Preserving Tips and Tomato Peach Ketchup Recipe


07 Oct Preserving Tips and Tomato Peach Ketchup Recipe

Tomato-Peach Ketchup Recipe - The Messy Baker

A couple of days ago, I made a variation of my serendipitous nectarine and plum chicken. This time I substituted apples and yellow tomatoes for the plums. It was just as moist and delicious as the original, and I found myself planning side dishes appropriate to its Moroccan roots. But just as visions of spiced couscous and raisin-dotted sweet potatoes danced in my head, I realized this dish takes a whopping two cups of my runny, homemade mistake of a ketchup recipe. At this pace I’ll run out of my what-will-I-do-with-it preserve long before the fall is over.

While I can make more with the peaches and tomatoes that fill my freezer, I have a dilemma. Do I make the Five-Fruit Ketchup Recipe Mary Anne Dragan intended when she wrote Well Preserved: Small Batch Preserving for the New Cook?  Of do I repeat my original mistake and rename the results?

I interviewed Dragan a while ago, and she takes a fairly laid back approach to making preserves. Sure, she’s a stickler for food safety, but as long as you sterilize and seal properly, she’s actually pretty flexible. She’s doesn’t insist on fancy equipment and even encourages adaptation. “Don’t be afraid to modify the recipe by experimenting with the fruits and vegetables. Add your own flair,” Dragan told me on the phone. “Toss in candied ginger. Don’t like ginger? Try cinnamon.”

So it’s carte blanche? Not quite. Dragan adds, “Don’t mess with the sugar or vinegar levels. They’re carefully developed to balance flavours and texture.”

While you can easily double or triple her recipes, Dragan encourages small batches for two practical reasons. “If you don’t like it [the results] it’s not a big deal.” Fair enough.

Second, preserves only keep a year or two. Although a properly sealed jar of jam is safe to eat after a couple of years on the pantry shelf, its flavour will have deteriorated. And flavour is the main reason you make your own preserves? Isn’t it?

So, embracing Dragan’s adventuresome attitude, I no longer consider my runny tomato and peach perserves a thin and anemic version of her Five-Fruit Ketchup. I’m going to claim it as my own. But I’m not calling it ketchup. And at the rate I’m going, I know it won’t last long enough to lose its zing.

So tell me, what preserve do you wish you made more of? Or perhaps you have other culinary suggestions for this sauce?


Tomato Peach Ketchup Recipe - The Messy Baker

Tomato and Peach Ketchup

Adapted from Mary Anne Dragan’s Well Preserved: Small Batch Preserving for New Cooks (Whitecap, 2009)

Makes about six to seven 8-ounce (250 mL) jars


  • two 3-inch cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns, whole
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 6 cups tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 8 cups peaches, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapenos peppers, seeded and minced
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 tsp salt


  1. Tie the cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, peppercorns and mustard in a few layer of cheesecloth.
  2. Put all ingredients into a heavy bottomed stock pot or Dutch oven.
  3. Bring the ingredients to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and simmer, for 1 hour, stirring often.
  4. Meanwhile, sterilize jars, lids and collars.
  5. Remove from heat and throw out the spice bag.
  6. Press the mixture through a sieve or food mill.
  7. Return to the pot and bring to a boil again. Turn off heat.
  8. Pour the sauce into sterilized jars, being sure to leave headspace.
  9. Wipe the rims before sealing according to manufacturer’s directions.
  10. Process sealed jars in a boiling water bath for 10 to 15 minutes.

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No Comments
  • Daniel
    Posted at 16:22h, 07 October Reply

    Charmian, I just love the fact that you had a recipe fail (your “ketchup”) that you turned into an amazing, bookmarkable recipe (your nectarine and plum chicken), and now you want to make more of your original fail! I love it! Isn’t cooking amazing? :)

    PS: I absolutely love the new look and feel here. Congrats on the new site.

    Casual Kitchen

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:09h, 09 October Reply

      You’re so right, Daniel. Cooking is amazing — sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a not-so-good way.

      And thanks also for the kind words about the site.

  • Cheryl Arkison
    Posted at 12:25h, 08 October Reply

    I made Dragan’s apple butter last weekend. Oh, why have I not done that before. I wish I had more because I could seriously eat this straight with a spoon. I would have more, but the applesauce sat in the fridge for a few days and Hubby discovered it.

    Do you ever get preserving crazy? I go on a kick and make all this stuff because I can’t resist. Then I realize that I need to eat toast two times a day every day to make it through it all in a year! But I’ve still got pear butter on the list yet… And more plain applesauce!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:14h, 09 October Reply

      Cheryl, do I ever go preserves crazy? Not before this year. I have never made apple butter before and am now dying to try it. Pear butter is lovely, too. Oh, so many ways to use the harvest and so little time!!

      Thanks for the heads up on Dragans recipe. My first thought was, “I gotta try this!” closely followed by, ” Wonder how I’ll screw it up?”

  • The Diva on a Diet
    Posted at 11:39h, 09 October Reply

    I agree with Dan, congrats on turning a seeming-fail into an outstanding ingredient, Charmian. Well done!

    Belated Happy Anniversary wishes to you and Andrew!!! Congratulations!!! You are such a wonderful couple, I hope you enjoyed the day to the fullest!

    I’ve been out of the box because my laptop died on Tuesday. Its a long story but I won’t really be back in business until 10/19. Will catch up with you then.

    Sending you both Happy Thanksgiving wishes as well!


    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 14:51h, 09 October Reply

      Oh, Diva! I’m so sorry to hear about your laptop woes. I’d die without mine!

      Can’t wait to hear the story once you’re back in action.

      And thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes!

  • Dana McCauley
    Posted at 20:39h, 09 October Reply

    This sounds like a wonderful book! Another good one you might like is Jennifer Mackenzie’s pickling book which focuses on yummy stuff like ketchup:

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:52h, 10 October Reply

      Thanks for the recommendation, Dana. I’m actually leery of pickling, but that’s another story. I’ll have to get a copy. Maybe I’ll be able to follow her recipes. :-)

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