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homemade tomato sauce (ketchup style)

Posted by helen 
homemade tomato sauce (ketchup style)
April 20, 2017 04:35AM
I made my tomato sauce today using the same recipe that I do each year.
This year the tomatoes (from same gardens that I always buy from) were so full of water that I although I cooked it for ages I couldn't seem to reduce it down as much as I wanted to. I ended up making 30 bottles instead of 24 and just hoping that it is thick enough.

The question I have though is do you think long cooking makes the sauce a deeper colour? A friend made her sauce last week and gave me a bottle of sauce. Our recipes are identical but her sauce is much redder than mine. And she buys her tomatoes from the same garden.
I am wondering if I need to cook it on a higher temperature for a shorter time, watching almost constantly to make sure it doesn't catch on the bottom, in order to get a red sauce.
Your thoughts?
Re: homemade tomato sauce (ketchup style)
April 20, 2017 04:42PM
Helen, I have an Alison Holst recipe for fresh tomato soup and her explanation about the colour may well also apply to your tomato sauce. The wet season would have made the tomatoes more watery but if your friend bought the same variety at the same time then that wouldn't be the whole answer.

Alison Holst first it will look very pale, because there are a number of tiny air bubbles in the mixture, but after boiling, the soup will darken.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/20/2017 04:46PM by Marnie.
Re: homemade tomato sauce (ketchup style)
April 20, 2017 05:31PM
I remain curious about how Wattie's tomato sauce has such a bright red colour. As you say, maybe the length of cooking time does impact on the redness.

I've made my own tomato sauce six times in a row now. Usually I make a half quantity of what used to be referred to as Connie's tomato sauce on Foodlovers: [] but with modifications. One is that I concentrate my tomatoes down a lot separately first (8kg concentrated down to 2.75kg). This tomato sauce is more brown than red.

This year I also made one quantity of what used to be referred to as Diane's tomato sauce on Foodlovers, which is the one supposed to be the most like Wattie's. It's tomatoes only - no apples, no onions. This was cooked for pretty much the same amount of time as my usual recipe, but is slightly redder than Connie's, which I put down to no apples or onions modifying the tomato content. I won't make this one again though because it doesn't have the depth of flavour that Connie's has.

Both recipes use glacial acetic acid.

The test would be to cook it as you say: at a higher temperature for a shorter time. Also, you could modify the recipe so that, as the tomatoes are reducing, you could speed it up by taking off all the "water" that initially results - this is what I do when concentrating the tomatoes down separately but I can do this because I don't have any other ingredients in the pot at that point.

When I make it next year, I'll speed all the cooking up and report back if I get a redder sauce.
Re: homemade tomato sauce (ketchup style)
April 20, 2017 05:41PM
I prefer to use brown sugar rather than white. Brown sugar makes the colour darker and my Mother used to say it makes the sauce thicker, but I'm not too sure on that one because I think it also depends on the length of time the sauce is boiled.
Re: homemade tomato sauce (ketchup style)
April 24, 2017 03:37PM
A quick test would be to take a cup of the sauce mix, put it into a separate saucepan and cook at a different heat - same mix different heat.
Re: homemade tomato sauce (ketchup style)
April 26, 2017 11:40PM
Realising my sauce tastes fabulous I am completely over worrying about colour and have decided that a deep red - brown coloured sauce shows it is homemade. smiling smiley
All my grumblings of sauce making have gone as I see the happiness created by giving people a bottle or two to take home.
Re: homemade tomato sauce (ketchup style)
May 14, 2017 08:04PM
Have a read of this article by Lynda Hallinan, she used Diane's recipe from Foodlovers but explains how to keep the sauce from going brown. Here is an excerpt from the article []

"Why this matters, I have now learned, is that when you make sauces and chutneys with vinegar, it takes hours to boil off all that extra liquid, resulting in a dark brown sauce rather than a sea of red. But if you deseed the tomatoes first (the seeds and gel-like pulp also turn brown when boiled for any length of time), and add only two small spoonfuls of acetic acid as opposed to an entire bottle of vinegar, the sauce retains all of its colour and concentrated tomato flavour."
Re: homemade tomato sauce (ketchup style)
May 14, 2017 08:12PM
That's interesting, thanks Danube. I think I'll take off even more "water" at the beginning than what I usually do, to help speed up the end result then. I do deseed, but not until the end - I don't know that I can be bothered doing it at the start, but shall consider it.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/14/2017 08:13PM by J1.
Re: homemade tomato sauce (ketchup style)
May 14, 2017 10:28PM
I don't know if you clicked the link to the article but in it the heading photo is a spoonful of Watties and a spoonful of hers with the line - can you tell which is whichsmiling smiley They do look very similar so the colour is good.
Re: homemade tomato sauce (ketchup style)
May 15, 2017 01:47AM
Yes I did and I agree, the colour is very similar. I have both Diane's tomato sauce here plus a bottle of Wattie's and the colour and flavour is similar. However, Wattie's flavour has a brightness to it which is lacking in homemade tomato sauce. But I think this could be fixed, like the colour, by reducing the cooking time as mentioned. Looks like next year I might be removing the seed and pulp prior to cooking, removing the watery stuff as much as possible at the beginning of the cooking, and then cooking as quickly as possible (ignoring recipe times), and see what I get....
Re: homemade tomato sauce (ketchup style)
June 10, 2018 03:22AM
Right, I've finally made my 2018 tomato sauce. I didn't remove the pulp and seeds (too impossible with frozen tomatoes from our garden) but took virtually all the water off that forms in the pot as you heat them up, until my 8kg of tomatoes weighed 3kg instead (this process took only a few minutes from start to finish). Then I added the rest of the ingredients (onions, apples, sugar, spices, etc) and boiled for half an hour instead of the recipe's stated 1¼ hours. The resulting tomato sauce is a good thick consistency. Good flavour. The colour is good - no brownish tones (imho).

It makes me wonder why recipes say cook for 1¼ hours, etc. Is there a good reason for cooking that long?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/10/2018 03:22AM by J1.
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