown, which is shown in these images.
You can download the ketchup sticker labels here. You can also download round and square print & cut labels (not pictured) that can be secured to the front of the jars with twine. And please go check out Jessica’s website!
How to make bbq sauce with ketchup
Ketchup is often an ingredient in tangier, tomato-based barbecue sauce recipes, since it already has vinegar, a sweet ingredient and a variety of spices. For two examples of how to use it, check out my recipes for Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce, and Chipotle Bourbon BBQ Sauce!
How long does homemade ketchup last?
Homemade ketchup has a shorter shelf life than store varieties since it doesn’t include preservatives. It can be refrigerated for up to one month, frozen for up to 6 months, or canned for several years.
Looking for more sauce recipes?
Tomato Rhubarb Ketchup is a perfect homemade sauce to celebrate the season. Rhubarb adds a tangy sweetness. Don't miss the free printable labels!
- 25 ounces rhubarb, chopped (6 cups)
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice berries
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or clarified butter)
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (2 cups)
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
In a large Dutch oven or heavy bottom saucepan set over medium heat, heat up the chopped rhubarb with 1 cup of water. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let the rhubarb cook until the water is mostly absorbed and the rhubarb is a similar to a jam consistency, 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool, transfer to a large bowl, and set aside. Wipe down the Dutch oven.
Bundle the peppercorns, mustard seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon, allspice and cloves in a piece of cheesecloth and tie with kitchen twine securely, leaving about 5 inches of extra twine on one end.
Place the Dutch oven over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the chopped onion and cook until soft, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic and cayenne and cook for an additional minute.
Transfer to a blender along with the rhubarb and tomatoes. Puree, in batches, if necessary, until smooth. Return the mixture to the pot and add the brown sugar, vinegar and salt. Submerge the the spice bag into the mixture and tie the long end of twine to the top of the pot.
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is darker, thick and reduced to about 4 cups, approximately 2 hours. If possible, use a splatter guard to help keep the liquid from bubbling out of the pot.
Remove the spice bag. Strain ketchup through a fine mesh strainer set over a large bowl, pressing on the solids. (For a smoother final product, press through a food mill). Let the ketchup cool to room temperature, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour cooled ketchup into jars and refrigerate. Ketchup can be refrigerated for up to one month.
Adapted from The America's Test Kitchen DIY Cookbook
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About the Author
Jennifer graduated from the Culinary Arts program at L’Academie de Cuisine in Maryland, and has worked professionally as a line cook, pastry chef, and cooking instructor. Her cookbook, The Gourmet Kitchen, was published in 2016 by Simon & Schuster.